Jonathanís last words to David on this occasion were to remind him about their covenant. They first made that covenant in 1 Samuel 18:3; they made it stronger in 1 Samuel 20:14-17.
A covenant was a serious promise of friendship. Usually, people made a covenant if their families (or, their nations) had been enemies. They wanted to establish friendly relations with each other. So, they promised, on behalf of themselves and their families, that they would always be friends. By this means, covenants ended wars and made bitter enemies into close friends.
Jonathan and David were never enemies. From the moment when they first met, they wanted to be friends. In this matter, Jonathan was completely unselfish. As King Saulís son he had the right to become Israelís next king. However, Jonathan could see Davidís qualities: his sincere attitudes, and his trust in God. That meeting changed Jonathanís life. He did not still want to be king; instead, he wanted to support David so that David could become king. At once, Jonathan had realised that David would be a truly great king.
There were many evil people in Saulís family and in his government. Saul himself had decided that he would not be loyal to God (15:23); he was doing many wicked things. It seemed clear that such men would not allow David to become king peacefully.
That was why Jonathan considered it so important for him and his family to make a covenant with David. After Jonathanís death, his family would consider it their duty to obey Jonathanís promise. The family of Saul would fight against David (2 Samuel 3:1), but the family of Jonathan would never do that (2 Samuel 19:24-30).
Next part: Ahimelech, the chief priest (1 Samuel 21:1)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.