This morning we’re going to tackle a rather lengthly passage as we continue working our way through the book of 1 Samuel. There are 42 verses in 1 Samuel chapter 20, so I want to jump right into it, but first, let me help you get your bearings as to where we are in this story.
There are three main characters in this story today. First, there is King Saul – who is of course, the king of Israel. He has been repeatedly disobedient to God and so God has determined to give Saul’s kingdom to another man – a man who will do all that God wants him to do. And that man is David.
As it happens, David is Saul’s son-in-law and a commander in Saul’s army. He is still quite young, but has repeatedly proven himself to be not only a great warrior, but also a man of tremendous character and faith. As the Lord gives him success after success, all of Israel grows to love David! But as Israel grows to love David, Saul become increasingly jealousy and fearful of David. In fact, things have gotten so bad, that Saul has determined to kill David.
To date, Saul has attempted to pin David to the wall with his spear three times, he has plotted to have David killed by the Philistines at least twice, and he has recently called on his men (including his son Jonathan) to assassinate David!
But Jonathan (who is the third character in this story) is best friends with David! Even before David married Jonathan’s sister, Jonathan had sworn an oath and made a covenant with David – pledging his loyalty and friendship for the rest of his life! What’s more amazing is that, even though Jonathan is the oldest son of King Saul and is next in line to be king, Jonathan has acknowledged and fully supports that David will be the next king instead of him.
So all of this makes for some incredibly complicated relationships!
David is married to the king’s daughter, but the king wants him dead. The king’s son (David’s brother-in-law) has orders to kill David, but he has pledged an oath of loyalty to him. In the meantime, David has no idea why Saul is so determined to kill him and has remained by Saul’s side, faithfully serving him, despite repeated attempts by his father-in-law to run him through with a spear.
And you thought things were messed up in your family!
But all of this comes to a head in today’s chapter. The lines finally get drawn in the sand and everything comes out into the open. No more secret plots. No more charades. Everyone can finally see things for how they really are.
We are reading this morning in 1 Samuel chapter 20, starting at verse 1.
David now fled from Naioth in Ramah and found Jonathan. “What have I done?” he exclaimed. “What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?”
1 Samuel 20:1
Understandably, David is bewildered as to why Saul is so determined to kill him. He has been nothing but loyal to Saul and has served him faithfully and successfully ever since they first met when David was just a lad. What’s more, Saul had been the one to encourage David to marry his daughters and become his son-in-law. So it seems really bizarre to David that Saul is now so desperate to kill him!
And so he asks Jonathan – what terrible thing have I done to your father that he is so determined to kill me!? verse 2…