1 Samuel 18:1-4
And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David…

How dreary would this world be if there were no friendships in it, if no heart union between man and man, husband and wife, parent and child, young man and maiden. How narrow must be the soul of that man who has never known what it is to be absorbed in someone else, so absorbed, that the mention of the name of that one will cause a peculiar thrill of joy. How sad to care only for oneself. How woeful to be uncared for. Miserable the state of one represented as saying, "There's not much to live for. I don't suppose I have a friend in all the world." Still sadder to me is the one who replied, "If you have no friend, you have nobody to borrow money of you; nobody to call when you are in the middle of an interesting book; nobody to tell stories about you to other people; nobody, in short, to bore you before your face and abuse you behind your back." That was a cynical view of a selfish man, of one who never could have tasted the sweets of a real friendship or the magnetic power of love. David drew Jonathan and held him as the magnet does steel filings. You cannot see the subtle power that attracts, but it is there. It is a mystery in evidence.

I. FRIENDSHIP THROUGH RESPECT. Love blazed up towards David very suddenly. Still, it was love, founded on respect. With some love may be more slowly kindled, but may die very hardly. Love at first sight is a possibility, and a constantly-renewed experience in this old world. Thank God that romance is not yet banished from the earth. In some nations affections are more kept under control than in England; marriages are made to depend on the amount of the dowry. Harmony of taste and principle characterised the friendship of the son of Saul and the son of Jesse. There was true piety in both. There is little prospect of happiness in any union without piety. First impressions are not always right. We may not always follow them. Reciprocal was the affection between Israel's prince and its future "sweet singer." Sometimes a man may care for one who cares nothing for him. Many a maiden, too, has given affection to one who may not really have had a serious thought about returning it. Imagination can throw round another a glamour of qualities he or she may not possess. People do not always meet with a return of affection. And yet some are as greedy of it as the eucalyptus is of water. Affection should beget affection, but it is not always successful in the transfer. Even when Christ loved with an infinite and Divine love it has not always found a response in souls.

II. DISCRIMINATING FRIENDSHIP. Seneca tells of a distinguished citizen of Rome who introduced the fashion of separating his visitors. Some were left in hall or court, others were admitted to the antechamber, and others were led into the boudoir of privacy and rest. Today some are acquaintances of the street, others of the church, and others of the home. A sensible man will know how to discriminate. He will not carry his "heart on his sleeve." He will not be like bill distributors who thrust their papers into anybody's hands. He will find an intensified interest in the special affection he has for one of like mind to himself.

1. Unreservedness and unsuspiciousness will be found in a true friendship. A Jonathan will pour out his admiration and affection to a David. He will have nothing to hide. There will be free interchange of feeling. When danger threatens one the other will be alive to it. Faithfulness in a friend is promoted by absolute trust. But let me here say that this absolute trust should not lead to presumings. Some are always ready to act as if the surest signs of friendship were found in free comments on conduct.

2. Disinterested and ready to bestow will be the attitude of a true friend. A Jonathan gives his bow and his robes to David. For him he foregoes his claim to a kingdom. He esteems the friendship of David of greater worth than a crown. How suggestive of that Divine love that gave up majesty, glory, heaven's rest, for reviling, rejection, mocking, scourging, loneliness, and death, even the death of the cross for sinners such as ourselves.

3. Unchangeable and unwavering to the end will a true friendship be. Some friendships are like the strings of musical instruments that snap so easily when there is an alteration in the temperature.

III. THE TEST OF FRIENDSHIP. Adversity is a test of faithfulness. When a man is prosperous he will have many friends. They will flock around, bend heads, and bow bodies. Let the tide of prosperity, however, turn, and many will rapidly fade from vision, having wind and tide in their favour as they speed away. One said, "Early fruits rot soon," so friendships too rapidly ripened. Gushing protestations are often followed by tantalising flirtations and bitter and cruel estrangements. Trifling is the death of friendship. Not so was it with David and Jonathan. What misery can be wrought into hearts and homes by those who are unfaithful, and who are not worthy the sacred name of friend! Such bitter experiences were unknown to David and Jonathan. They were faithful to each other right to the end. David would have readily died for Jonathan if he could.

(F. Hastings.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

WEB: It happened, when he had made an end of speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

David's Life At Court
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