“The Lord Be Between Thee and Me For
Jonathan and David make a covenant of friendship. Saul becomes jealous
of David and tries to kill him.
Saul fails in three more attempts to take David's life.
David and Jonathan renew their covenant of friendship, and Jonathan saves
Saul is consumed by hatred for David. David spares Saul's life.
A study of this lesson will encourage us to be true to their friends, as
Jonathan and David were, and avoid being consumed by jealousy and hatred, as
Scripture references for study: 1 Samuel
18–20; 1 Samuel 23–24
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 23 Handout (PDF
Jonathan & David - 1 Samuel 18:1-16
After David killed Goliath, he was taken before Saul.
"AND it came to pass, when he had made an end
of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul
of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (v1).
Saul honored David by bringing him into his home and setting him up as
head of the army (1 Samuel
1 SAMUEL 18:6-9. Saul displeased with the
acclaim David received.
WHO WAS JONATHAN?
The eldest son of Saul. Normally the oldest son would be heir to
First mentioned after the ascension of Saul to the throne. Probably
about thirty years of age at this time.
Saul retained David and would not let him return to his
father's house (v2). It must have been during this time, that David spent
in the home of Saul and developed a friendship with Jonathan.
Jonathan and David made a covenant of friendship because of their love
for each other (v3).
"And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that
was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword,
and to his bow, and to his girdle" (v4).
We find in these verses an interesting contrast in the way that Saul and
Jonathan reacted to David.
"And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil
spirit from God came upon Saul" (v10).
The Joseph Smith Translation corrects this verse, "And
it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit which was not of God
came upon Saul."
Saul was jealous of David and attempted to take his life.
"And David avoided out of his presence twice"
"And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD
was with him" (v12).
"Wherefore when Saul saw that he [David] behaved
himself very wisely, he was afraid of him" (v15).
MIGHT THERE HAVE BEEN CAUSE FOR JONATHAN TO BE JEALOUS OF DAVID?
Saul had brought David into their household.
David was made captain over the armies of Saul.
David had been anointed king, a position that Jonathan would normally assume
upon his father's death.
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT JONATHAN WAS NOT JEALOUS OF DAVID?
Jonathan and David were true friends. Jonathan must have been a man
who was pure in heart. Rather than display jealousy, he rejoiced in
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "When we are struggling
to learn to love, we can have faith in God's developmental plans for others
as well as for ourselves. Then we do not feel threatened by those who are
our superiors or who are becoming such. The more unselfish we are, the
more able we are to find joy in their successes, all the while rejoicing
without comparing. In any case, our only valid spiritual competition is
with our old selves, not with each other. True love and friendship enable
us to keep that perspective. The things about other people that truly matter
are their qualities such as love, mercy, justice, and patience, and their
service to others." (Not My Will, But Thine, p70)
WHAT WAS SAUL'S PROBLEM?
WHY IS IT SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO BE HAPPY ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF OTHERS?
When one becomes focused on oneself, rather than others this can become
a problem. Saul was more concerned with his status among the people
rather than the success of a righteous young man. How different things
would have been had Saul continued to rejoice in the success of David.
HOW DO JEALOUSY AND PRIDE AFFECT OUR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING?
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "For us to jettison
our jealousies is to stop yet another form of waste, for we cannot go where
He is if we worry rather than rejoice over who else will be there. Jousting
for position among peers and friends is to waste what could better be used
in the battle against the enemy of evil." (Wherefore, Ye Must
Press Forward, p94)
President Ezra Taft Benson: "When pride
has a hold our hearts, we lose our independence of the world and deliver
our freedoms to the bondage of men's judgment. The world shouts louder
than the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. The reasoning of men overrides
the revelations of God, and the proud let go of the iron rod."
(Ensign, May 1989, p5)
Saul Fails In His Attempts To Take David's Life - 1
"And Saul said to David, Behold my elder daughter
Merab, her will I give thee to wife: only be thou valiant for me, and fight
the LORD'S battles" (18:17).
