Most men are hesitant to show affection. While most don’t mind a little PDA with their wives, and they don’t mind snuggling their little ones, they will often shy away from showing love to one another, or even to strangers.
This is one reason why the description of Jonathan’s and David’s love for one another has made many men uncomfortable. Some have even claimed there was a homosexual affection between the two, but this is unsubstantiated. Listen to these expressions of their love:
1 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul” (1 Samuel 18.1-3).
1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David” (1 Samuel 19.1).
17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul” (1 Samuel 20.17).
Listen to those expressions of love. Jonathan, King Saul’s son, made himself best friends with his father’s enemy David. Even though this should have put a strain on their relationship, the Bible says their souls were knit together. Jonathan loved David as much as he loved his own soul. Jonathan delighted in David. There was no hesitation between those two as they built their friendship. There was no lack of trust. There were no barriers between the two. They loved one another. They loved each other as two men should love one another.
David even expresses his love for Jonathan is similar words:
25 “How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! “Jonathan lies slain on your high places. 26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women” (2 Samuel 1.25-26).
David recognizes that his friendship was such a treasure, that it was better than the relationship he could even have with a woman, which is often the pinnacle of man’s relationships with others. David desired his friendship with Jonathan even more than he desired a relationship with a woman.
This is true friendship. Yet, here is what astonishes me about this relationship. The descriptions of their relationship are mirrored in the Second Great Commandment—”You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is an expression similar to Jonathan’s expressions of love for David. God is telling us that as remarkable as the relationship is between David and Jonathan, our relationships with our neighbors should be just as strong and dependable. We are to love them, delight in them, be knit together with them, and desire their friendship and camaraderie. While we often find their relationship remarkable, we should find it typical of the relationships we build with others.
The only way to do this is to establish our relationships with others based on our God who is love. We must give them to Gospel, let them be like us in their pursuit of God, and be bonded together by the blood of Jesus. We must be united based on truth. Then we can truly be “knit together “ because we will be one people.