David must have felt a real sense of relief every time he was delivered, yet that cycle of events must have been very scary. Therefore, David left Samuel and went to Jonathan, his close friend. The Bible tells us that Jonathan loved David as his own soul (1 Sam. 18:1). Jonathan did not care whether or not he would become king. He was pure. He seemed happy that David would become king instead of him (23:16–17).
In chapter twenty, I believe the primary reason David went to Jonathan was to discover if Saul had any change of heart after prophesying under the Spirit’s power. If I had been Saul, I surely would have returned and reconsidered the whole thing. He should have realized that all his struggling against David was foolish. So many people struggle to make it to the top, to get the best grades, and the best paying career, but in the final analysis, they should learn that such struggles in the absence of God are vain.
David was winning victories for Israel, was very faithful to Saul, and had never done anything rebellious. Saul should have realized that it was up to God to chose who would be the next king, whether it be Jonathan, David, or someone else. Therefore, David went to Jonathan to see if his father had experienced such a change of heart.
Jonathan informed David that his father indeed seemed to have had such a change. Just to be sure, they agreed that David would not sit at the king’s table that night to see how Saul would react. When Saul discovered David’s absence, he was enraged. Jonathan let David know his father’s reaction and they said what must have felt like their final good-byes (1 Sam. 20:42).
Adapted from David: After God’s Heart, page 59.
Monday: “Helped by the Priests at Nob”