1 Samuel 20
Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
1 Samuel 20:1-10. (GIBEAH.)
The regard which true friends have for each other prompts to much communion. In it they find an exalted pleasure, and a sure resource of help and comfort in adversity. Hence David, in his continued distrust and fear of Saul, hastened to his friend Jonathan. Concerning their intercourse, notice -

1. Its entire freedom. They tell each other, without reserve, all that is in their hearts. Such freedom can be wisely indulged only in the presence of a friend. "A principal fruit of friendship is the ease and discharge of the fulness and swellings of the heart which passions of all kinds do cause and induce. No receipt openeth the heart but a true friend, to whom you may impart griefs, joys, fears, hopes, suspicions, counsel, and whatsoever lieth upon the heart to oppress it, in a kind of civil shrift or confession. It redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in halves" (Bacon, 'Essays').

2. Its gentle expostulations and reproofs. When David said, "Thy father seeketh my life" (an expression often used in the Psalms), Jonathan reproved his distrust - "It is not so;" and only after a solemn oath could be induced to share it (ver. 9). Rebuke is a duty and evidence of true friendship; and "where a man's ears are shut against the truth so that he cannot hear it from a friend, the welfare of such a one is to be despaired of." "As many as I love I rebuke."

3. Its kindly assurances. "Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will do it for thee." Such assurances he gave generously, sincerely, solemnly, and repeatedly, and they imparted encouragement and increased confidence. How "exceeding great and precious" are the promises which the heavenly Friend has given for this purpose to his friends!

4. Its anxious consultations and intelligent counsels. "The second fruit of friendship is healthful and sovereign for the understanding, as the first is for the affections; for friendship maketh indeed a fair day in the affections from storm and tempests, but it maketh daylight in the understanding out of darkness and confusion of thoughts; neither is this to be understood only of faithful counsel. The last fruit is aid, and bearing a part in all actions and occasions" (Bacon).

5. Its earnest requests of aid (ver. 8). Although it is the part of friendship to grant help to a friend rather than to beg it of him, yet it shows itself by reliance upon him in great emergencies, and confidently claims the fulfilment of former assurances; nor will it look for aid to a true friend in vain.

6. Its manifest imperfection. For, like all things earthly, human friendship is imperfect. Its communion is liable to interruption (vers. 10, 41). It often entertains thoughts, devises plans, and makes requests which are mistaken and injurious. The statement of David (though founded upon a measure of truth) was a mere pretext, and through failing faith in God he fell into "foolish and hurtful devices." It also omits reproof when it should be given, complies with doubtful requests, and promises what it is not able to perform. But all the defects which are found in the highest human friendship are absent from, and all the excellences which it possesses, and infinitely more, are present in, the friendship of Christ. - D.

1 Samuel 20:3. (GIBEAH.)
Our path in life lies along the brink of a river or the edge of a cliff; and we may by a step - a single step - at any moment meet our fate. The asseveration of David may be regarded as the expression of a strong conviction ("As Jehovah liveth," etc.) of -

I. THE SOLEMNITY OF DEATH. The event is a serious one. To leave familiar scenes and beloved friends, to "be missed" from our accustomed place is a saddening thought. But what gives solemnity to death as well as life is its moral aspect, its spiritual and Divine relations.

1. It terminates our earthly probation - severs our immediate connection with the privileges, means, and opportunities by which character is proved and the soul prepared for another state. When this step is taken, all these things belong to the past.

2. It ushers us into the Divine presence; no longer partially concealed by the veil of material things, but fully revealed in light, which reveals the moral attitude of every human spirit and judges it "in righteousness." "After death" (and following close upon it) "the judgment" (Hebrews 9:28). "We must all be manifest before the judgment seat of Christ," etc. (2 Corinthians 5:10).

3. It fixes our future destiny, in weal or woe. "What is a man profited," etc.

II. THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE. The step must be taken, but when we know not. That we may be duly impressed by a truth which all admit, but few adequately realise, consider -

1. The frailty of the body, and the innumerable dangers to which it is exposed. "Between us and hell or heaven there is nothing but life, the most fragile thing in existence (Pascal).

2. The facts of daily observation. What occurs to others so often, so suddenly and unexpectedly, may occur to ourselves. We have no guarantee that it will not. "Man's uncertain life is like a raindrop on the bough, amid ten thousand of its sparkling kindred, and at any moment it may fall."

