David and Jonathan
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Student's hear the story from someone who worked in the kings palace.
1 Samuel 18:1-12, 20:1-42
Proverbs 18:24 (CEV), “Some friends don't help, but a true friend is closer than your own family.”
Lesson Objectives: Students will:
- 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
- listen for actions that make a person a good friend, or not good
- learn that God worked through Jonathan’s friendship to help David
- consider whom God might work through to help them in times of need
- A copy of The Beginners Bible by Zondervan
- This script (or your notes or memory)
- A feather duster (or some other housecleaning prop)
- A CD or cassette with harp music
- A player for the music mentioned above
- Pencils/journals for each student
- Read the scripture ahead of time.
- Gather the materials.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Welcome all the students warmly as they arrive. When they have all gathered, ask, “Do any of you have a really good friend?” I hope that you do. Some of you maybe have several good friends. What are some things that friends are good for? (Allow children to respond. They will probably respond with things they like to do with their friends). Another thing that friends can do is to help us when we are afraid, or in trouble. When they do that, they’re helping God to help us! This month you’ll be/have been learning about some special friends from Bible times. There is boy named Jonathan and his best friend, David. Jonathan’s dad was the king of Israel—King Saul, and he invited David to live with his family in the palace after David was very brave in a battle with a giant named Goliath. Today in a little bit we’re going to hear that story from someone who worked in the palace. First, though, let’s begin with prayer.
“Holy God, we thank you for your love for us, and we thank you for good friends who help us in times of need. Be with us today as we learn more about friendship, and about your care for us. Let all of God’s people say…AMEN.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
“Our guest today is someone who worked in the king’s palace in ancient Israel. He/she is not named in the Bible, because he/she was always working in the background, and nobody noticed him/her. But he/she noticed what was going on in the palace, and has quite a story to tell us today. Our guest’s name is “Silent Sam/Sue”
“Silent Sam (or Sue)’s Story (Note: Please feel free to “play” with this script, and extemporize as you are comfortable and see fit. If you have been doing the opening, at this point leave the room and come in carrying and using a feather duster or broom or something to show have now become “Silent Sam”/”Silent Sue.” The script asks the children to notice examples of being friends and notes these examples in parentheses and bold type. The children may need help noticing or articulating these characteristics of friendship)
Good morning! Thank you, boys and girls, for that nice welcome. Well, I guess your teacher already told you that they called me, “Silent Sam.” Do you want to know how I got that nickname? I worked in the palace of King Saul, which was a very important place to work. I didn’t get hired to give him advice, though—I was on the cleaning crew. The palace was a very big building, and it seemed there was always cleaning to do. Like I said, I wasn’t hired to give advice to the King, so I kept my mouth shut. I said so little, that some started calling me, “Silent Sam.” I’ll tell you a secret, though. I learned that the less Isaid, the moreI learned. People would forget that I was even in the room, and they would say and do all kinds of things that maybe I wasn’t supposed to hear or see. I didn’t say a thing—but I kept my eyes and my ears open all the time. That’s how I learned about David and Prince Jonathan.
Say, I have an idea! Why don’t you give my secret a try. You can be “Silent Sam” this morning. When I tell my story, don’t say anything but listen very carefully.
When you hear me tell about something that is an example of someone being a GOOD FRIEND, raise your hand.
When you hear about someone doing something that is NOT FRIENDLY, wave your hands across your chest.
So when you hear about someone being a good friend you will do what? (raise hand) And when you hear about someone doing something NOT friendly what will you do? (wave hands across chest). Good.
