So much is said of David, his victories and his failures that I think we sometimes overlook Jonathan. We know that Jonathan and David had a deep love for each other. And Jonathan made a covenant with David.
1 Samuel 18:3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.
I think this is interesting from a covenant point of view as we understand the oneness of marriage. We may want to understand what it means to become one. As you can see in 1 Samuel 18:4. Jonathan gave David his armor, sword, bow and belt. So that anyone seeing David would see Jonathan. They became one in the same.
This covenant agreement even surpassed the binding of family. Jonathan had proven that his love for David, provided David with protection from Jonathan’s father Saul. You can see in 1 Samuel 20:3 that that fact didn’t get past Saul. He understood where he stood in relation with David. I can only imagine that it really enraged him to know that not only was David getting more credit in his victories against their enemies but he had won over the Kings son as well.
1 Samuel 20:3 But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.” 4 Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”
I have also heard it said that they became one in spirit. Which wasn’t a big leap for them. If you compare 1 Samuel 14:6 and 17:26, you’ll find that these two men had very similar faith in God and similar disdain for the Philistines. I love the little jab at the Philistines “of these uncircumcised”. Like wise with David, “Who is this uncircumcised”. They both were declaring that these people were not God’s people. They did not have the sign of the covenant.
1 Samuel 14:6 Jonathan said to the young man who carried his armor, “Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised. It may be that the LORD will work for us, for nothing can hinder the LORD from saving by many or by few.”
1 Samuel 17:26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
Jonathan could have been God’s chosen. But he wasn’t. He was the likely successor to the King because he was the son of the King. He also was a faithful follower of God. Much like David, he loved God and hated God’s enemies. But David was the chosen one and Jonathan died with his father.
I often wonder what it would be like to have a covenant relationship like David and Jonathan. Covenant isn’t something that we are very familiar with today. There are some fraternal orders that practice similar parts of covenant and associations like firemen who have a deep sense of support and camaraderie for each other. But to truly have a covenant relationship with someone is something that I just don’t think we comprehend in today’s world.