This was a HC teaching from Chris. Feedback for next time:

  • The question about family and the chart at the end were both really effective
    • I dropped the ‘too positive’ question and had to rephrase the family question to get people to talk about family patterns that could affect friendships
  • People really, really liked the friendship theme in this passage

 18 After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David. From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home. And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.

Whatever Saul asked David to do, David did it successfully. So Saul made him a commander over the men of war, an appointment that was welcomed by the people and Saul’s officers alike.

When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song:

“Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!”

This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!”So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.

Saul and David obviously had a complicated relationship. As Laura pointed out last week, Saul knew he was on the way out, he knew the Lord was in the process of taking the kingdom from him. As an insecure leader he was jealously on the lookout for his replacement.

Yet here is his son Jonathon, who should have had the same attitude as Saul, because if Saul was not going to be king then Jonathon was not going to be king either. Yet he becomes fast friends with the next up-and-coming guy.

They had nothing in common:


  • Son of royalty
  • Famous military hero
  • Heir to the throne


  • Son of nobody, a shepherd
  • Rising star in the military
  • The only one who could usurp Jonathon’s position

So lack of common background, and possible competition, were stacked against them. Q: What are some other factors that keep people from being able to make friends easily?

  • Fear of rejection
  • Insecurity
  • Judging other people as not being good enough

Jonathon was able to overcome all these obstacles because of one very important factor: he had a friendship with God.

  • 1 John 4:10 – This is real love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins
  • 1 John 4:11 – Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

We have very legitimate needs, but people are not capable of meeting those needs perfectly or completely. Only God can do that. And once God meets those deeper needs, we will be able to form friendships that give instead of take.

10 The very next day a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman. David was playing the harp, as he did each day. But Saul had a spear in his hand, 11 and he suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David escaped him twice.

12 Saul was then afraid of David, for the Lord was with David and had turned away from Saul. 13 Finally, Saul sent him away and appointed him commander over 1,000 men, and David faithfully led his troops into battle.

14 David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him.15 When Saul recognized this, he became even more afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David because he was so successful at leading his troops into battle.

David Marries Saul’s Daughter

17 One day Saul said to David, “I am ready to give you my older daughter, Merab, as your wife. But first you must prove yourself to be a real warrior by fighting the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “I’ll send him out against the Philistines and let them kill him rather than doing it myself.”

18 “Who am I, and what is my family in Israel that I should be the king’s son-in-law?” David exclaimed. “My father’s family is nothing!” 19 So when the time came for Saul to give his daughter Merab in marriage to David, he gave her instead to Adriel, a man from Meholah.

  • David continues to demonstrate his humility, and his lack of desire to put himself forward, and it actually saves his life.

20 In the meantime, Saul’s daughter Michal had fallen in love with David, and Saul was delighted when he heard about it. 21 “Here’s another chance to see him killed by the Philistines!” Saul said to himself. But to David he said, “Today you have a second chance to become my son-in-law!”

22 Then Saul told his men to say to David, “The king really likes you, and so do we. Why don’t you accept the king’s offer and become his son-in-law?”

23 When Saul’s men said these things to David, he replied, “How can a poor man from a humble family afford the bride price for the daughter of a king?”

24 When Saul’s men reported this back to the king, 25 he told them, “Tell David that all I want for the bride price is 100 Philistine foreskins! Vengeance on my enemies is all I really want.” But what Saul had in mind was that David would be killed in the fight.

  • OK, ew. I’m assuming this is a guy thing.
  • Classic story: brother brings friend home, girl falls in love with brother’s friend, dad arranges match, asks for 100 enemy foreskins as a bride price. They should make a Disney movie.

26 David was delighted to accept the offer. Before the time limit expired, 27 he and his men went out and killed 200 Philistines. Then David fulfilled the king’s requirement by presenting all their foreskins to him. So Saul gave his daughter Michal to David to be his wife.

28 When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and how much his daughter Michal loved him, 29 Saul became even more afraid of him, and he remained David’s enemy for the rest of his life.

30 Every time the commanders of the Philistines attacked, David was more successful against them than all the rest of Saul’s officers. So David’s name became very famous.

19 Saul now urged his servants and his son Jonathan to assassinate David. But Jonathan, because of his strong affection for David, told him what his father was planning. “Tomorrow morning,” he warned him, “you must find a hiding place out in the fields. I’ll ask my father to go out there with me, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll tell you everything I can find out.”