My story begins after a young boy named David killed a giant Philistine soldier named Goliath. The Philistine army had been attacking our country off and on, so we knew that they were our enemies. One time they came with this great big huge soldier named Goliath. He dared any soldier from our army to fight him one-on-one instead of the whole armies fighting. All of our great soldiers were afraid of him, though. One day this young boy David came to bring food to his older brothers who were soldiers. He heard about the challenge and said that he would fight Goliath, and that God would help him win. No one believed him, and he was so small that the armor they gave him was too heavy for him to walk in! The giant laughed at David, coming after him like a little puppy dog. David, though, had been a shepherd boy and had needed to kill lions that threatened his sheep. So David took his slingshot, picked out a good stone, and it hit Goliath in the forehead, killing him. The Philistine army ran away.
The King, King Saul, was so thankful for David’s courage and for chasing away the Philistine army that he invited David to come and live with him and his family in the palace. This would be a big change for David. He came from a farm family, and was used to sleeping out in the field watching the sheep. Now he would live in a palace with the king!! It seemed kind of strange to me, that this ordinary boy would get to live in the King’s house, but I didn’t say a thing, because I’m Silent Sam. (Children might recognize Saul’s thank you and welcome into his house as an act of friendship).
At first, I think that David was kind of afraid and lonesome. Can you imagine how you might feel if the President of your country asked you to come and live with him in the White House? It would be a big honor, but a very big change. Don’t you think that you would miss your Mom and your Dad, and friends and the normal things that you liked to do?
It happened that King Saul had a son, our Prince Jonathan, who was close to David’s same age. Jonathan came to meet David, and to welcome him to the King’s house. For some reason, it seemed like the two of them hit it off right from the start. Jonathan could tell that David felt out of place in the palace with his shepherd’s clothing, so Jonathan took off his fancy robe and gave it to David, and gave him also his armor, and sword, and bow, and belt.
All of a sudden this shepherd boy was dressed in a very impressive way. It looked like he would be the next King of Israel! I was very surprised at Prince Jonathan’s generosity, but I didn’t say a word because I’m Silent Sam. (Children might recognize Jonathan’s warm welcome and his generous sharing of his things as signs of good friendship).
Those two boys, David and Prince Jonathan, grew up quickly before my eyes. They became the best of friends, and it seemed like they did everything together. They ran together. They hunted together. And, as they got older, they became soldiers together in King Saul’s army. (Children may recognize spending time together and sharing common interests as signs of friendship)
Life was not always good in the palace, however. King Saul had his problems. It would seem like everything was going along just fine, and then suddenly—without any reason, King Saul would get VERY ANGRY!! (Raise your voice to emphasize) He would yell at anybody or nobody, and even throw things. At those times I was glad that I was Silent Sam. He would forget I was around. I’d just pull back into the shadows and quietly do my work until he was in a better mood.
David and Prince Jonathan couldn’t always get away from his bad moods as easily as I could, though. In fact, David had a way of helping King Saul. David was a very good musician. He was especially good on the harp. Have any of you ever heard harp music before? I have a recording of some harp music that I’d like to play for you (play the tape/CD—you may wish to leave it on through the rest of the story as soft background music). You can tell that it is very soft, gentle, soothing music. Many times when King Saul would get in one of his violent moods, David would go and get his harp and play some beautiful music like this. After a while, Saul would settle down and be his normal self again. I was glad to have David helping King Saul in that way, because I was afraid of the King when he would get so upset. But I didn’t say anything, because of course I’m Silent Sam. (Children may recognize that David using his music to help calm the King was a sign of friendship—to Saul and to all in the palace!)
The music didn’t always help, though. Like I said, King Saul had his problems. Somehow he got it into his mind that David wanted to take his place as king. Now I told you that I have heard a lot that was going on in the palace that no one else heard, but I never, ever heard David say anything against King Saul or Prince Jonathan. Instead, he was always loyal, and trying to help the King and the King’s family. Saul didn’t believe this, though. One time when King Saul was in one of his bad moods and David was trying to calm him down by playing his harp, King Saul threw his spear at David! Fortunately, the King is not a very good spear-thrower, so it missed David but it stuck right into the wall! David ran away for a while. Prince Jonathan worked hard to convince King Saul about David’s loyalty, and to convince David to come back. (Children may recognize David’s loyalty as a mark of friendship and King Saul’s suspicion and spear-throwing as obvious bad ways to treat a friend!)