Saul's daughter Merab was given to another, but his daughter Michal loved
WHY WOULD SAUL, WHO HAD BEEN JEALOUS TO THE POINT OF MURDER, OFFER ONE
OF HIS DAUGHTERS TO DAVID AS A WIFE?
"For Saul said, Let not mine hand be upon him,
but let the hand of the Philistines be upon him" (18:17).
He offered his daughter as an incentive for David to take up the fight
with the Philistines in hopes that David might be killed in battle.
Saul spoke to Jonathan and all his servants to conspire against David's
Saul then determined to use Michal to lure David into fighting the Philistines
David took Saul up on his offer, took some of his men and slew 200 of the
Philistines and returned with the required evidence. Saul was then
obligated to give Michal to David as wife (18:27).
"And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with
David, and that Michal Saul's daughter loved him. And Saul was yet the
more afraid of David; and Saul became David's enemy continually"
One again David went to war with the Philistines and returned with great
JONATHAN WAS A FRIEND TO DAVID. WHAT PART DID HE NOW TAKE IN THIS
He reported the conspiracy to David. Jonathan told David to keep
a low profile and he would go out and speak with his father (18:2-3).
Jonathan kept his word and went out and spoke with his father. He
talked Saul out of murdering David.
"And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan:
and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain" (18:6).
Jonathan was faced with an interesting dilemma of loyalty. Did he
side with his father or with his friend? Most importantly, I think
he chose to be loyal to the side of right. By choosing to be loyal
to correct principles he honored his father and was true to his friend
While David sat in Saul's house, Saul attempted to smite him with a javelin. David fled before Saul was successful (18:9-10).
Saul then sent men to David's house to watch for him that he might be slain. David's wife, Michal, assisted David in escaping and then set up a decoy
in David's bed to deceive Saul (18:11-18).
The story of Saul and David provides an interesting window into what pride
and jealousy can do to a person if it remains unchecked.
David & Jonathan Renew Their Covenant of Friendship
- 1 Samuel 20
David fled from Naioth and came to Jonathan. David asked Jonathan
what he had done to incur the wrath of Saul (v1). David told Jonathan
that "there is but a step between me and death"
Jonathan told David that his father would not do anything to him without informing
Jonathan in a spirit of friendship and love for David said, "Whatsoever
thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee" (v4).
Jonathan and David renewed their covenant of friendship.
"So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of
David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies.
And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he
loved him as he loved his own soul" (v16-17).
WHAT POWERFUL INFLUENCE AFFECTED THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THESE TWO MEN?
1 SAMUEL 20:23.
Faith in the Lord was a bonding element in this relationship. It
took a good relationship and raised it to a higher level.
One thinks of the Lord and his apostles. It was their love of God
that raised their friendship to one of absolute dedication.
HOW DOES OUR LOVE FOR THE LORD AND OUR FAITH IN HIM INFLUENCE OUR RELATIONSHIPS
It often serves as a type of lubricant. When difficult circumstances
develop, our love for the Lord guides us to a higher road, rather the overreacting
During my teenage years I hung around with several LDS friends. We
were not always perfect, but we had common goals. We each desired
to serve a mission, marry in the temple, and remain actively involved in
the gospel. Those friends were a powerful influence in my life. It was our common faith in the Lord that helped us help each other during
those formative years. The majority of us served on missions and
almost all of us remain active in the Church. Friendship was the
most powerful influence in my life during those years and thank goodness
that friendship was guided by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
IF WE PLACE LOYALTY TO GOD FIRST IN OUR LIVES, WHAT WILL WE DO IF OUR FRIENDS
OR ASSOCIATES DO THINGS THAT ARE WRONG? WHAT WILL WE DO IF OUR FRIENDS
ASK US TO DO THINGS THAT ARE WRONG?
1 SAMUEL 20:30-33. Saul reacts to Jonathan's
defense of David.
- It must have been difficult for Jonathan to oppose his own father and
yet he made the choice of choosing right.
Saul Is Consumed By Hatred For David - 1 Samuel 23-24
After inquiring of the Lord, David went to the town of Keilah to fight
against the Philistines.
