Bible Study Notes (11-16-08)




“A man of many companions may come to ruin,

but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24



Now we come to a lesson on the closeness of true friendship, with this we look at the bond between David and Jonathan. How many of us have a friend so close it is a bond almost like family, perhaps even stronger in some ways. First off, Jonathan loves God. His father, King Saul, well…. Read 1 Samuel. David is called by God to be king after Saul fails. Saul isn’t dead, yet. Just twisted. David and Jonathan’s friendship begins right after he kills Goliath. Just before Saul starts getting jealous. 1 Samuel 18:1-3 gives us this story,  “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.” Wow. That’s some strong language! “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.”  … “loved him as his own soul” used TWICE! Then, the plot thickens as it so often does in David’s life. Saul snaps! He wants to kill David! So he talks it over with who? JONATHAN! He wants him in on it! David gone, any threat to Jonathan inheriting the throne is gone. Saul dies, Jonathan is king. But Jonathan loves David more than some silly kingship. He tries to talk dad out of it by talking up David. Dad listens… not. Jonathan knows it, tells David and they work out a little series of signs for Jonathan to leak to David any plans. Plans form, warning is given. David goes into hiding. Saul notices someone missing from the dinner table for two days. He asks, “What happened to David?” (Remember before? 1 Samuel 18:2, “Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.”) Jonathan says, “He asked me if he could go back home for a sacrifice with all his family I said yes.” Ever see someone flip? Saul flips. Scripture records it in 1 Samuel 20:30-34, “Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, ‘You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.’ Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, ‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.” Wow… the next chapters tell of David fleeing from Saul, gathering more friends (none of the caliber of Jonathan), fighting battles with them, and TWICE having the chance to kill Saul but withholding, and David picks up another wife. Things keep snowballing until a battle with the Philistines starts. In the battle both Saul and Jonathan are killed. 2 Samuel 1:2-5 tells us, “And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. David said to him, ‘Where do you come from?’ And he said to him, ‘I have escaped from the camp of Israel.’ And David said to him, ‘How did it go? Tell me.’ And he answered, ‘The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.’ Then David said to the young man who told him, ‘How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”’ So the man tells the story. … Ever find out someone you love has died? … “Then [verse 11] David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him.” Basically David did to his clothing what happened to his very soul. In his grief and anguish David did what comforted him. He wrote music. He wrote a song of lament for Saul and Jonathan. Verses 25-26, still in chapter 1. “How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan lies slain on your high places. I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.” My friends, don’t you dare get this twisted. I’ll say it bluntly before you even try. It is the lesson of this section. True friendship is deep abiding love. It is a love that will protect from harm as we saw in Jonathan protecting David from his murderous father. It is a love that seeks the betterment of the other even at the cost of self, as we also saw. It is the kind of love written about in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 that is patient, kind; does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. True friendship, the kind the Bible describes is a relationship that is surpassed only by marriage.

LESSON: True friendship is love uniting two into one.



·         Take a moment to consider those you deem your close friends, bosom buddies, amigos, comrades, homies… have you treated them as the Bible prescribes?


·         Family seems to take a back seat to friendship. Is that ever appropriate? Why or why not?


·         Considering what we discussed two weeks ago, what’s the main difference between Jonathan’s relationship with David and with Saul?


This bit of ground we have covered is a bit of foreshadowing to the redemptive work of Christ. Explain how.




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