3. The declarations of the Divine word. "Man knoweth not his time," etc. (Ecclesiastes 9:12). "Ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?" etc. (James 4:14). Why should we be left in such uncertainty?

(1) To teach us the sovereignty of God and our dependence upon him.

(2) To accord with our present probationary position, which necessitates the proper adjustment of motives to our freedom and responsibility.

(3) To enable us properly to perform the ordinary duties of life, in connection with which we are appointed to serve God here and prepare for his service hereafter.

(4) To check presumption in devoting undue attention to the affairs of this life and neglecting those of the life to come.

(5) To lead us not to put the event out of our minds altogether, but rather to constant preparation for it and for the life that lies beyond. "The last day is kept secret that every day may be watched" (Augustine). "Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is" (Mark 13:33). "Be ye therefore ready also, etc. (Luke 12:40).

III. THE NECESSITY OF WATCHFUL PREPARATION. Seeing that at any instant the step may be taken, it plainly behoves us to be always ready.

1. By seeking and maintaining a right state of heart (John 3:2, 14).

2. By diligent, faithful, and persevering performance of duty.

3. By constant and prayerful committal of our souls into the hands of God. So, whenever the step is taken, it will be "only a step" out of the shadows and sorrows Of earth into the glory and joy of heaven. - D.

Brave men have their times of depression, and believing men have their fits of discouragement. Of David's courage there could be no question. He had faced death without flinching, both in defence of his flock from beasts of prey, and for the deliverance of Israel from the boastful Philistine. Yet he now recoiled, saying, "There is but a step between me and death." He felt as on the edge of a precipice. One push, and he was gone. We need not wonder at this; for it is one thing to meet an enemy in the open field, another thing to feel that one's steps are dogged by treacherous malice, and not know but one may be attacked in his sleep, or struck from behind, or entrapped by some cruel stratagem. Of David's faith in God there could be just as little question as of his bravery. All the successes he had gained had been triumphs of faith. But temperament goes for something too, and the son of Jesse had the sensitive nature which goes with poetic genius. He was capable of great exultation, but just as capable of sudden discouragement; and when he gave way to a foreboding, melancholy mood, his faith looked like unbelief. The young and healthy cannot, should not, wish to die. We can feel for Henry Kirke White, though his tone was too gloomy, when he wrote, deprecating his early fate -

"It is hard
To feel the hand of Death arrest one's steps
Throw a chill blight o'er all one's budding hopes,
And hurl one's soul untimely to the shades." Poets, both heathen and Christian, have often deplored the disease and violence which cast young lives headlong from the precipice. And we regard the youthful David's recoil from the cruel death which Saul designed for him as quite natural, and in no sense discreditable to his manhood. But there is more than this in his melancholy.

I. THE OLD TESTAMENT WAY OF REGARDING DEATH. In the days before Christ, dimness overhung the doctrine of a future existence. "Life and incorruption" had not been brought to light. It was therefore reckoned a blessing to live long in Palestine. It was a sore calamity to die in one's youth. The soldiers of Israel would encounter death in the excitement of battle; and such prophets as Elijah and Jonah could even wish for death in a hurt and discouraged mood of mind; but, as a rule, even the most devout Hebrews regarded death with sadness and reluctance. No wonder that David, brought up in the ideas of his own age, not of ours, should shrink from the cutting short of his days by violence, just when he had won distinction, and begun to be of service to his nation. The horror of it hung above him for many a day; for even after many wonderful escapes we hear him say, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul." This sadness or reluctance in view of death never left an Old Testament worthy like David except in the hour of battle, or under some such strong emotion as once made him cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" At the end of his career he made express mention in his song of thanksgiving of his deliverance from the "sorrows" and the "snares of death" (2 Samuel 22.). And when we see him in old age, anxiously nursed that his days might be prolonged, we catch no sign of a spirit longing to be free and assured of being with the Lord, such as one expects to find in the latter days of almost any eminent Christian. "Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying, I go the way of all the earth." Compare the language in Psalm 13:3; Psalm 30:9; Psalm 88:11; and that of Hezekiah in Isaiah 38. Contrast with this the contempt of death which was admired and often exhibited by the heathen. But the Hebrew feeling on the subject was really the more exalted, as having a perception of the connection of death with sin, and a value for communion with the living God in the land which was his, and therefore theirs, of which the heathen mind knew nothing.


