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David and Jonathan

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Marvel (4-5)Year 2Unit 1 (Marvel at God’s Faithfulness)Session 2

David and Jonathan

Through Jonathan's friendship, God blessed David, the chosen king.
Faith Nurture Goals
  • Tell how David and Jonathan showed their friendship to each other.
  • Talk about the qualities and characteristics of good friends.
  • Express gratitude to God for our friends and for his friendship with us.
  • Want to be good friends to others.
Memory Challenge

Leader Reflection

Preparing to Tell God's Story

The friendship between David and Jonathan is one of the most poignant stories in the Bible. On one level it's preposterous. Jonathan is the son and heir of Saul, the anointed but now rejected king of Israel. David is Saul's rival, or at least that's the way Saul sees it. In fact, one of the striking things about David is that he does nothing to harm his enemy, and certainly does nothing to supplant him on the throne. Perhaps his deep loyalty is one of the things that attracts Jonathan to David.

As the story unfolds, it's clear that Jonathan is in a very delicate position. As the king's son, he certainly must uphold the king's welfare and protect the throne. The only way he can do that and remain a friend of David is by completely trusting David's commitments and motivations. He knows David's heart.

On numerous occasions, Jonathan tries to persuade his father of David's loyalty, but Saul seems always to fall back into a jealous rage. He seems to know, deep down, that David is the better man, and that God's hand is on him.

Jonathan not only tries to persuade his father of David's loyalty but also places himself in danger by protecting David and acting against his father's orders. In the final climactic scene in chapter 20, Jonathan tries once more to defend David. Saul is so filled with rage that he denounces his own son and even throws a spear at him.

This leads to the final parting between these two friends. As previously arranged, Jonathan warns David off by shooting an arrow. When at last they do meet behind a rock, there is a tearful parting. The passage tells us that they both wept, but David wept the most, and they swore a covenant oath of love and loyalty to each other till death.

This was the last time the two men saw each other before Jonathan died on the field of battle with his father.

Why spend time on this friendship, which seems, at best, an interesting sidelight in the whole story of David? For one thing, it illustrates one of the best qualities of human life. Few things are as beautiful as a loyal and loving friendship. Also, it is important to see how God providentially used this friendship between Jonathan and David to save David's life. Through this friendship God works to bring about the reign of King David, and eventually David's greater Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself talks of his friendship with us. Echoing Jonathan and David's oath of friendship (1 Sam. 20:17), Jesus says, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command" (John 15:13-14). Jesus is the "friend of sinners" (Matt. 11:19), and we are called to be his loyal friends forever.

  • What do David and Jonathan find attractive in each other?

  • What makes Saul so insanely jealous?

  • What’s the deepest friendship you have ever experienced?

  • Kids this age experience and understand friendship. It’s one of the most important things in their lives. It’s also an aspect of their lives over which they may agonize deeply, especially the girls. It’s important to see that true friendship is a gift from God, and that Jesus calls us his friends.


Step 1 Gathering for God's Story

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