1 Samuel 18:4
And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.
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(4) Gave it to David.—It has been suggested that the reason of this gift was to enable his friend David—then poorly clad—to appear at his father’s court in a fitting dress; but this kind of present was usual among friends in those remote ages. Glaucus and Diomed, for instance, exchanged armour of a very different value.

“Now change we arms, and prove to either host

We guard the friendship of the line we boast.

* * * * * *

For Diomed’s brass arms, of mean device,

For which nine oxen paid (a vulgar price),

He gave his own of gold, divinely wrought:

A hundred beeves the shining purchase bought.”

Iliad, vi. 286–295.

1 Samuel 18:4. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him — This he did that he might do honour to, as well as show his affection for, David. For it is probable that David was before clothed in a rustic habit, not fit to appear in at court.18:1-5 The friendship of David and Jonathan was the effect of Divine grace, which produces in true believers one heart and one soul, and causes them to love each other. This union of souls is from partaking in the Spirit of Christ. Where God unites hearts, carnal matters are too weak to separate them. Those who love Christ as their own souls, will be willing to join themselves to him in an everlasting covenant. It was certainly a great proof of the power of God's grace in David, that he was able to bear all this respect and honour, without being lifted up above measure.Was knit with the soul of David - The same forcible phrase occurs of Jacob's love for Benjamin (marginal reference). Jonathan's truly heroic character is shown in this generous love of David, and admiration of his great deed. 4. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David—To receive any part of the dress which had been worn by a sovereign, or his eldest son and heir, is deemed, in the East, the highest honor which can be conferred on a subject (see on [245]Es 6:8). The girdle, being connected with the sword and the bow, may be considered as being part of the military dress, and great value is attached to it in the East. Partly as a pledge of his great respect and affection to him; and partly to vindicate David from that contempt which might cleave to him for his former pastoral habit and condition, and to put him into a habit suitable to his present greatness and glory. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him,.... As a token of his hearty love and true friendship, and that David might appear at court not in the habit of a shepherd, but in that of a prince:

and gave it to David, and his garments; his other garments besides his robe, and so clothed him from tip to toe, and which fitted him; for as there was a similarity in their souls, and the disposition of them, so in the make and hulk of their bodies, and in the stature of them:

even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle; these he gave him to accoutre himself with, that he might appear as a soldier, as well as like a prince, and as another Jonathan, or rather the same; that they might seem as one, as alike in body, so in garb and habit.

And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.
4. Jonathan stript himself, &c.] Jonathan gave David (1) his mĕîl or long outer robe for ordinary wear (see on 1 Samuel 2:19); (2) his military dress (1 Samuel 17:38) and girdle: (3) even his sword, and the famous bow which was his special weapon (2 Samuel 1:22). The act was at once a ratification of their compact and a pubic mark of honour. See Genesis 41:42; Esther 6:8. We may compare the exchange of armour between Glaucus and Diomede when they met before Troy, as a pledge of old family friendship (Hom. Il. VI. 230).Jonathan's friendship. - 1 Samuel 17:55-58. The account of the relation into which David was brought to Saul through the defeat of Goliath is introduced by a supplementary remark, in 1 Samuel 17:55, 1 Samuel 17:56, as to a conversation which took place between Saul and his commander-in-chief Abner concerning David, whilst he was fighting with the giant. So far, therefore, as the actual meaning is concerned, the verbs in 1 Samuel 17:55 and 1 Samuel 17:56 should be rendered as pluperfects. When Saul saw the youth walk boldly up to meet the Philistine, he asked Abner whose son he was; whereupon Abner assured him with an oath that he did not know. In our remarks concerning the integrity of this section we have already observed, with regard to the meaning of the question put by Saul, that it does not presuppose an actual want of acquaintance with the person of David and the name of his father, but only ignorance of the social condition of David's family, with which both Abner and Saul may hitherto have failed to make themselves more fully acquainted.

(Note: The common solutions of this apparent discrepancy, such as that Saul pretended not to know David, or that his question is to be explained on the supposition that his disease affected his memory, have but little probability in them, although Karkar still adheres to them.)

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