From Lynda Lindsey
While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life. And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh. I Samuel 23:15-18
Friendship includes love, trust, understanding. Support. Respect. Mutual interests. Shared goals. Joined alliances. Loyalty. Each friend is quick to aid and defend the other, leaving no room for jealousy. That describes the relationship between David and Jonathan: life-long friends.
Jonathan, King Saul’s son, and next in line for the throne, demonstrates amazing humility, grace and strength of character. Were Jonathan to betray his friend David to King Saul, Jonathan’s own place on the throne would be assured. But Jonathan, unlike his father Saul, exhibits integrity and uprightness. Jonathan not only proclaims his friend David as Israel’s next king; Jonathan confirms his own place as of secondary importance. Like John the Baptist speaking of Jesus, Jonathan could say, speaking of David, “He must become greater, I must become less.” Herein is true love, not to seek higher honor and status but to be content with less.
David also demonstrates humility, grace and strength of character. As Israel’s next king, David could have abandoned his friendship with Jonathan. He could have tossed their friendship and relationship aside. David could have assumed superiority over Jonathan, treating his friend as inferior. But David understood Jonathan’s loyalty. David also was loyal. David knew Jonathan was appalled over David’s mistreatment.
Authentic friendship is a verb. Jonathan went to David. Jonathan showed up, his presence a reminder that David wasn’t alone in the severe trial. Jonathan helped David find strength in God. Genuine strength comes from God. To God is the battle; and to God is the victory. David, a warrior, had physical strength; Jonathan focused David’s eyes on spiritual strength, without which there isn’t lasting victory. Jonathan reaffirmed David’s call and adjured his friend to not be afraid. Take courage, for what God has ordained, He will bring about. Both friends covenanted before the Lord. And then Jonathan went home. After seeking the Lord God together they parted. What makes this moment particularly poignant? Possibly David and Jonathan never saw each other again. Yet Jonathan had done all he could for his friend David. And it was enough.