Jonathan probably did not know that Samuel had appointed David to be Israelís king (16:1-13). Jonathan was the son of King Saul; everyone expected that Jonathan would become Israelís next king. That would be a good reason why David and Jonathan might become enemies. However, they were not enemies, they were close friends.
Jonathan made a covenant with David, that is, a serious promise of friendship. Usually, enemies did that when they made peace after a war against each other. Jonathan and David had never been enemies; they made their covenant so that they would always be friends.
Jonathan made an extraordinary gift to David as proof of their covenant. As the kingís oldest son, Jonathan wore clothes that were beautiful and precious (compare Genesis 37:3 and 2 Samuel 13:18). Because of those clothes, people would immediately recognise Jonathanís importance.
Jonathan wanted to give David the honour that he himself had. Jonathan took off those royal clothes and he gave them to David.
Jonathan also gave David his bow and his sword. As Jonathan had fought bravely for Israel in the past, so David would do that in the future. Jonathan was an expert in the use of the bow and arrows (2 Samuel 1:22). Jonathan wanted David to have the same rank in the army as Jonathan himself had.
Therefore, David would receive the same importance, honour and rank that Jonathan had. That means that David, and not Jonathan, would be the next king. God was showing this to Jonathan and, as a holy man, Jonathan approved. Possibly he did not yet know the meaning of his actions (compare John 12:16). However, later Jonathan did know clearly, and he was pleased (23:17). Jonathan wanted Israel to have a good king who really served God.
Next part: Davidís wisdom (1 Samuel 18:5)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.