18After this Jonathan said:
Tomorrow is the New Moon Festival, and people will wonder where you are, because your place at the table will be empty. 19By the day after tomorrow, everyone will think you've been gone a long time. Then go to the place where you hid before and stay beside Going-Away Rock. 20I'll shoot three arrows at a target off to the side of the rock, 21and send my servant to find the arrows.
You'll know if it's safe to come out by what I tell him. If it is safe, I swear by the living Lord that I'll say, “The arrows are on this side of you! Pick them up!” 22But if it isn't safe, I'll say to the boy, “The arrows are farther away!” This will mean that the Lord wants you to leave, and you must go. 23But he will always watch us to make sure that we keep the promise we made to each other.
24So David hid there in the field.
During the New Moon Festival, Saul sat down to eat 25by the wall, just as he always did. Jonathan sat across from him, and Abner sat next to him. But David's place was empty. 26Saul didn't say anything that day, because he was thinking, “Something must have happened to make David unfit to be at the Festival. Yes, something must have happened.”
27The day after the New Moon Festival, when David's place was still empty, Saul asked Jonathan, “Why hasn't that son of Jesse come to eat with us? He wasn't here yesterday, and he still isn't here today!”
28-29Jonathan answered, “The reason David hasn't come to eat with you is that he begged me to let him go to Bethlehem. He said, ‘Please let me go. My family is offering a sacrifice, and my brother told me I have to be there. Do me this favor and let me slip away to see my brothers.’ ”
30Saul was furious with Jonathan and yelled, “You're no son of mine, you traitor! I know you've chosen to be loyal to that son of Jesse. You should be ashamed of yourself! And your own mother should be ashamed that you were ever born. 31You'll never be safe, and your kingdom will be in danger as long as that son of Jesse is alive. Turn him over to me now! He deserves to die!”
32“Why do you want to kill David?” Jonathan asked. “What has he done?”
33Saul threw his spear at Jonathan and tried to kill him. Then Jonathan was sure that his father really did want to kill David. 34Jonathan was angry and hurt that his father had insulted David so terribly. He got up, left the table, and didn't eat anything all that day.
35In the morning, Jonathan went out to the field to meet David. He took a servant boy along 36and told him, “When I shoot the arrows, you run and find them for me.”
The boy started running, and Jonathan shot an arrow so that it would go beyond him. 37When the boy got near the place where the arrow had landed, Jonathan shouted, “Isn't the arrow on past you?” 38Jonathan shouted to him again, “Hurry up! Don't stop!”
The boy picked up the arrows and brought them back to Jonathan, 39but he had no idea about what was going on. Only Jonathan and David knew. 40Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and told him, “Take these back into town.”
41After the boy had gone, David got up from beside the mound and bowed very low three times. Then he and Jonathan kissed each other and cried, but David cried louder. 42Jonathan said, “Take care of yourself. And remember, we each have asked the Lord to watch and make sure that we and our descendants keep our promise forever.”
David left and Jonathan went back to town.
As we’ve read in this story, jealousy and anger can drive us to the point of murder. Imagine King Saul hurling a spear towards his own son in boiled rage to kill him. All because of his intense jealousy towards David. God’s hand and favour were now on David, and Saul became enraged because he no longer received the attention or glory for leading God’s people. If Saul wondered whether the humiliating words he said in anger to Jonathan were enough to push his son away – well guess what – the spear flung to kill him pushed that relationship over the edge.
Looking back over your life, has there ever been a time you possessed jealousy? Think about that for a moment. Did you silently or outwardly speak words against another person in envy? Were your actions motivated by the anger and jealousy you had for another person?
King Saul’s jealousy mixed with anger clouded his judgment. Everyone around him knew of his sin, even his son who was closest to him, but all were too afraid to be honest with him for fear of retaliation.
Jealousy can consume us. It can distract us from what God wants for our lives. Our focus shifts from serving God to tearing down others and trying to steal what they possess. It’s a futile attempt to gain advantage or control of a person or situation. Eventually we end up alone and broken.
How do we get ourselves out of these messes? Or how do we help people we know who are caught up in jealous behavior? Start with being honest. It’s a healthy practice to come before the Lord and ask him to search our hearts for sin, unforgiveness and anger.
Are you yourself suffering from this or do you know someone who is? Scripture asks us to forgive anyone we’re holding a grudge against (Matthew 18:21-22). Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry (Ephesians 4:26). Start fresh today. No matter how far or deep a mess you’ve gotten yourself into, Christ can rescue you.
Please search my heart today so I can be honest about my motives towards others. Keep me from jealousy and help me to honor those in a more favorable position. Forgive me for my anger, seeds of jealousy and any unforgiveness that I’ve been harboring. I desire a fresh start in my relationship with you and with others. In Christ’s name, Amen.