1David escaped from Prophets Village. Then he ran to see Jonathan and asked, “Why does your father Saul want to kill me? What have I done wrong?”
2“My father can't be trying to kill you! He never does anything without telling me about it. Why would he hide this from me? It can't be true!”
3“Jonathan, I swear it's true! But your father knows how much you like me, and he didn't want to break your heart. That's why he didn't tell you. I swear by the living Lord and by your own life that I'm only one step ahead of death.”
4Then Jonathan said, “Tell me what to do, and I'll do it.”
5 David answered:
Tomorrow is the New Moon Festival, and I'm supposed to eat dinner with your father. But instead, I'll hide in a field until the evening of the next day. 6If Saul wonders where I am, tell him, “David asked me to let him go to his hometown of Bethlehem, so he could take part in a sacrifice his family makes there every year.”
7If your father says it's all right, then I'm safe. But if he gets angry, you'll know he wants to harm me. 8Be kind to me. After all, it was your idea to promise the Lord that we would always be loyal friends. If I've done anything wrong, kill me yourself, but don't hand me over to your father.
9“Don't worry,” Jonathan said. “If I find out that my father wants to kill you, I'll certainly let you know.”
10“How will you do that?” David asked.
11“Let's go out to this field, and I'll tell you,” Jonathan answered.
When they got there, 12Jonathan said:
I swear by the Lord God of Israel, that two days from now I'll know what my father is planning. Of course I'll let you know if he's friendly toward you. 13But if he wants to harm you, I promise to tell you and help you escape. And I ask the Lord to punish me severely if I don't keep my promise.
I pray that the Lord will bless you, just as he used to bless my father. 14-15 Someday the Lord will wipe out all of your enemies. Then if I'm still alive, please be as kind to me as the Lord has been. But if I'm dead, be kind to my family.
16Jonathan and David made an agreement that even David's descendants would have to keep. Then Jonathan said, “I pray that the Lord will take revenge on your descendants if they break our promise.”
17Jonathan thought as much of David as he did of himself, so he asked David to promise once more that he would be a loyal friend.
Even though David and Jonathan had remarkable chemistry together, their friendship was severely tested by their mutual relationship with Jonathan’s father, King Saul.
Good friends don’t hide their differences and struggles from each other. David and Jonathan put their differing perspectives “on the table”. For David, it was a matter of life and death. They did not argue or debate unnecessarily; instead they decided to invite God to show them the path they should take. Together they established an understanding of how they would know if Saul really was intent on killing David or not and how they would communicate the news to each other.
Too often friends and colleagues fail to do what these two men did. We get into debates and arguments that ruin our friendships. As a result our relationships are shallow, transient, conditional and even disposable.
David and Jonathan believed their relationship was of such importance that together they trusted God for the solution to their mutual challenge.
Although I have had many positive and healthy relationships throughout my lifetime, I have never made a covenant like the one described in this passage with anyone except my wife. Why not? First, it’s emotionally unfamiliar and scary. Secondly, in my transient, constantly moving world it feels like this would be making a commitment I might not be able to keep. I think I have missed out on something very good by avoiding deep covenantal commitments of this kind.
Am I open to a friendship like this? Am I open to trusting another person and together trusting God with a big scary decision like this?