1 Samuel 14:1-7; 2 Samuel 9:1-10

Today, I bring you two tales of loyalty from 1 and 2 Samuel.  The first is new to me; the second very familiar.

In the first passage above, King Saul has amassed his armies and is about to engage in battle with the Philistines.  His son, Jonathan is evidently itching for a fight.  I interpret the phrase, “but he didn’t tell his father” to indicate he is taking action on his own.

Essentially, he says to his aide, “Hey let’s go over there and stir things up.” To which his aide responds, “Let’s do it!  I’m with ya brother.”  Jonathan is suggesting that they go poke this garrison, just the two of them, and with no hint of reservation, his aide says, “I’m with you.”

Now, those of you that served in the military are thinking a) it’s not the aide’s place to offer an alternative and b) it’s his duty, so he has to go.  However, I don’t read that here.  The armor bearer is enthusiastic, Gung Ho even.  He trusts Jonathan with his life.  That is a pretty good definition of loyalty in my book.

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Now, jump forward a few chapters with me into 2 Samuel for the second tale.  This is one of my absolute favorites. Here we find King David, Saul’s successor, extending grace and kindness to Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth.

Let’s review.  In 1 Samuel 20, Jonathan and David – best of friends – part company because Jonathan’s father has sworn to kill David. In their parting, Jonathan and David swear allegiance not only to each other but, “between my offspring and your offspring, forever.”  By the time we get to today’s 2 Samuel scripture, Mephibosheth is the sole living heir of Jonathan.

Wouldn’t you think David has more than he can think about just getting his kingdom up and running and fighting off invading armies that hope to take advantage of his inexperience?  Surely, David has little time to remember his commitment to Jonathan right then. And as additional context, it was the custom of the day to eliminate all the direct family of the past king in order to ensure that none of them assembled a band of men to reclaim the throne.  It is in that environment that David seeks out Mephibosheth (for a more detailed exploration of Mephibosheth, see my previous post).  Loyalty indeed!

Inspired by great acts of loyalty,

Robert