1. Contrast with the case of David in youth that of Stephen at Jerusalem, evidently young, or in the prime of life. His powers were at the full, and a distinguished career of usefulness among the Hellenist Jews opened before him. Those who entered into controversy with him "were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake." Suddenly the enraged Jews seized him, and dragged him before the Sanhedrim on the capital charge of blasphemy. Well did Stephen know that there was but a step between him and death; but no melancholy fell upon his spirit. "All that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel."

2. Contrast with the case of David in old age that of "such an one as Paul the aged," and his feeling when he was "ready to be offered," and the time of his departure was at hand. He too was a man of sensitive temperament, and suffered keenly at times from dejection. He too was careful not to throw his life away. But when there seemed but a step between him and death, what an access of light, what an advance of consolation and hope, had the servant of God in the New Testament over the servant of God in the Old! David said, "I go the way of all the earth." But Paul, "We are confident, and willing rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord." O happy ending of this troubled life! O welcome escape from fleshly impediment, weariness, temptation, insufficiency, and sorrow!

III. CHRIST'S CONTEMPLATION OF HIS OWN DECEASE. He who is the Son of David, and the Lord of Stephen and of Paul, saw in the very prime of youthful manhood that there was but a step between him and death, and that too a death of harsh violence such as his ancestor had feared. There was, however, this difference between "the Man Christ Jesus" and all other men - that he knew when, where, and how he should die. It was to be at Jerusalem, and at the time of the feast. He foretold the very day on which he should "be perfected," and indicated that it would be by crucifixion in saying that the Son of man would be "lifted up from the earth." From such knowledge it is well that we are exempt. To know the place, time, and manner of our death would tempt, perhaps, at first to carelessness; and then, as the date came near, would put a strain on our spirits very hard to be borne. Such a strain was upon Christ, and, as the bitter death approached, his spirit was "exceeding sorrowful." As David had his friend Jonathan to show him sympathy and endeavour to drive from his mind the presentiment of death, so Jesus Christ had his disciples, who, as lovers and friends, besought him not to think of dying; but he could not take comfort from them. The cup which his Father had given him to drink, should he not drink it? To him death was gain. He finished all his work and travail, then left the world and went to the Father. "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." We have much to learn from David, more from Stephen and Paul, most of all from our Lord Jesus. What if there be but a step between us and death? It is a step which cannot be taken but as, and when, and where our Lord appoints. "Lord Jesus, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." - F.

1 Samuel 20:11-23. (THE OPEN COUNTRY, NEAR GIBEAH.)
And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David (ver. 16). The friendship of Jonathan and David was expressed and confirmed by a sacred covenant (1 Samuel 18:3). The covenant now made differed from the former.

1. It was made at a time of trial. Their friendship was put to a severe test; for it had become clear to the mind of Jonathan that David was destined to be king (ver. 13), as he afterwards stated more fully (1 Samuel 23:17) "Jonathan caused David to swear again" (ver. 17), not because he distrusted him, but "because he loved him: for he loved him as be loved his own soul;" and in times of special danger such repeated and solemn assurances may be needful and beneficial.

2. It included the obligation to show kindness to the house of Jonathan as well as himself. Consider it as -

I. CONFIRMED BY AN APPEAL TO GOD. It was customary in making a covenant (contract or agreement) to take an oath in which God was appealed to as a witness and an avenger of its violation (Genesis 26:28; Genesis 31:45-53). Even when no such appeal is expressly made it should be remembered -

1. That he observes the promises and engagements which men make to one another, and keeps a faithful record thereof (Malachi 3:16).

2. That he loves to see truth and faithfulness in their speech and conduct (Deuteronomy 7:9; Deuteronomy 32:4).

3. That he manifests his displeasure toward those who neglect or violate their engagements (Ezekiel 17:9).

4. That he shows favour and affords help to those who strive to keep them faithfully. "Who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord" (Psalm 24:4; Psalm 15:4; Ephesians 4:25).

