Divine Goodness in Human Friendship
1 Samuel 20:42
And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, for as much as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying…

I. IN ITS FREEDOM FROM ALL JEALOUSY, JONATHAN'S CONDUCT WAS MOST EXEMPLARY. It was here that the son proved himself to be so much more noble than the father; for Jonathan saw himself surpassed by David, and yet was his faithful friend, and indeed found one reason for his love in that superiority which David had secured.

II. THE FRIENDSHIP OF JONATHAN WAS EMINENTLY PRACTICAL. It did not consist either of fair and flattering words which he uttered, or of a mere luxury of sentiment which be enjoyed. On the very first day of its life it proved its power, by prompting Jonathan to put his royal robes on David's. shoulder, to gird his sword on David's thigh, and to place his bow in David's hands; as much as to say, "I will give thee of my best. Thou art more of a king's son than I am. These befit thee more than me." There are friendships in the world which cost those who cherish them nothing, and like many other cheap things they are worth just what they cost.

III. JONATHAN'S FRIENDSHIP FOR DAVID WAS EMINENTLY UNSELFISH. It was much that he could do for David; it was but little that David could do for him. Personally, he had no interest in David's continued life and increasing power; but, speaking after the manner of men, his interest lay in the opposite direction. To Saul's selfish heart this nobleness of love and self-forgetfulness seemed nothing but wilful wickedness and sheer madness. How could he comprehend it?

IV. JONATHAN'S FRIENDSHIP HAD THE CROWNING GRACE OF CONSTANCY. It began in the midst of David's new-born posterity, but it lasted through all his reverses.

1. There is one fact belonging to this history which has seldom had the attention it deserves. While Jonathan was always faithful to David, he was never false to his lather. Some men wail cultivate one virtue alone, and make it an Aaron's rod — swallowing up all the other virtues; but this man did not suffer his virtues as a friend to devour his virtues as a son.

2. It needs no word to prove that the friendship we have been studying must have been a great help and blessing to David. How great, is known only to Him by whom the boon was bestowed.

3. As we contemplate the character of Jonathan, we are made increasingly thankful that the immortality of the good is revealed in God's Word beyond the possibility of doubt or question. We are forbidden to think that the love of Jonathan's heart, which wrought so beneficently on earth, labours no longer for the welfare of the others. Can it be possible that the God who created it in His own image doomed it to indolence? Would not that be to doom the possessor of it to misery?

(C. Vines.).

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.

WEB: Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, because we have both sworn in the name of Yahweh, saying, 'Yahweh shall be between me and you, and between my seed and your seed, forever.'" He arose and departed; and Jonathan went into the city.

The Parting of Friends
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