Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 20

Jonathan explains his covenant with David

1 Samuel 20:12-13

In 1 Samuel 18:3, Jonathan made a covenant with David. That covenant was a serious promise in front of God that they would always be friends.

When Jonathan made that promise, his father King Saul was pleased with David. However since then, the situation had changed completely. Now Saul was trying to kill David.

David knew that Jonathan was still his friend. However, it seems that David did not really understand the nature of the covenant between them. David was still asking Jonathan questions to test whether Jonathan would help him in this situation (20:8-10).

So in 1 Samuel 20:12-15, Jonathan carefully explained to David what their covenant meant.

Jonathan repeated the sacred name of God, which appears as ĎLORDí in English translations, 5 times in these verses. He wanted to emphasise that he had made these covenant promises with God, and not merely with David. Therefore, Jonathanís covenant with David was now part of Jonathanís relationship with God. In these matters, Jonathan considered himself responsible to God.

As Jonathan carried out his promise to God, so David would have to trust God. Their friendship was not just something that they had chosen to do. God himself had made them friends, so that David could become Israelís king.

That was why Jonathan blessed David with the prayer at the end of 1 Samuel 20:13. He asked God to be with David as he (God) had been with Saul. God had supported Saulís rule over Israel while Saul remained loyal to him. Now Jonathan was asking God to support David so that David could rule well as king.

Next part: Jonathan taught David how to rule as king (1 Samuel 20:14-17)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.