Jonathon Helps David Flee King Saul

I Sam. 18-31     Review Activities for this Lesson

Saul and his army were jubilant to see David standing over the mighty Goliath’s body! Shouting gleefully, they chased down the fleeing Philistines. Now the shepherd boy was hero to all Israel. Saul’s son Jonathan admired David so much he gave him his own robe, sword and spear. After the battle, though, Saul’s feelings for David changed. He was filled with jealousy to hear the women singing, “Saul has killed his thousands, but David has killed his ten thousands!” How dare they honor David with killing ten thousands and him with only thousands! Brooding over David’s sudden popularity made Saul suspicious, what if he tried to take over the kingdom? Later when the evil spirit came back, Saul angrily hurled his spear at David, trying to pin him to the wall. But Saul missed and David got away. So Saul decided to get rid of David by sending him into dangerous battles.

How would you have felt, knowing the king wanted you killed? David had some fearful thoughts, but he didn’t try to carry his heavy burdens alone. Instead, he prayed for God’s protection. And because Saul was the anointed ruler of God’s people, David tried to serve him faithfully, in spite of his cruelty.

God heard David’s prayers and gave him one victory after another. These victories made him even more famous with the people and more hated in the eyes of Saul. Now he ordered his servants and his son Jonathan to kill David. But Jonathan would not hurt his friend. Instead he tried to reason with his father, pleading, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you.” Had not David had risked his own life in killing Goliath? Would the king kill such a brave man without reason?

Saul admitted Jonathan was right. “As the Lord lives, he shall not be killed,” he promised. As soon as the evil spirit came back, though, he threw his spear at David again. David fled into the night to his own house where his frightened wife Micah begged him, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed!” Helping him escape through the window, she put a statue in his bed to make Saul’s men think he was asleep.

Saul was furious with Micah’s trick, but David was safe with Samuel at Ramah. Soon he came out of hiding long enough to see Jonathan. “What have I done?” he asked his friend. “...What is my sin before your father that he seeks my life?” Jonathan promised to find out for David what was in Saul’s mind. If he weren’t safe in his own country he would have to leave.

Knowing Jonathan was still David’s friend enraged Saul. He couldn’t believe he would side with someone against his own father! Jonathan could never become king as a long as David was alive, Saul warned and commanded, “Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die,” But Jonathan refused. “Why should he be killed?” he argued. “What has he done?” This filled Saul with such wrath that he cast his spear a third time, this time at his son!

Angrily Jonathan left the king’s presence, deeply grieved over his father’s shameful behavior. The next morning he met David in a field to say there was no hope for things to change. So the two young men cried and sadly kissed goodbye. Before they separated, they promised there would always be peace between them and their children. Then David went on his way.

Now hunting down David was Saul’s main purpose in life. David had several chances to kill Saul, but he would not harm him. Once without knowing David was inside, Saul came into a dark cave. There David cut a piece of the king’s robe, then showed it to him. When Saul saw David spared his life, he cried and said he was wrong. But he soon went back to his old ways.

It was finally all over when Saul and Jonathan fought the Philistines on Mt. Gilboa. Wounded by an enemy soldier, Saul died on his own sword so the Philistines would not take him alive and torture him. Jonathan and two of his brothers died in the battle, too. Hearing about their deaths distressed David very much. His love for Jonathan had been great. And he was saddened to think God’s anointed king had come to such a sad end.