Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 23

Jonathanís third covenant with David

1 Samuel 23:18

Before Jonathan left David, he again made a covenant with David. This was the third time that Jonathan had done this (18:3; 20:16-17).

A covenant is a serious promise of friendship. Jonathan and David made their promises in front of God. In other words, they asked God to be the witness of their promises. They declared themselves to be responsible to God if they did not carry out their promises to each other.

The purpose of Jonathanís first covenant with David was to establish friendship between them. Even at their first meeting, Jonathan realised that God had chosen David to rule Israel (see 1 Samuel 18:4). As Saulís oldest son, Jonathan had the right to be Israelís next king himself. That fact could easily have made Jonathan and David into enemies, but Jonathan did not want that to happen. Jonathan served God loyally; so he wanted God to choose Israelís next king. Jonathan made that covenant to show that he would remain Davidís friend.

Jonathan made his second covenant when Saul was trying to kill David. Because of those troubles, Jonathan wanted to make their friendship stronger. So, they made their covenant not just as a personal matter between themselves, but on behalf of future members of their families.

On this third occasion, there was probably nothing more that they could promise. However, Jonathan again wanted to express his genuine love and friendship to David. David was in great danger now, but soon he would be Israelís king. So Jonathan again promised that he would always remain loyal to David. Their circumstances would change, but their friendship would always last.

Next part: The Ziphites offer to hand David over to Saul (1 Samuel 23:19-20)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.