II. DEEPENING THE SENSE OF OBLIGATION. In some cases a covenant creates a new obligation; in others (like that of friendship) it intensifies the force and feeling of it -

1. By the solemn manner in which it is made.

2. By the greater definiteness in which the obligation is expressed.

3. By the permanent record which is formed of it in the memory, often associated with particular places and objects (Joshua 24:27).

4. And this is important as an incentive to faithfulness in temptation arising from self-interest and strong passion to set it aside. As often as Jonathan and David remembered their sacred covenant they would be impelled to ever higher love and faithfulness.

III. CONTRIBUTING TO THE BENEFIT OF BOTH. "By Jehovah," etc. (ver. 12). "And O that thou wouldst while I live show me kindness," etc. (ver. 14). Each received as well as gave assurances of kindness, which served -

1. To afford a claim that might be confidently urged in difficulty and danger (ver. 8).

2. To enrich the soul with a permanent feeling of pure and elevating joy. "Very pleasant hast thou been to me" (2 Samuel 1:26).

3. To preserve it from despondency in hours of darkness and trouble.

4. To increase its aspiration and endeavour after all that is excellent. The continued loyalty of David to Saul and his acts of kindness to him were doubtless greatly incited by the love of Jonathan; and the latter was not less morally strengthened and blessed by the love of David. "There is no influence on a feeling mind stronger than the sense of being loved; nothing more elevating, more securing to the inner life."

IV. INVOLVING THE WELFARE OF OTHERS. "And that thou wouldst not cut off thy kindness from my house forever," etc. (vers. 15, 23). "His request that his house may be excepted from this judgment, as executor of which he regards David, is founded on and justified by his position outside the circle of 'enemies' (since he recognises God's will concerning David, and bends to it as David's friend), so that, though a member of Saul's house, he does not belong to it as concerns the judgment of extermination" (Erdmann).

1. A parent naturally desires and ought to seek the welfare of his family.

2. He may by his faithful conduct do much to promote it.

3. For the sake of one many are frequently and justly spared and blessed. "Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan's sake" (2 Samuel 9:1).

4. The memory of the good is a perpetual incitement to goodness. Learn -

1. The wonderful condescension of God in making with men a friendly covenant (arrangement, constitution, dispensation), according to which be graciously assures them of unspeakable privileges and blessings (Genesis 9:14; Jeremiah 31:33; Galatians 3:15-18).

2. The sure ground which is thereby afforded for confidence and "strong consolation."

3. The necessity of observing the appointed conditions thereof.

4. To look to God for all good through "Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant" (Hebrews 12:24), and "for Christ's sake" (Ephesians 4:32). - D.

Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan (ver. 30). "And Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger" (ver. 34). Anger is not necessarily sinful. "It is in itself, and in its original, no more than indignation against injury and wickedness" (Butler, on 'Resentment'). But it is too frequently sinful because of the manner in which it is indulged. How different was the anger of Saul now from what it was on a former occasion (1 Samuel 11:6). Consider that -

I. IT MAY BE UNINTENTIONALLY EXCITED (vers. 24-29). The reason which Jonathan gave why "David's place was empty" was doubtless a mere pretext (ver. 12), harmless as he thought, and not designed to provoke wrath; but Saul saw through it at once, and his anger was kindled against Jonathan on account of it and his taking part with one whom he regarded as his enemy. Care should be exercised, even when no harm is meant, to furnish no occasion for offence, especially in intercourse with those who are of an irritable and passionate temper, and to avoid "all appearance (every kind) of evil." Deception practised for a good end is not good, and sometimes produces much mischief.


1. When it springs from selfishness and pride, and is associated with malice and revenge. Saul's anger against Jonathan was the offspring of the envy toward "the son of Jesse" which slumbered in his breast, if indeed he had not now formed the deliberate purpose of putting him to death at the first opportunity. It is not said that "the evil spirit from Jehovah came upon him" again. Hatred of David had become the pervading spirit of his life, and it gave a colouring to everything. "Anger is an agitation of the mind that proceeds to the resolution of a revenge, the mind assenting to it" (Seneca, on 'Anger').

2. When it is felt without just or adequate cause. The questions of Jonathan (ver. 32) did not, any more than the reason he had previously given, justify his father's wrath, and his jealousy of David was groundless and wicked. "Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause," etc. (Matthew 5:22).