The next morning Jonathan spoke with his father about David, saying many good things about him. “The king must not sin against his servant David,” Jonathan said. “He’s never done anything to harm you. He has always helped you in any way he could. Have you forgotten about the time he risked his life to kill the Philistine giant and how the Lord brought a great victory to all Israel as a result? You were certainly happy about it then. Why should you murder an innocent man like David? There is no reason for it at all!”

  • OK, here Jonathon is defending David, but part of what you see in a faithful friend is someone who speaks well of you even when you’re not around. This fits under the category of encouragement – using our words to build someone up.
  • Q: Why do you guys think encouragement is so integral to a good friendship?

So Saul listened to Jonathan and vowed, “As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed.”

Afterward Jonathan called David and told him what had happened. Then he brought David to Saul, and David served in the court as before.

War broke out again after that, and David led his troops against the Philistines. He attacked them with such fury that they all ran away.

But one day when Saul was sitting at home, with spear in hand, the tormenting spirit from the Lord suddenly came upon him again. As David played his harp, 10 Saul hurled his spear at David. But David dodged out of the way, and leaving the spear stuck in the wall, he fled and escaped into the night.

Michal Saves David’s Life

11 Then Saul sent troops to watch David’s house. They were told to kill David when he came out the next morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t escape tonight, you will be dead by morning.” 12 So she helped him climb out through a window, and he fled and escaped. 13 Then she took an idol and put it in his bed, covered it with blankets, and put a cushion of goat’s hair at its head.

14 When the troops came to arrest David, she told them he was sick and couldn’t get out of bed.

15 But Saul sent the troops back to get David. He ordered, “Bring him to me in his bed so I can kill him!” 16 But when they came to carry David out, they discovered that it was only an idol in the bed with a cushion of goat’s hair at its head.

17 “Why have you betrayed me like this and let my enemy escape?” Saul demanded of Michal.

“I had to,” Michal replied. “He threatened to kill me if I didn’t help him.”

18 So David escaped and went to Ramah to see Samuel, and he told him all that Saul had done to him. Then Samuel took David with him to live at Naioth.19 When the report reached Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah, 20 he sent troops to capture him. But when they arrived and saw Samuel leading a group of prophets who were prophesying, the Spirit of God came upon Saul’s men, and they also began to prophesy. 21 When Saul heard what had happened, he sent other troops, but they, too, prophesied! The same thing happened a third time. 22 Finally, Saul himself went to Ramah and arrived at the great well in Secu. “Where are Samuel and David?” he demanded.

“They are at Naioth in Ramah,” someone told him.

23 But on the way to Naioth in Ramah the Spirit of God came even upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy all the way to Naioth! 24 He tore off his clothes and lay naked on the ground all day and all night, prophesying in the presence of Samuel. The people who were watching exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet?”

20 David now fled from Naioth in Ramah and found Jonathan. “What have I done?” he exclaimed. “What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?”

“That’s not true!” Jonathan protested. “You’re not going to die. He always tells me everything he’s going to do, even the little things. I know my father wouldn’t hide something like this from me. It just isn’t so!”

  • Um, Jonathon, remember when he tried to get you to assassinate me? Remember when he threw that spear at me? Remember when he snuck into my house to murder me and your sister faked them out with an idol and some goat hair?
  • This is what is known as lack of discernment. Discernment = seeing things correctly or clearly.
  • Q: How might lack of discernment about our families affect our friendships?
  • Jonathon might be suffering from the ‘good talk’ fallacy – “My dad wanted to assassinate you but I told him no and he agreed not to. Therefore, I think Dad is doing a lot better.”
    • Jonathon is being too positive! That’s his only downfall!
    • Q: How might being too positive affect our friendships?

Then David took an oath before Jonathan and said, “Your father knows perfectly well about our friendship, so he has said to himself, ‘I won’t tell Jonathan—why should I hurt him?’ But I swear to you that I am only a step away from death! I swear it by the Lord and by your own soul!”

“Tell me what I can do to help you,” Jonathan exclaimed.

David replied, “Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. I’ve always eaten with the king on this occasion, but tomorrow I’ll hide in the field and stay there until the evening of the third day. If your father asks where I am, tell him I asked permission to go home to Bethlehem for an annual family sacrifice.If he says, ‘Fine!’ you will know all is well. But if he is angry and loses his temper, you will know he is determined to kill me. Show me this loyalty as my sworn friend—for we made a solemn pact before the Lord—or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don’t betray me to him!”

“Never!” Jonathan exclaimed. “You know that if I had the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once.”