When it happened a second time that King Saul threw a spear at David, David knew that he could not live there any more. He ran away. Prince Jonathan came to him and tried to convince him that his father didn’t really want to kill David. He told David, “My father tells me everything he does, important or not, and he would not hide this from me. It just isn’t so that he wants to kill you.”
David told Jonathan, “He’s keeping his plans from you because he knows that you and I are such good friends, and that you will always protect me. Here’s a plan that I have. Tomorrow and the next day as you know, Jonathan, your dad the King is planning a big party. I’m supposed to be there, but I’m afraid that if I come I will be killed. He will notice that I’m missing. Tell him that you gave permission for me to go visit my family in Bethlehem. See how he reacts. If he takes the news calmly, then you must be right. He really doesn’t need me to have a good party. There’s no reason for him to get angry. If he does get angry, it will be because he missed a chance to get rid of me.” David and Jonathan worked out a secret signal so David could find out what happened.
What do you think happened, boys and girls? Well, I was at the banquet, helping the kitchen staff to serve. I was keeping quiet, as usual, so I heard everything. The first night nothing was said about David. When he was still gone the second day, though, King Saul asked Jonathan, “Where’s that friend of yours? Why didn’t he come to my party?” Jonathan replied, “Oh, I must have forgotten to tell you, father. He asked for permission to go back to visit his family at Bethlehem for a few days for his father’s birthday, and I gave my permission.”
I never saw King Saul get so angry at his own son. “I AM THE KING!” he shouted. “YOU HAD NO RIGHT TO GIVE DAVID PERMISSION TO BE GONE. YOU ARE TAKING HIS SIDE. YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO YOUR MOTHER AND ME. AS LONG AS DAVID IS ALIVE YOU WILL NEVER BECOME KING. DAVID MUST DIE!!”
Jonathan tried to stand up for his friend. He said, “Why, father? Why must he die? What has he ever done to you?” But then Saul picked up his spear and threw it at his own son! Like I said, it’s a good thing that Saul was never very good at spear throwing, because it missed again. Jonathan was convinced, though, that David was no longer safe near his father. As sad as it made him, Jonathan sent David a message that he must run away for his life. (Children may recognize Jonathan’s defense and warning of David as a sign of a good friend).
Saul tried to hunt down David, but he never did find him. God used Jonathan to protect David. When King Saul and Prince Jonathan died one day in battle, David became the new king—the best king Israel ever had. I was honored to work in his palace, too. And he was the one that gave me my nickname—say it with me—Silent Sam! Thank you for being “Silent Sams” today, and listening so well.
(As a review, read the story to the children from The Beginner’s Bible pp. 186-192, “Best Friends” through the first page of “King David"
- What were some ways that David and Jonathan showed themselves to be good friends? (Did things together, Jonathan welcomed David and shared his things, David used his music to bring peace, they were loyal to each other, Jonathan protected David)
- How was King Saul not a good friend?—Violent temper, suspicious, tried to kill David
- Friends are very special people, and we’ve learned some things today about ways to be a good friend.
- Usually friends are pretty close to our same age, but not always. When David felt that he was in danger, Jonathan helped to protect him. If you ever felt that you were in trouble or in danger, who would be some friends that you could tell that you know would help you? (teachers, police, pastor, other trusted adults like neighbors) These are special friends that God can work through to help you to stay safe.
- God is our very best friend, because God is always with us and loves us very much.
Copy this month’s memory verse into your journals. Then, draw a picture of one or more of your best friends and something that you do together as friends.
Dear God, we thank you for good friends. Help us to be good friends to others, helping them with their needs. We thank you for the ways that you help us through friends our age, and for trusting and caring adults. Let all of God’s children say…AMEN.
A lesson written by Pastor Ted from Augustana Lutheran Church
St. James, MN
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