King Saul’s oldest son, Jonathan, was a brave warrior. David said that Jonathan was faster than an eagle and stronger than a lion. One day Jonathan saw 20 Philistine soldiers on a hill. He said to his armor-bearer: ‘We will attack them only if Jehovah gives us a sign. If the Philistines tell us to come up, then we know to attack.’ The Philistines shouted: ‘Come up and fight!’ So the two men climbed up the hill and conquered the soldiers.
Because he was Saul’s oldest son, Jonathan would have been next in line to be king. But Jonathan knew that Jehovah had chosen David to be the next king of Israel; yet, he was not jealous. Jonathan and David became close friends. They promised to protect and defend each other. Jonathan gave David his own coat, sword, bow, and belt as a sign of friendship.
When David was running away from Saul, Jonathan went to him and said: ‘Be strong, and have courage. Jehovah has chosen you to be king. Even my father knows that.’ Would you like to have a good friend like Jonathan?
More than once, Jonathan risked his life to help his friend. He knew that King Saul wanted to kill David, so he said to his father: ‘It would be a sin for you to kill David; he has done nothing wrong.’ Saul was furious with Jonathan. Some years later, Saul and Jonathan died together in battle.
After Jonathan died, David searched for Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth. When David found him, he told Mephibosheth: ‘Because your father was a good friend to me, I will take care of you for the rest of your life. You will live in my palace and eat at my table.’ David never forgot his friend Jonathan.
“Love one another just as I have loved you. No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his life in behalf of his friends.”—John 15:12, 13