1 Samuel 18:3
Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
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(3) Made a covenant.—The son of the first Hebrew king recognised in David a kindred spirit. They were one in their God, in their faith, in their devotion to the Divine will. Jonathan recognised in the young shepherd, who unarmed went out alone to meet the mighty Philistine warrior, the same spirit of sublime faith in the Invisible King which had inspired him in days far back to go forth alone with his armour-bearer to attack and capture the Philistine stronghold, when he spoke those memorable words which enable us to understand the character of Jonathan: “It may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few” (1Samuel 14:6).

The great friendship, which has been the admiration of succeeding generations, began with the strong faith in the Eternal common to the two friends. Throughout its duration the link which united them was an intense desire to do the will of Him who, as true Hebrew patriots, they felt loved Israel; and when the friends parted for the last time in the wilderness of Ziph, we are told how the elder (Jonathan) strengthened the younger (David’s) “hand in God” (1Samuel 23:16).

1 Samuel 18:3. Jonathan and David made a covenant — Solemnly entered into an agreement of perpetual friendship. Because he loved him, &c. — Or rather, as Le Clerc renders it, so that each loved the other as his own soul. For it cannot be supposed but that David loved Jonathan as well as Jonathan loved him. Their covenant seems to have implied an engagement for mutual assistance and defence, even until death, and kindness to the posterity of each other after either of them was dead. This was wisely ordered by the providence of God, who, by this means, preserved David in that sharp persecution which shortly after rose against him at court.18:1-5 The friendship of David and Jonathan was the effect of Divine grace, which produces in true believers one heart and one soul, and causes them to love each other. This union of souls is from partaking in the Spirit of Christ. Where God unites hearts, carnal matters are too weak to separate them. Those who love Christ as their own souls, will be willing to join themselves to him in an everlasting covenant. It was certainly a great proof of the power of God's grace in David, that he was able to bear all this respect and honour, without being lifted up above measure.Was knit with the soul of David - The same forcible phrase occurs of Jacob's love for Benjamin (marginal reference). Jonathan's truly heroic character is shown in this generous love of David, and admiration of his great deed. 3. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant—Such covenants of brotherhood are frequent in the East. They are ratified by certain ceremonies, and in presence of witnesses, that the persons covenanting will be sworn brothers for life. A covenant, i.e. an agreement of sincere and perpetual friendship between them. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant,.... A covenant of friendship; entered into a solemn agreement to keep up and maintain a cordial respect to each other, and to support each other's interest both in life and after death, whoever was the survivor; and in consequence of this David had a friend at court, when Saul fell out with him, and who pleaded his cause, and discovered his father's plots, and was the means of preserving David's life:

because he loved him as his own soul; so that this covenant was not founded in mere words, but in sincere and cordial affection, and was lasting and inviolable.

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
Jonathan's friendship. - 1 Samuel 17:55-58. The account of the relation into which David was brought to Saul through the defeat of Goliath is introduced by a supplementary remark, in 1 Samuel 17:55, 1 Samuel 17:56, as to a conversation which took place between Saul and his commander-in-chief Abner concerning David, whilst he was fighting with the giant. So far, therefore, as the actual meaning is concerned, the verbs in 1 Samuel 17:55 and 1 Samuel 17:56 should be rendered as pluperfects. When Saul saw the youth walk boldly up to meet the Philistine, he asked Abner whose son he was; whereupon Abner assured him with an oath that he did not know. In our remarks concerning the integrity of this section we have already observed, with regard to the meaning of the question put by Saul, that it does not presuppose an actual want of acquaintance with the person of David and the name of his father, but only ignorance of the social condition of David's family, with which both Abner and Saul may hitherto have failed to make themselves more fully acquainted.

(Note: The common solutions of this apparent discrepancy, such as that Saul pretended not to know David, or that his question is to be explained on the supposition that his disease affected his memory, have but little probability in them, although Karkar still adheres to them.)

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