David and Jonathan's Friendship

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In Ancient Israel, the Lord chose David to be the next king, rather than Jonathan who was the son of King Saul. Yet, Jonathan accepted this and was a true friend to David. He gave David his own robe, sword, bow and belt. And when King Saul wanted to kill David, Jonathan saved his life. Jonathan was loyal to the Lord and to David. Their story is a beautiful example of friendship in the Word.

The Story

Read about David and Jonathan’s friendship in portions of 1 Samuel 18, 19, and 20.

Jonathan Helps David: A Retelling of 1 Samuel 20 (ages 6-12)
Retells the story for children, summarizing key parts.

Ideas for discussion

  1. After David killed Goliath, people admired his bravery, and King Saul was jealous. The Lord had also chosen David to be the next king of Israel rather than Saul’s son, Jonathan. Saul tried to kill David several times (see 1 Sam. 18:10-12; 19:1, 9-12). Are there times when you have felt jealous of someone? Or angry with a person because of the situation? What are healthy ways to handle these feelings?
  2. Jonathan loved David “as his own soul” (1 Sam. 18:3) and the two made a covenant of friendship. Jonathan gave David his robe and belt, and also his armor, sword, and bow. When Saul told Jonathan and all of his servants to kill David, Jonathan did all that he could to keep David safe. What qualities did Jonathan show by acting this way? (Unselfishness, loyalty to his friend, loyalty to the Lord’s choice, etc.)
  3. What did Jonathan and David plan to make sure that David would be safe? (Jonathan would see how Saul reacted when David did not come to the feast at the New Moon. Jonathan would then signal to David whether it was safe or not.)
  4. What did David promise to do for Jonathan? (He would show Jonathan kindness throughout his life and extend that kindness to his children.)
  5. David and Jonathan show us a beautiful example of a friendship where each person wants what is best for the other. They respect what is good in the other and are unselfish in their words and actions toward each other. How can we look to this example when we trying to help other people and be a good friend to them?
  6. “The essence of spiritual love is to do good to others, not for one’s own sake, but for their sake” (Divine Love and Wisdom 335).
  7. “They who are in genuine mutual love are in their delight and bliss when they are benefiting the neighbor, for they desire nothing more” (Arcana Coelestia 6388).

Read more about this story and friendship:

Projects and activities for various ages:

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