10 Then David asked, “How will I know whether or not your father is angry?”

11 “Come out to the field with me,” Jonathan replied. And they went out there together. 12 Then Jonathan told David, “I promise by the Lord, the God of Israel, that by this time tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, I will talk to my father and let you know at once how he feels about you. If he speaks favorably about you, I will let you know. 13 But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the Lord strike me and even kill me if I don’t warn you so you can escape and live. May the Lord be with you as he used to be with my father.14 And may you treat me with the faithful love of the Lord as long as I live. But if I die, 15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the Lord destroys all your enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, saying, “May the Lord destroy all your enemies!” 17 And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.

  • Here we see a true, spiritual friendship, one that strikes the balance between sacrifice and vulnerability.
  • Have people give some symptoms of each one
Needy Interdependent Autonomous
Demands to have needs met Willing to allow needs to be met Refuses to show any weakness
“This person must meet my needs in exactly the way I think they should be met” “God may meet my needs through this person” “I only need God.”

“These people couldn’t possibly meet my needs.”

Angry, manipulative and infantile when needs go unmet Honestly expresses pain to others while patiently enduring it Ignores, hides, or runs from pain
Makes others feel smothered Makes others feel loved and respected Makes others feel dispensable or condescended to
Usually bitter from when people have hurt them or failed to meet their needs. Willing to experience the pain of being let down by others Unwilling to depend on anyone
Becomes angry and leaves a trail of short-term, failed relationships. Builds deep, healthy love relationships Becomes lonely, cold, and detached.
  • Also, you might need someone to help you figure out what end of the spectrum you fall on

18 Then Jonathan said, “Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. You will be missed when your place at the table is empty. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid before, and wait there by the stone pile. 20 I will come out and shoot three arrows to the side of the stone pile as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy to bring the arrows back. If you hear me tell him, ‘They’re on this side,’ then you will know, as surely as the Lord lives, that all is well, and there is no trouble. 22 But if I tell him, ‘Go farther—the arrows are still ahead of you,’ then it will mean that you must leave immediately, for the Lord is sending you away. 23 And may the Lord make us keep our promises to each other, for he has witnessed them.”

24 So David hid himself in the field, and when the new moon festival began, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat at his usual place against the wall, with Jonathan sitting opposite him and Abner beside him. But David’s place was empty. 26 Saul didn’t say anything about it that day, for he said to himself, “Something must have made David ceremonially unclean.” 27 But when David’s place was empty again the next day, Saul asked Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse been here for the meal either yesterday or today?”

28 Jonathan replied, “David earnestly asked me if he could go to Bethlehem.29 He said, ‘Please let me go, for we are having a family sacrifice. My brother demanded that I be there. So please let me get away to see my brothers.’ That’s why he isn’t here at the king’s table.”

30 Saul boiled with rage at Jonathan. “You stupid son of a whore!” he swore at him. “Do you think I don’t know that you want him to be king in your place, shaming yourself and your mother? 31 As long as that son of Jesse is alive, you’ll never be king. Now go and get him so I can kill him!”

32 “But why should he be put to death?” Jonathan asked his father. “What has he done?” 33 Then Saul hurled his spear at Jonathan, intending to kill him. So at last Jonathan realized that his father was really determined to kill David.

  • Nice, Saul, real classy – first you tried to kill your true successor (David), now you try to kill your heir to the throne, your own son, who has been loyal to a fault.
    • Saul is showing his true colors – he’s just a big, spoiled brat.

34 Jonathan left the table in fierce anger and refused to eat on that second day of the festival, for he was crushed by his father’s shameful behavior toward David.

35 The next morning, as agreed, Jonathan went out into the field and took a young boy with him to gather his arrows. 36 “Start running,” he told the boy, “so you can find the arrows as I shoot them.” So the boy ran, and Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy had almost reached the arrow, Jonathan shouted, “The arrow is still ahead of you. 38 Hurry, hurry, don’t wait.” So the boy quickly gathered up the arrows and ran back to his master. 39 He, of course, suspected nothing; only Jonathan and David understood the signal.40 Then Jonathan gave his bow and arrows to the boy and told him to take them back to town.

41 As soon as the boy was gone, David came out from where he had been hiding near the stone pile. Then David bowed three times to Jonathan with his face to the ground. Both of them were in tears as they embraced each other and said good-bye, especially David.

42 At last Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the Lord’s name. The Lord is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan returned to the town.

  • As far as we know, there was only one time after this they ever saw each other again. David spent the next several years on the run, trying to avoid getting killed by Saul. And when Saul is finally killed in battle, Jonathon dies with him, loyal to the end.
  • But, David was also loyal to the end. He tracks down one of Jonathon’s sons, Mephibosheth, and takes him into his family. We’ll read about that in 2 Samuel 9.