3. When it becomes excessive, and ceases to be under the control of right reason. "Be master of thine anger."

4. When it issues in bitter words, and violent and unjust acts. "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer," etc. (1 John 3:15). He has within him the principle of murder, the germ from which the outward act naturally grows. "Cease from anger and forsake wrath" (Psalm 37:8). "Where envy and strife are there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16). "Sinful anger destroys our own peace of mind, hurts the unity of spirit among brethren, blocks up the way to the Divine throne, exposes us to danger, makes work for bitter repentance, fires the minds of others, makes us unlike the meek and lowly Jesus, causes us to resemble madmen and devils, and is cruel and murderous" (Fawcett, 'Essay on Anger'.).

III. IT CAN BE UNBLAMABLY ENTERTAINED (ver. 34). It may in certain circumstances be a Christian virtue. But in order to this -

1. It must be directed, out of love to righteousness, against the wrong which is done or intended rather than against the wrong doer, and be associated with sorrow for him and good will toward him. "Resentment is not inconsistent with good will. These contrary passions, though they may lessen, do not necessarily destroy each other. We may therefore love our enemy and yet have resentment against him for his injurious behaviour toward us" (Butler, on 'Forgiveness of Injuries'). "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts," etc. (Mark 3:5).

2. It must be felt from love to others rather than ourselves, especially to those who love God, and from zeal for his honour. "He was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame."

3. It must be kept under proper control. Jonathan did not retaliate. He "arose from the table," and went out; to fast, not to raise a rebellion against his father, as Absalom did at a subsequent period.

4. It must not be suffered to continue too long. "Wise anger is like fire from flint; there, is a great ado to bring it out; and when it does come, it is out again immediately (M. Henry). "Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil."

IV. IT MUST BE UNCEASINGLY GUARDED AGAINST and duly suppressed by the use of proper means, such as consideration of the effects of sinful anger on others and on ourselves, of the allowance which ought to be made for others, of our own faults, and of the patience and gentleness of Christ; the realisation of the presence and love of God; the cultivation of the opposite principles of humility, charity, and meekness; and continual prayer for the Holy Spirit. - D.

1 Samuel 20:35-40. (THE STONE EZEL.)
(A word to the young.) Prince Jonathan went out into the country, by the stone Ezel, to practise archery of his famous bow (2 Samuel 1:18, 22), and took with him a lad, "a little lad" (ver. 35), to carry his arrows and gather them up after they had been shot at the mark. This lad -

1. Had learnt a great lesson, the first and most important lesson of life - obedience. He was a young soldier, and had learnt a soldier's chief duty. "Children, obey your parents" (Ephesians 6:1). "Servants, obey your masters" (Colossians 3:22). "Obey" your teachers (Hebrews 13:17). "Obey magistrates" (Titus 3:1).

2. Had learnt his lesson well. He did what he was told to do willingly, cheerfully, quickly ("make speed, haste, stay not"), fully, "without asking any questions."

3. Was very useful to his master. Though but a little lad, he could be of service to a prince and great hero.

4. Did a greater service than he was aware of. He was seen by David from his hiding place in the rock, and was useful to him as well as to Jonathan. "And the lad knew not anything" (ver. 39). In doing our duty One sees us whom we see not, and regards it as done to him.

5. Did not go unrewarded. He pleased his master, and would be more highly valued for this service and promoted to a higher position, for which it helped to prepare him.

6. Set a pattern of the kind of service we should render to God. "We ought to obey God" (Acts 5:29) above all. "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." - D.

1 Samuel 20:41. (THE STONE EZEL.)
Friends sometimes part because they cease to esteem each other. They also sometimes part not in feeling, but only in space; not willingly, but under the constraint of a higher necessity; and their separation is one of the most painful trials of life. Such was the parting of Jonathan and David. "This is the culminating point in the mutual relations of the two friends who furnish the eternal type of the perfection of noble friendship; and, moreover, in these last hours before their separation, all the threads of their destinies, henceforth so widely different, are secretly woven together. It is also at this point, consequently, that the clearest anticipation of the whole subsequent history already shines through. As Jonathan here foresees, David afterwards obtains the kingdom; and, in accordance with his oath to his friend, he afterwards, when a powerful king, always spares the descendants of Jonathan, in grateful remembrance of his dearly loved friend, and never loses an opportunity of showing them kindness" (Ewald). In their parting we observe -

