Jonathan and the kingdom

David and Jonathan's relationship was birthed out of wars between the Philistines and Israel. After David killed Goliath, the bible said that 'the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.' - 1 Samuel 18:1.

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Scripture: 1 Samuel 18:1, 2 Samuel 1:17-27, Matthew 4:19, Luke 9:56–62

“How the mighty have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.
“How the mighty have fallen!
The weapons of war have perished!”

This lamentation of David came from a sorrowful heart of a man who had lost his friend, mentor and comrade in Jonathan. Before he became king of Israel, David shared a remarkable relationship with Jonathan which eclipses many of our current day relationships. Their relationship was based not just on mutual respect or common goals but upon seeing the kingdom advance.

It was based around something called koinonia which means communion or joint participation. David and Jonathan's relationship was birthed out of wars between the Philistines and Israel. After David killed Goliath, the bible said that 'the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.' - 1 Samuel 18:1.

This is where their relationship started from because they saw in each other qualities and willingness to advance the kingdom by establishing governance throughout Canaan. We see their relationship matured to the point where it was unveiled to Jonathan that David was anointed to be the next King of Israel. Jonathan’s loyalty was to the house of Saul but he was still committed to the course of advancing the kingdom of Israel, demonstrating it by standing shoulder to shoulder with David in many battles.

The camaraderie between the two is unveiled to us in David’s lamentation when he called Jonathan his “brother”. For David, this was important because he was away from his biological brothers while he was in Saul’s service. In Jonathan, I’m sure he found an older brother, who treated him as someone with the potential to govern Israel. Jonathan who was aware of the anointing on David’s life walked with him in comradeship so that he could fulfil his calling to be the king of Israel.

David experienced the love of many women in his life including the love of Saul’s daughter Michal, who was given to him in marriage to be a snare. But Michal loved him even to the point of disobeying her father when Saul wanted to kill him. David said that the love he experienced from Jonathan was “more wonderful than that of women”. Jonathan demonstrates a kind of love that many of us in his position simply wouldn’t express. For example, Jonathan knew that David was going to be the successor to the throne of Israel because of God’s rejection of Saul. Jonathan didn’t think twice in helping David on many occasion by telling him Saul’s plans when he was privy to it; in so doing he saved David’s life. The death of Jonathan is a tragic one but when we look at it in detail we see that he died by his father’s side, but he was fighting to protect the kingdom of Israel which he knew ultimately will be governed by David.

The New Testament paints a similar picture of comradeship between Christ and his disciples. When Jesus called his disciples, he called them into a life of communion with the Father and a life of comradeship with Himself. He called them out of their families, communities and nation; unto himself to participate in the advancement of His kingdom.

The kingdom of God has many patriots like Jonathan who laid down their lives to protect or advance the Kingdom. Our understanding of God’s kingship, laws, government, citizenship and culture will ultimately feed and create in us a greater awareness of the need for comradeship. We must realise that we cannot govern effectively without other citizens nurturing and protecting us like Jonathan did with David.

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