Conclusions: Most of us were or are so lonely, and we’re out there looking for a Jonathon, someone to love us and put our needs first. But the Bible teaches something very different – it teaches that we will be happiest and most fulfilled when we are the Jonathons.  It has to start with a relationship with God, but from there he will teach us how to relate in mature, self-giving ways that include letting other people help. And those relationships become a source of joy second only to a closer and closer relationship with God.

This is an outline from one of Scott’s CT teachings, so it needs discussion questions to be taught in a home group setting


People want friendships…

Tonight we’re going to study one of the coolest friendships in the bible…

Introduce the characters

Jonathan David Barrier
Son of royalty (1 Sam 13:22) Shepherd, son of a commoner (1 Sam 17:58) Socio-economic (rich/poor, educated/ uneducated, royalty/ commoner)
Famous military hero (1 Sam 13:3) The next military hero (1 Sam 17 – Goliath) Stealing Jonathan’s glory (compare Saul’s response 18:8-9)
Heir to the throne Suddenly in line for the throne (marries Michal – 1 Sam 18) Threat to Jonathan’s future kingship (1 Sam 20:31)

(Read 1 Sam 18:1)

What enabled them to overcome these barriers?

  • David and Jonathan built a spiritual friendship
  • God provides a way for us to connect with other people in a deep way

Define spiritual friendship

Friendship breaks down when 2 wills oppose one another (James 4:1-2)

Possible solutions:

  • Give up on building closeness
  • One person takes control (more like master-slave)
    • Dominate the other person
    • Be a doormat
  • Try to compromise
  • Get a third party involved
    • Eccl 4:4, 9-12
    • Jonathan’s relationship with God (1 Sam 14:6b)
    • David’s relationship with God (1 Sam 17:34-35, 37)

Jonathan commits to David (1 Sam 18:3-4)

  • “Only God between us” (1 Sam 20:23b, 42)
  • Only possible because of his commitment to something bigger than himself.
  • Example from Braveheart
  • The bible doesn’t call us to find friends.  It calls us to love and befriend others.
  • Spiritual friendships are often the result when we practice biblical love.

(Summarize 1 Sam 19)

Elements of spiritual friendship

Sacrifice (Read 1 Sam 20:1-4)

  • 1 Sam 20:4, 17b (also 18:4)
  • Personal sharing here: Must be willing to receive
  • True friendship may interfere with our plans

Encouragement (Read 1 Sam 20:5-15)

  • Casting a vision for them (20:15)
    • You want them to surpass you
    • Personal sharing here
  • Tending to the emotional needs of the other (1 Sam 23:15-17)
  • Building them up even when they’re not around (1 Sam 19:4)

Interdependence (Read 1 Sam 20:16-17)

  • Spiritual friendships must eventually evolve to deep interdependence
  • Receiver must give
    • Personal sharing here
    • Jesus and disciples in Garden
    • Are you willing to start giving?
  • Giver must need
    • Do you really need people?
    • Are you willing to need
    • Could you drop everyone tomorrow?
  • Show chart instead of reading some of the above points?
Needy Interdependent Autonomous
Demands to have needs met Willing to allow needs to be met Refuses to show any weakness
“This person must meet my needs in exactly the way I think they should be met” “God may meet my needs through this person” “I only need God.”

“These people couldn’t possibly meet my needs.”

Angry, manipulative and infantile when needs go unmet Honestly expresses pain to others while patiently enduring it Ignores, hides, or runs from pain
Makes others feel smothered Makes others feel loved and respected Makes others feel dispensable or condescended to
Usually bitter from when people have hurt them or failed to meet their needs. Willing to experience the pain of being let down by others Unwilling to depend on anyone
Becomes angry and leaves a trail of short-term, failed relationships. Builds deep, healthy love relationships Becomes lonely, cold, and detached.


  • Looked out for David (Summarize 1 Sam 20:18-29, read 30-35a)
  • Honesty (1 Sam 20:9)
  • Vulnerability (read 20:41-42)
  • Application
    • Does your dishonesty create barriers in your relationships?
    • Do your friends feel like they are safe around you?
    • Do you express real affection for your friends?


David kept his promise (Mephibosheth – study this in a few weeks)

Incredibly deep relationship (2 Sam 1:26)

  • Need to ask yourself: “Is it worth it?”
  • Cost Jonathan everything, but it was totally worth it


Accept God’s plan for relationships (1 Peter 1:22)

  • Get connected to God
  • Begin loving others fervently
    • Not many of us can really say we’ve done this.

Be willing to be a David

  • I need a Jonathan

Be a Jonathan

  • Show me a person to be a Jonathan to
  • Jonathan = “God has given”