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Brotherly Love

ďA man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.Ē1

The dictionary defines a friend as: a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection...

When you consider your friends, you probably think of the ones youíve known the longest or those that have made the biggest impact on your life. Many of us are blessed to still have a relationship with our friend(s) from our childhood. I have heard people say that they have too many friends to count; others say they can count their friends on one hand. Yet, there are those who can count on one really good friend; a friend who is closer than family, that is there for you without question, in any situation.

The latter is the type of friendship shared by David and Jonathan in the Old Testament. They met while Jonathanís Father, Saul, was the King of Israel. David would go to the palace to play music for the king to soothe his troubled soul. (1 Sam. 16:14-22) The king loved David, and so, Jonathan had probably seen him around from time to time, but it wasnít until David went up against the giant, Goliath (1 Sam. 17), that Jonathan noticed this young man as a potential friend. Their story begins in 1 Samuel 18 where we see that Jonathan has an instant admiration for David, the conqueror of giants. His admiration grew to love for his new friend, and the Bible says that ďJonathan was bound to David in close friendship and loved him as much as he loved himself.Ē (vs. 1) In verse 3, we see them make a promise, or pact, of friendship. Pacts were not easily broken in those days; they were made for life.

Davidís success as a soldier caused the king to become jealous of David, and ultimately hate him, putting Jonathan in an awkward position. When the king ordered his son, Jonathan, to kill David, Jonathan alerted David to the devious plots against his life and David was able to hide and escape many times over thanks to the devotion of his loyal friend. Because of their bond of friendship, Jonathan would speak well of David to his father to try to dissuade him, but to no avail. David spent his youth hiding and running, all the while being alerted by Jonathan, whom at this point had to choose between his father and his friend. Their friendship only grew stronger over the years, and they even renewed their pact of friendship (1 Sam. 23:15-18). When Jonathan was killed alongside his father (1 Sam 31), David sang a song of lament in his honor (2 Sam. 1:19Ė27). Once he was made king, David sought out Jonathanís son to show him the kindness that Jonathan had once shown him; David loved Jonathanís son as his own. (2 Sam. 9) The friendship that these two young men shared went against all odds. But the Lord blessed the pact they had made to one another. Their loyalty to each other is a beautiful example of a friendship worth modeling.

Suggested Prayer:

Dear Lord, my friendships can sometimes be superficial and lack the bond that David and Jonathan shared. Help me to understand that friendships are a gift from you to be cultivated and nurtured. Your desire is for us to love one another as you have loved us, sacrificially and unconditionally. Help me be a good and loyal friend to those I call friend. In Jesusí name, Amen.

  1. Proverbs 18:24.


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.