Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 31

The death of Jonathan

1 Samuel 31:2

As the battle against Philistiaís army continued, the situation for Israelís men rapidly became worse.

Very many men died, and they included three of Saulís sons: Jonathan, Abinadab and Malki-Shua.

This first mention of Jonathanís death seems very brief. The author merely mentions his name, like the names of his less important brothers who died with him. Jonathanís body lay on the earth next to the bodies of men that nobody ever considered to be great men.

Yet, this was Jonathan, the kingís oldest son, Davidís closest friend, a great hero and a man of God. If Jonathan had lived, he had the right to become Israelís king after Saulís death. Since the beginning of Saulís rule, Jonathan had led a third part of Israelís army. Jonathan became Saulís constant adviser (20:2).

Jonathan did not allow his relationship with Saul to prevent his close friendship with David. Jonathan always encouraged and supported David. From Jonathan, David learnt many lessons about how to rule Israel. Jonathanís hope was that, in the future, David would become Israelís king (23:17).

Jonathan had a strong relationship with God. We can see how completely he trusted God from his actions in 1 Samuel 14:1-14. With only one young man to support him, Jonathan attacked a vast army. In that battle, God gave success to Jonathan.

However, in Jonathanís last battle, there was no success for Israel. Israelís men died together, whether they were good men or evil men. At the place of his death, nobody remembered Jonathanís former greatness. Even Philistiaís soldiers did not realise that they had killed Jonathan until the next day (31:8).

Next part: Philistiaís soldiers attack Saul (1 Samuel 31:3)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.