David & Jonathan's relationship as friends has usually been viewed as the good friendship which is suggested when you reading the following verses:

1 Samuel 18:1 (NASB)
"....the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself...."

1 Samuel 18:3-4 (NASB)
3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt.

1 Samuel 20:41-42 (NASB)
41 When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, but David wept the more. 42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my [q]descendants and your [r]descendants forever.’”

Side Note: Some people erroneously go on to suggest a homosexual, same-sex relationship, etc., because they are unusually too close for male friends which is Not really the subject of this posting.


However, Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church ( https://gatewaypeople.com/ ) based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas, USA seems to view the David & Jonathan relationship in a more Negative Light by explaining that Jonathan was manipulating David for selfish reasons ( please click on youtube link above to see sermon).

In the aforementioned Sermon, Pastor Morris says that King Saul hunts for David when David was running as a fugitive, and King Saul finds David 5 times, and 3 of those times, only one guy knew where David was located, and that was Jonathan which suggests/hints that Jonathan may have ratted out on David to King Saul.

Pastor Morris claims that Jonathan sort of manipulates David by flattery by saying the following:

1 Samuel 23:17 (NASB)
Thus he said to him, "Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel and I will be next to you; and Saul my father knows that also."

Also, he says that the relationship was really one-sided because Jonathan was trying to extract benefits like making David promise that he would Not harm Jonathan's lineal descendants:

1 Samuel 20:14-17 (NASB)

14 If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the Lord, that I may not die? 15 You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” 17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life.

Pastor Morris claims that Psalm 41 has references to David feeling that Jonathan betrayed him:

Psalm 41:9 (NASB)
Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.

I personally also came across the following verses that might suggest that David viewed Jonathan as being a turncoat:

Psalm 55:12-14 (NASB)

12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. 13 But it is you, a man [a]my equal, My companion and my [b]familiar friend; 14 We who had sweet [c]fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the throng.

Therefore, is the view that Jonathan was a manipulative person when it comes to his relationship with David a valid perspective? Are some other pastors/Christian bloggers/Christian authors mistaken when they uphold David's relationship with Jonathan as being a good & strong relationship?

  • 1
    I visited gatewaypeople.com and click on the latest sermon but was impatient to watch the whole thing from the beginning. It is an hour long. Can you tell me where about did the pastor mention Jonathan? – Tony Chan Aug 1 '20 at 15:12
  • at 21:03 mins you will find it here: youtu.be/VtW074wfF9o?t=1263 – crazyTech Aug 1 '20 at 15:16
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    The theology of Morris is so far off-track it is not worth wasting time over. There is not one scintilla of evidence to support his bizarre claims. He simply asserts several things without any scriptural support and bases his conclusions on what is unknown rather than what has been revealed. It is possible to arrive at any conclusion using this method!! – Dottard Aug 1 '20 at 22:04

1 Kings 19:2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them."

If Jonathan had been possessed by the spirit of Jezebel as claimed by Pastor Morris, he would have easily killed David like Joab killed Asahel in

2 Samuel 20:9 Joab said to Amasa, “How are you, my brother?” Then Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. 10Amasa was not on his guard against the dagger in Joab’s hand, and Joab plunged it into his belly, and his intestines spilled out on the ground. Without being stabbed again, Amasa died.

If David knew Jonathan had betrayed him as claimed by Morris in his interpretation of Psalm 41:9, David would not have needed to honor his agreement with Jonathan in

2 Samuel 21:7 The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the LORD between David and Jonathan son of Saul.

What Pastor Morris said in that video about Jonathan and David's relationship makes no intellectual sense to me.

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    Pastor Morris is surely off track. Thanks for the answer. +1 – Saro Fedele Aug 1 '20 at 18:33

Saul was appointed as King. By God, via the prophet Samuel representing God. David was a man after God’s own heart. Saul wanted David dead - But, despite being designated as the next King, David nevertheless ‘honoured’ those over Him - and wouldn’t ‘touch’ him, or try to ‘take’ rulership.

The relationship between David and Jonathan was actually a covenant, a blood covenant - hence the seeking of any living relatives, Mephibosheth. David had to seek any and all relatives so as to fulfil his covenant made with Jonathan.

This was an honourable relationship. Nothing negative about it. In fact it is a ‘shadow’ of our covenant with God. And that is totally one sided. We, through our own ‘merit’, didn’t deserve to be part of that covenant either.

The possible ‘one sided’ nature of David’s covenant with Jonathan, if any, should not be taken into account when accessing it’s ‘righteousness’.


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