There are a variety of friends out there. There are friends we know at work, there are friends that we went to school with, there are friends that we see in our daily routine such as the person who works behind the counter at the gas station, there are friends that we give the title “best” to, there are friends who take away our need for an enemy, and there are friends who are closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). The young man David had such a friend in the person of Jonathan:
“Now when 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. Saul took him that day, and would not let him go home to his father’s house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
If David ever needed a friend, a true friend, it was at this point in his life. He was young. He was removed from his home. He was about to become a man of war. He was about to become the talk of all the singing ladies of Israel. He was about to become an enemy of Saul, the king of Israel, the father of Jonathan. He was about to lose “everything” in Israel, save the loyalty of a few hundred souls, Jonathan being chief among them.
There were no doubt many times over in David’s life that go beyond what we read when the counsel of Jonathan was vital in God’s plan for David. Encouragement, warnings, trust, love – these formed the essence of the bond between David and Jonathan, and their friendship still stands strong as an example of what it means to be a friend today. When times were good and joyful, David and Jonathan were there for each other. When times were bad and painful, David and Jonathan were there for each other. A friend in need is a friend in deed, and in deed Jonathan was to David what we should be to others. This is why 1 Samuel 18:1-4 is a wonderful passage about friendship!