Missiology Through Scripture – 1 Samuel 20:42

“Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’’ And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.” – 1 Samuel 20:42

Jonathan’s words to David served several purposes and conjured up numerous images. Foremost, we see the committed servant of the elect king submitting to the will of the future monarch. Jonathan, the son of king Saul, could have been the next king if played his cards right. However, he loved David and saw God’s will poured out in his dear friend. The influential servant showed submission to David, who was foreshadowing Jesus Christ.

Jonathan wished a blessing of peace on his beloved friend. He also showed, yet again, he wished the covenant between them would be forever upheld. Jonathan is prostrating himself to the servant of God. John Lange stated, “Jonathan’s parting word is: 1) a wish for peace or blessing, and 2) conjuring him that the covenant of friendship be forever maintained.”[1] David and Jonathan had previously sworn allegiance to each other (18:3, 20:8, 20:17). This was not a covenant which would be broken. Jonathan was restating a covenant with a man who would, from this point forward, be an exile. Until king Saul’s death, this is the final time David would in the city of Gibeah.

Disciples of Christ enter into covenant with Yahweh, not because it brings us riches, prestige, or power. Christians covenant with Christ knowing following our Savior may bring us persecution or death. We covenant with God to bring him glory, not to benefit ourselves in this life. Many obedient Christians risk friends, family, and even death by being obedient to Jesus.

Missionaries know they give away earning power, safety, and comfort by following their Lord. Obedience in following the chosen one is done because it is right, not because it is gainful. As Jonathan following David, a missionary who follows the calling of the Lord is a servant willing to sacrifice personal gain for the greater glory of the Master.


[1] John Peter Lange, Philip Schaff, et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 1 & 2 Samuel (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 268.