Morning Light – May 22nd, 2015Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Twenty]: The Unguarded Love of Jonathan and David. In this chapter Saul continues his attempts to assassinate David. Jonathan intercedes with his father to no avail and warns David to flee in one final meeting between the two friends. In Jonathan and David we see the unreserved love of two brothers in the Lord. David covenants with Jonathan to show kindness to him even after Jonathan’s death. The kindness of David toward Jonathan is where the term “the sure mercies of David” comes from. David is a type of Christ. Jonathan’s father is David’s sworn enemy. Yet Jonathan and David have covenant of friendship that reflects our own covenant with Jesus even though we were born into a state of enmity with God in our unregenerate state.
[1Sa 20:1-42 KJV] 1 And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what [is] mine iniquity? and what [is] my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life? 2 And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it [is] not [so]. 3 And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly [as] the LORD liveth, and [as] thy soul liveth, [there is] but a step between me and death. 4 Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do [it] for thee. 5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow [is] the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third [day] at even. 6 If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked [leave] of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for [there is] a yearly sacrifice there for all the family. 7 If he say thus, [It is] well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, [then] be sure that evil is determined by him. 8 Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the LORD with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father? 9 And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee? 10 Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what [if] thy father answer thee roughly? 11 And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field. 12 And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, [or] the third [day], and, behold, [if there be] good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee; 13 The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father [to do] thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father. 14 And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not: 15 But [also] thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
In the previous chapter Saul attempts to assassinate David and David flees to Ramah to seek protection from the Prophet Samuel. Saul sends three assassination teams to kill David and when they come into Samuel’s presence they are overwhelmed by the spirit of God and begin to prophesy. Finally Saul himself comes to kill David and falls at Samuel’s feet overcome by a spirit of prophecy. He lies naked before Samuel and David for a day and a night. Before he can recover himself David flees to Saul’s oldest son Jonathan. Jonathan cannot believe that his father would break his oath not to kill David but David assures him that “there is one step” between him and death. Jonathan promises to intercede for David but if unsuccessful will signal David in a clandestine way during a mock session of target practice in a nearby field where David hides for three days. The only thing that Jonathan asks is that David would show kindness to him even after his death. In saying this Jonathan reveals that he already knows by the spirit of God that he and his father’s house will be destroyed. David agrees to Jonathan’s request and many years later makes good on his promise by bringing Jonathan’s crippled son to his table to care for him and preserve his life.
In verse 15 Jonathan prophesies by inference to David that all of his enemies will be cut off from the earth – obviously implying the death of Saul himself. In this David is a type of Christ. When Jesus read these passages he would understand that they applied to Himself. 1 Cor. 15:26 tells us that “the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Death itself is an enemy of God and will be put under the feet of Christ. When Jesus came out of the grave why didn’t He vanquish death for all humanity at that time? The answer is found in the necessity of free will. Man must be able to choose whether or not to serve God and those choices must have consequences. God did not create death. Death exists as a result of the absence of life. One day death will be swallowed up in the victory of Christ on the cross. Jonathan’s prophecy over David speaks to us of the son of David as well to whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
16 So Jonathan made [a covenant] with the house of David, [saying], Let the LORD even require [it] at the hand of David’s enemies. 17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 18 Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow [is] the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty. 19 And [when] thou hast stayed three days, [then] thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was [in hand], and shalt remain by the stone Ezel. 20 And I will shoot three arrows on the side [thereof], as though I shot at a mark. 21 And, behold, I will send a lad, [saying], Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows [are] on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for [there is] peace to thee, and no hurt; [as] the LORD liveth. 22 But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows [are] beyond thee; go thy way: for the LORD hath sent thee away. 23 And [as touching] the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the LORD [be] between thee and me for ever. 24 So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat. 25 And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, [even] upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty. 26 Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he [is] not clean; surely he [is] not clean. 27 And it came to pass on the morrow, [which was] the second [day] of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day? 28 And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked [leave] of me [to go] to Bethlehem: 29 And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me [to be there]: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king’s table. 30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious [woman], do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die. 32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done? 33 And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David. 34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.
Finally Saul’s madness has now progressed that he cannot tell the difference between his enemies and his own son. The turn of phrase by while he ridicules Jonathan regarding his mother’s nakedness is an oblique sexual reference by which he implies there is something illicit in Jonathan’s love for David. Those that are jaded whose consciences are defiled will always find something salacious in the fidelities of the godly. We are reminded of another John in the New Testament whose custom was to lay his head on Jesus shoulder at the table. We can imagine the other apostles and Peter with his rough hewn personality looking on at the open simplicity and childlikeness of John and be tempted to criticize. Yet Jonathan’s love secured the survival of his bloodline through the mercies of David. The very term “the sure mercies of David” arises from this covenant that David makes with Jonathan and ultimately spares Jonathan’s only son Mephibosheth. Interesting enough regarding Jesus that all of the apostles were martyred but John. John went on to live to old age and die a natural death. Perhaps there is a connection between his open and unguarded affection for Jesus and his own longevity.
35 And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. 36 And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. [And] as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, [Is] not the arrow beyond thee? 38 And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. 39 But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry [them] to the city. 41 [And] as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of [a place] toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. 42 And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.
David and Jonathan try to maintain the subterfuge of their communication but fail. Their love for one another and the prospect of never seeing each other again proved too great and they come out of hiding and embrace openly. We can only look upon this scene and feel that we are intruding upon holy ground. The relationship of David and Jonathan is almost without precedent in the sacred narratives. David’s life and his person is caught up in something that he cannot possibly measure at this point in time. He is a type of Jesus Himself. The Messiah – the Savior of the world will come forth from his bloodline. What their minds cannot comprehend their hearts respond to and finds expression in this inexpressible love they have one for another. Many times we experience things in God that we cannot process with our minds. It isn’t always important that we mentally comprehend the transaction of heaven in our lives. In our emotional make up we come much closer to God than we ever will with our minds no matter how disciplined we are. When you are blessed to be able to respond to God in your emotions – these are the experiences that change you and become engraved in your memory for all time. We cannot worry about what people think. We must be as David and Jonathan – willing to face the scorn of those who are unwilling to set aside their pride and pretense to enter into the moment and experience the unconditional love that heaven affords us as God’s children.
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