1 SAMUEL 23:7-10. Saul to pursue David at Keilah.
David "smote them with a great slaughter"
and saved the inhabitants of Keilah (23:1-5).
WHAT CHANGED SAUL FROM A RIGHTEOUS KING TO SOMEONE WHO WAS WILLING TO DESTROY
AN ENTIRE CITY IN PURSUIT OF DAVID?
Saul was so beset with jealousy and hatred for David, that he was willing
to destroy one of the cities of Judah in pursuit.
WHY ARE JEALOUSY AND HATRED SO CONSUMING?
President Joseph Fielding Smith: "Our misery,
poverty and jealousy come because of selfishness and greed and in the failure
to heed the word of the Lord." (Church History and Modern Revelation,
As you recall, prior to going up against the Philistines, Saul had grown
impatient with Samuel and had taken it upon himself to make the burnt offering
(1 Samuel 13:9). At a later time when Saul went up to battle against
the Amalekites, he did not obey the Lord when he allowed the king to live
and spared the best of the livestock.
By committing these sins, Saul had put himself on a path that put himself
in opposition to David and the will of the Lord. When we are disobedient
to the Lord, unless we repent, we put ourselves on a dangerous road. Saul
is a perfect example.
Consider the case of William E. McLellin, a member of the Quorum of the
Twelve when it was first organized in 1835. Pride got the best of
him and set him on path not so different from that of Saul.
"On Friday, May 11, 1838, he came before a Bishop's
court, in Far West, Mo., where he said he had no confidence in the presidency
of the Church; consequently, he had quit praying and keeping the commandments
of the Lord, and indulged himself in his sinful lusts." (LDS
Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:82)
He took an active part with the mob during the Missouri atrocities.
While Joseph was in prison, with others, he robbed the Prophet's home and
stable of considerable property (LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:83).
While Joseph and some of the others were imprisoned at Richmond, Missouri,
McLellin went to the sheriff and asked for the privilege of flogging the
Prophet (HC 3:215).
HOW CAN WE RID OURSELVES OF JEALOUSY AND HATRED?
When we commit sin and fail to repent, we lose the companionship of the
spirit. When that happens, we allow unsavory influences to direct
our life. The spirit is no longer present to warn us of a tendency
towards jealousy and hatred. As we have seen in the story of Saul,
it consumes one's life. The story of Cain and Abel is another good
example. Cain lost his eternal soul due to his jealousy and hatred.
President John Taylor: "...if we allow covetousness,
pride, envy, jealousy, hatred, malice, lasciviousness, drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking,
or any other influence to corrupt and lead us astray from the light of
truth and the sweet consoling influences of the Spirit of God, we shall
get into darkness, and then, as I said before, if the light that is within
us becomes darkness, how great is that darkness!" (JD, 26:133)
President George Q. Cannon: "Whence is it
that anger comes? You will see a man all at once seized with a spirit of
anger; another time you will see a person seized with a spirit of jealousy,
or some other evil influence, infuriated sometimes, so much so that he
or she is transformed. You have seen people's faces completely changed
by the spirit that takes possession of them. They cannot see that power;
but it is undoubtedly a spiritual entity. We may not be conscious of it,
but it takes possession of us if we yield to it." (Collected
Discourses, Vol 4, August 26, 1894)
When David learned that Saul was pursuing him, he took his men and departed
from the city of Keilah.
President David O. McKay: "...jealousy,
hatred, envy, animosity—all such evils you must overcome by suppression.
That is where your control comes in. Suppress that anger! Suppress that
jealousy, that envy! They are all injurious to the spirit anyhow."
(Gospel Ideals, p356)
President David O. McKay: "As men of the
priesthood, as women of the Church, [we have the responsibility] to make
our homes such as will radiate to our neighbors harmony, love, community
duties, loyalty. Let our neighbors see it and hear it. Never must there
be expressed in a Latter-day Saint home an oath, a condemnatory term, an
expression of anger or jealousy or hatred. Control it. Do not express it.
