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A key part of David’s story is his friendship with King Saul’s son Jonathan. Anne Le Tissier explores what we can learn from their relationship


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fter David killed Goliath and spoke with Saul, it seems Jonathan recognised a kindred spirit in the man exuding faith and courage, infused with


modesty. The Bible tells us: “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1). Whether Jonathan heard David speak


both before and after the battle, we cannot be sure, but most likely a lot more was said than the words we read in Scripture (1 Samuel 17:34–37, 57–18:1). And having watched David put his proclaimed faith into action, his immediate response was to pledge David his loyalty and support. Commentators still debate whether


18 October 2015 womanalive


good friend? A


Jonathan recognised his father’s


successor in the young man who had just killed Goliath, but he certainly perceived and submitted to the grace of God at work in him. Stripping off the robes and weaponry that marked him out as Saul’s son, Jonathan both equipped David for army life, and publicly acclaimed his support to David’s character and faith (18:3–4). The covenant was made in a moment, but their friendship endured, despite many potential obstacles. We have spent this year reflecting on


David’s strengths and successes, not least his passionate devotion to God. But that didn’t make him immune to difficulty and the wearying, draining effect that rejection, isolation, and hardship have on


the heart, mind and soul. Skimming ahead through the story,


we see that Saul became increasingly consumed with embittered violent jealousy towards his successful commander, and in time, David had to flee for his life. In the deprivation of exile, he was then betrayed by a town he had helped defend against raiding Philistines (1 Samuel 23:1–12). Saul came after David to kill him, and by this time, David was struggling with despondency and despair. But “Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him to find his strength in God” (23:16). Jonathan didn’t want to be David’s friend because he was skilled, successful, and popular with the army. He devoted


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