David and Jonathan
Workshops in this lesson set :
- Computers: tell the story with a PowerPoint
- Drama: Enact a purchased script of a TV talk show where people talk about their personal lives
- Games: Play a Jeopardy-type game
- Movies: Watch Children’s Heroes of the Bible: The Story of David from Vision Video
- Science: Science experiments to illustrate the bond of friendship through molecule bonds
- Storytelling: hear the story of David and Jonathan’s friendship from the perspective of a “silent” observer at the palace—a member of the housekeeping staff
I Samuel 17:57-20:42;
Core of the story is I Samuel 17:57-18:16, 19:9-12, and 20:1-42
For supplemental information:
I Samuel 13:1-3—Jonathan’s victory
I Samuel 23:15-18—David and Jonathan’s last meeting
I Samuel 31 and II Samuel 1—The death of Saul & Jonathan
“Some friends don’t help, but a true friend
is closer than your own family.” Proverbs 18:24 (CEV)
What's going on here?
David, the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, comes to the attention of King Saul when David, with a slingshot, kills the mighty Philistine giant Goliath (I Samuel 7:55-59). David is brought into the king’s household, and entertains the king with his music—especially on the harp. David develops a very close friendship with King Saul’s eldest son, Jonathan. Sadly, King Saul seemed to be mentally unstable. Saul became suspicious of David, resenting David’s successes, his popularity with the people, and his friendship with Jonathan. Ultimately, he decided to kill David. Jonathan got put in the middle between obedience to his father, and devotion to his dear friend.
This story reaches its climax the second time that David runs away from Saul in order to protect his own life (I Samuel 19:9-12). He contacts Jonathan for advice, and together they devise a plan to determine if Saul really intends to kill David, or not. They also come up with a signal for Jonathan to relay the information to David. At a banquet for the New Moon Festival, Saul was very explicit about his intentions to kill David (20:30-34). Jonathan gave his friend the agreed-upon signal that he must run for his life, and they say good-bye to one another.
Why is this story important?
First of all, this story is one of the most powerful stories in the Bible about human friendship—a good way to begin our theme this year, “Best Friends/Blessed Friends.” These two young men remained faithful to each other, seeking each other’s best interests.
Secondly, this story shows two young men acting with integrity and faith in God in what is a terribly unjust situation. David had always been loyal to King Saul, despite the king’s distrust of him. Jonathan also was faithful to David, even though as the eldest son of the King it would have been in his interests to dispose of anyone seen as a threat to the throne. He helped David escape, but then returned to faithful service to his father, until they died together in battle.
Finally, this story is important because David went on to become the greatest king in Israel’s history. The New Testament sees his kingship as a precursor to Christ’s eternal reign. This story gives us some background about David. We also later see David’s integrity and faithfulness to Jonathan’s memory as he protects and provides for Jonathan’s disabled son, Mephibosheth (see II Samuel 4:4 and II Samuel 9:1-13).
A lesson set from Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, MN
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