You do what you can to produce peace and harmony, no matter what you may
suffer." (CR, Apr 1963)
President George Q. Cannon: "The Lord our
God has sent us here to get experience in these things so that we may know
the good from the evil and be able to close our hearts against the evil….
It is true that some have greater power of resistance than others, but
everyone has the power to close his heart against doubt, against darkness,
against unbelief, against depression, against anger, against hatred, against
jealousy, against malice, against envy. God has given this power unto all
of us, and we can gain still greater power by calling upon Him for that
which we lack. If it were not so, how could we be condemned for giving
way to wrong influences?" (Gospel Truth, 1:19)
George W. McCune (one time president of the Eastern States Mission):
"Let us seek earnestly to be truly humble, have
a desire to have our souls fed. If we do this, I know that the Lord will
bless us. When we are in this attitude, there is no room in our hearts
for hatred or for jealousy or anything of that kind; there is true love
in our hearts. And when we get true love in our hearts we are being fed
with the bread of life." (CR, Oct 1919)
The opportunity arose for David to slay Saul, but he did not. WHY?
"And David abode in the wilderness in strong holds,
and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him
every day, but God delivered him not into his hand" (23:14).
"And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David
into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God" (23:16).
What an amazing contrast between father and son. Saul is consumed
with his hatred for David. Jonathan comes to David and strengthens
"his hand in God." One has driven the spirit from his life and the
other lives by the spirit and blesses his friend.
1 SAMUEL 24:17-19. Saul's response to David.
1 SAMUEL 24:10-12.
David certainly had cause to defend himself against this man who was consumed
with killing him, but he said, "The LORD therefore
be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and
deliver me out of thine hand" (24:15).
WHAT DOES DAVID'S EXAMPLE TEACH US ABOUT REVENGE AND ABOUT RESPONDING TO
THOSE WHO DO EVIL TO US?
President Spencer W. Kimball: "The spirit of revenge, of
retaliation, of bearing a grudge, is entirely foreign to the gospel of the
gentle, forgiving Jesus Christ." (Teachings of Spencer
W. Kimball, p105)
President Joseph F. Smith: "We carry to
the world the olive branch of peace. We present to the world the law of
God, the word of the Lord, the truth, as it has been revealed in the latter
day for the redemption of the dead and for the salvation of the living.
We bear no malice nor evil toward the children of men. The spirit of forgiveness
pervades the hearts of the Saints of God, and they do not cherish a desire
or feeling of revenge toward their enemies or those who hurt or molest
them or seek to make them afraid; but on the contrary, the Spirit of the
Lord has possession of their spirits, of their souls, and of their thoughts;
they forgive all men, and they carry no malice in their hearts toward any,
no matter what they have done. They say in their hearts, let God judge
between us and our enemies, and as for us, we forgive them, and we bear
no malice toward any." (Gospel Doctrine, p74)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- Through the stories contained in this lesson we observe the amazing
contrast between Saul and Jonathan. Jonathan saw the good in David
and became a loyal, loving friend. He was willing to stand on the
side of right and oppose his wicked father. No person could ask for
a better friend than Jonathan. Saul had allowed sin to enter his
life and felt threatened by the rise of David. Rather than befriend
this noble man, Saul became consumed with jealousy, envy, and hatred. He pursued David's life. He was a man who lost control. As Jonathan learned, David was not an enemy. Saul destroyed
his own life by treating David as an enemy instead of a friend. We
should follow the example of Jonathan and let the actions of Saul serve as
a solemn warning.
- Record your thoughts on the relationship between David and Jonathan. How
did it differ from David's relationship with Saul? What principles from this
lesson can you incorporate in your life as you establish and maintain
relationships with others?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Church History and Modern Revelation, Volume 1, by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Conference Reports (CR).
Gospel Doctrine by Joseph F. Smith.
Gospel Ideals by David O. McKay.
Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of George Q.
History of the Church (HC).
Journal of Discourses (JD).
LDS Biographical Encyclopedia by Andrew Jenson.
Not My Will, But Thine by Neal A. Maxwell.
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball.
Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward by Neal A. Maxwell.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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