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aware of David's being chosen of the Lord to be king of Israel at no very distant period. Whatever of success had attended his father's reign he attributes to the true source, and prays that David, when he comes to the throne, may be favored with the same divine guidance and protection. In the exercise of this power, Jonathan is anxious to secure for himself and his descendants the unwavering friendship of the new monarch, and proposes entering into a covenant with David to that effect. " Thou shalt not only," said he, "while yet I live, show me the kindness of the Lord, that I die not: But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from .my house for ever. No, not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.”
The covenant was made between the two friends; Jonathan adding to it an imprecation of the judgments of the Almighty upon himself and his descendants, if he, or any of them, should violate it by being found among the enemies of David. He required the latter, also, to repeat the solemn engagement under the sanction of an oath ; " because, we are told, "he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.” He felt for David so strong an attachment, and regarded their mutual friendship
so sacred, that he could not endure the thought of its suffering any interruption or
abatement, and would have it cemented afresh by the most solemn, religious obligations.
Jonathan was now ready to unfold his plan of procedure. He told David that his absence would undoubtedly be noticed, and requested him, on the third day to return quickly from Bethlehem, and hide himself in his former place of concealment, near a stone which he called Ezel, a word signifying that showeth the way." And," he continued, "I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark. And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the Lord liveth. But if I
say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the Lord hath sent thee away.” To this he added his earnest supplication, that the Lord would be the judge, to see whether the covenant entered into between David and himself would at any time be violated, either by themselves or their descendants, and, in such a case, render justice to the offenders.
Every thing was now ready for the two friends to carry their plan into execution. Jonathan returned to his residence, while David concealed himself in the field till a favorable opportunity should offer for his proceeding unobserved to Bethlehem. He cast himself once more upon the protection of the Almighty; while so far as human agency was concerned, he reposed an entire confidence in the fidelity of Jonathan.
How invaluable is a faithful friend, especially when the affection which thus binds one to us is attended with religious principle. Human friendships, alas! are too often, like all the other affairs of this world, uncertain and transitory. When they are formed between the sincere followers of Jesus, and from the desire of encouraging each other's hearts, and strengthening each other's hands, in the promotion of his cause, they resemble the communion of the re deemed in heaven. They are among the choicest blessings that God sheds down upon his chil. dren. They serve to inspire the noblest sentiments. They rouse to action the loftiest purposes of the soul. They call into exercise the purest affections. They keep from falling into decay the finest sensibilities. They cherish hope, and strengthen every wise and good resolution.
Be worthy of such friendships, my young friend; and when formed, be true to their sacrea observance ven unto death.
Saul, enraged at Jonathan, endeavors to kill him. Jonathan
lets David know the enmity of Saul towards him. David goes to Nob.
The next day came, the day of the new moon. The sacrifice had been offered up, and the royal household were assembling to partake of the customary feast. Jonathan approached it with in anxious and foreboding spirit, and occupying his accustomed seat waited the entrance of the king. At length he came. His son rose in token of respect, but soon resumed his place, Saul naving taken his; while Abner, the general of his armies, sat at his side. One seat was vacant. It was that of David. Every moment did his friend expect that the king would take notice of it, and give vent to his seelings. But nothing to this effect escaped from his lips the whole day. Saul, indeed, observed the absence of David, and thinking that some ceremonial uncleanness had kept him from the feast, expected his attendance on the morrow.
The morrow came. The feast was renewed, yet David was not there. Saul expressed his surprise at it. "Wherefore," said he, "cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday nor to-day ?"
Jonathan replied, that David had earnestly asked leave of him to go to Bethlehem ; adding, " he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there : and now if I have found favor in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king's table.”
The anger of Saul was kindled. It burst forth in the most opprobrious abuse of Jonathan. He disowned him ; stigmatising him as the son of a
perverse, rebellious woman,” from whom, as it were, he had inherited his treacherous disloyalty, and reproaching him with having chosen the son of Jesse as his friend, to his own disgrace, and that of his unworthy mother. "As long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground," he continued, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.”
Wherefore shall he be slain ?" inquired Jona
" What hath he done?" This but roused the rage of Saul the more. Conscious of the innocence of David, and of his own unjustifiable resentment towards him, he could not brook the implied reproof contained in the question, and sought to find in the latter, if he could not in David himself, the victim of his