1 Samuel 23:18
And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David stayed in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Samuel 23:18. They two made a covenant before the Lord — We have reason here to admire the sincere friendship of Jonathan, which remained so unshaken to David in all events, as well in his adversity and dangers, as in his prosperity and successes. It is to be observed, that, after making this covenant, they never came together again, that we find, in this world.23:14-18 David made no attempt against Saul; he kept God's way, waited God's time, and was content to secure himself in woods and wildernesses. Let it make us think the worse of this world, which often gives such bad treatment to its best men: let it make us long for that kingdom where goodness shall for ever be in glory, and holiness in honour. We find Jonathan comforting David. As a pious friend, he directed him to God, the Foundation of his comfort. As a self-denying friend, he takes pleasure in the prospect of David's advancement to the throne. As a constant friend, he renewed his friendship with him. Our covenant with God should be often renewed, and therein our communion with him kept up. If the converse of one friend, at one meeting, gives comfort and strengthens our hearts, what may not be expected from the continual supports and powerful love of the Saviour of sinners, the covenanted Friend of believers!A touching example of mutual fidelity between friends. The humility and unselfish love of Jonathan is apparent in 1 Samuel 23:17. 16, 17. Jonathan went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God—by the recollection of their mutual covenant. What a victory over natural feelings and lower considerations must the faith of Jonathan have won, before he could seek such an interview and give utterance to such sentiments! To talk with calm and assured confidence of himself and family being superseded by the man who was his friend by the bonds of a holy and solemn covenant, could only have been done by one who, superior to all views of worldly policy, looked at the course of things in the spirit and through the principles of that theocracy which acknowledged God as the only and supreme Sovereign of Israel. Neither history nor fiction depicts the movements of a friendship purer, nobler, and more self-denying than Jonathan's! They two made a covenant, i.e. renewed their former covenant before the Lord; setting themselves as in God’s presence, and calling upon him to be witness between them. And they two made a covenant before the Lord,.... Renewed the covenant they had before made in the name and fear of God, and before him as a witness of it. Kimchi and Abarbinel interpret this phrase:

before the Lord, of the covenant being made before Abiathar, with the Urim and Thummim in his hand; and so Jerom (p), before Gad the prophet, and Abiathar who wore the ephod:

and David abode in the wood; being a proper place for him for secrecy and safety:

and Jonathan went to his house; in Gibeah; and these two dear and cordial friends never saw one another more, as is highly probable.

(p) Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 76. K.

And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. to his house] Home to Gibeah, where Saul was (1 Samuel 23:19). It was the final parting of the friends.But David heard that Saul was preparing mischief against him (lit. forging, החרישׁ, from הרשׁ; Proverbs 3:29; Proverbs 6:14, etc.), and he inquired through the oracle of the high priest whether the inhabitants of Keilah would deliver him up to Saul, and whether Saul would come down; and as both questions were answered in the affirmative, he departed from the city with his six hundred men, before Saul carried out his plan. It is evident from 1 Samuel 23:9-12, that when the will of God was sought through the Urim and Thummim, the person making the inquiry placed the matter before God in prayer, and received an answer; but always to one particular question. For when David had asked the two questions given in 1 Samuel 23:11, he received the answer to the second question only, and had to ask the first again (1 Samuel 23:12).
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