I. COURTESY. David "fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times." He did so not merely in external and courtier like obeisance to the prince, but also in heartfelt esteem and homage to the friend, who had shown his fidelity in a great crisis, virtually renounced the prospect of a kingdom for his sake and in obedience to what he saw to be the Divine purpose, and was worthy of the highest honour. True courtesy -

1. Has its seat in the heart, and expresses itself in appropriate speech and conduct in intercourse with others, according to the custom of the time and place and the relative position they occupy. The outward bearing of itself, is morally worthless. It may be superficial and hypocritical. Yet "courtesy of feeling is very much acquired and promoted by cultivating courtesy of manner. Gentleness of manner has some influence on gentleness of life."

2. Is the opposite of selfishness and pride (the chief causes of its absence); unsociableness, austerity, and moroseness; coldness, reserve, and neglect; contemptuous demeanour, rudeness, and undue familiarity. And it by no means implies obsequiousness or want of self-respect.

3. Consits of humility, benevolent regard for others, kindly consideration for their feelings even in little things, gentleness, and frankness.

4. Is attended with many advantages; commended by the examples recorded in the word of God, and enjoined by its precepts (Genesis 23:12; Luke 7:44; Acts 28:7; Philemon). "Whatsoever things are lovely," etc. (Philippians 4:8). "Be courteous" (1 Peter 3:8).

II. TENDERNESS. "And they kissed one another, and wept with one another, until David exceeded" (LXX., "wept one with another with great lamentation"). The tenderness of their affection and grief was "wonderful." Something of the same tenderness -

1. Is commonly possessed by men of a brave and noble type of character. "There is in David (as there is said to be in all great geniuses) a feminine as well as a masculine vein; a passionate tenderness, a keen sensibility, a vast capacity of sympathy, sadness, and suffering which makes him truly a type of the Man of sorrows" (Kingsley).

2. Is revealed in them by special circumstances, and is in such circumstances worthy of them.

3. Is shown in sympathy with the trouble of others, rather than in grief occasioned by the deprivation of their friendship and aid. The loss which David and Jonathan were each about to suffer by the separation was great; but they were chiefly affected by the thought of the trouble which awaited each other: the one to become an outlaw and to be pursued with relentless malice; the other to bear the frowns of his royal father, and witness his ruinous career, without any consolation but that derived from the prospect of a better time under the rule of his chosen friend.

4. Appears in the restraint which is put upon the indulgence of personal feeling, from concern for others' welfare. The interview might not be prolonged. There was danger in delay. And Jonathan hastened the departure of his friend, saying, "Go in peace." Equal tenderness appears in none save those whose hearts are softened and pervaded by Divine grace (Acts 20:37, 38; Acts 21:13), or in "the Friend of sinners."

III. PIETY. "Go in peace, forasmuch," etc. Their souls were "knit" to God before they were knit to each other; the one was the cause of the other; their covenant was made "in the name of Jehovah," and he would still be with them when they parted. The piety which is possessed in common alleviates and sanctifies the grief occasioned by the separation of friends. It appears in -

1. The fellowship which is held with the eternal Friend and abides amidst all earthly changes.

2. Submission to his sovereign will, which appoints the lot of each and all (Acts 21:13).

3. Faith in his overruling power and goodness, according to which "all things work together for good" - the welfare of his people, the establishment of his kingdom.

4. The wish and prayer for his continued presence and blessing. In him parted friends may still meet, continue of "one heart and one soul," and obtain by their prayers invaluable benefits for one another.

IV. HOPEFULNESS. They did not part without the hope of meeting again in this life (which was fulfilled - 1 Samuel 23:16), and doubtless also in the eternal home to which God gathers his people. "Let it be considered what a melancholy thing any friendship would be that should be destined to expire with all its pleasures and advantages at death. That is the worthy and happy friendship, and that alone, where the parties are zealously preparing and have a good hope to meet in a nobler scene" (J. Foster). The friendship which is formed and cherished in God is not dissolved by death, but is renewed in "a life beyond life," and perpetuated forever.

"As for my friends, they are not lost;
The several vessels of thy fleet,
Though parted now, by tempest tossed,
Shall safely in the haven meet." = - D.

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