Today’s reading dives into one of the deep friendships of the Bible, that of Jonathan and David. Jonathan, as you know, is the king’s son. He has shown trust in the LORD and courage in battle, and faithfulness to both Saul and David, and provides balance between these aggressive characters.
His attributes come into bloom today. Remember that Saul has tried to kill David before, and that when Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul's daughter, loved him, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David's enemy continually.
So when chapter 19 opens, it’s no surprise that Saul wants him dead. What is surprising is that he would plot so openly about it with his son and servants. His intense hatred and fear of David was compounded by his awareness of something else, which doesn’t get revealed until chapter 20, when he tells Jonathan that: “…as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established.” Apparently word has gotten back to Saul that the LORD, and Samuel, have already moved on. But he doesn’t intend to go quietly.
Consider Saul’s situation. He made an awkward entrance into the kingship to begin with. Samuel, who could have been his greatest human asset, was bitter about Israel wanting a king to begin with, but became even more disillusioned when Saul proved himself so unworthy. Other kings, whom Saul could cite as examples, would have seen eliminating a rival just part of the territory. But Israel, and her king, was to be different.
Consider his loneliness. He has alienated his soldiers, as proven by their disobedience toward him in chapter 14. His popularity among his subjects is second to that of his greatest solider. Three chapters ago the LORD turned His back on him. Today, his daughter and son do the same.
Our verse for this week is Isaiah 40:28: Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.
1 Samuel 19 and 20. Now let’s read it!
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.