In our study of the life of Jonathan in the Old Testament book of 1st Samuel we identified a title: Living for God while facing conflicting loyalties. Under this we listed the following points: 1. As a man. 2. As a son. 3. As a friend. Then we amplified the first point.
Now let’s amplify point 2: Living for God as a son.
His father was from a prominent Benjamite family and was chosen as Israel’s first king. After a good start he soon slipped into compromise and then outright sin.
Jonathan seemed to possess the positive characteristics seen in his father, but he had the maturity and commitment to stay true to his father even when his father didn’t deserve it. His life is an example of how to honor your father even though he doesn’t deserve it.
His father appointed him as a commander when he was still quite young and he fulfilled his responsibilities with courage and a charismatic flair. He didn’t follow his father blindly. In fact he declared a decision his father made as foolish. When his father was paranoid about the threat David was to his throne and his son’s future, Jonathan persuaded him to accept David as a loyal subject and supporter.
This didn’t last long, however. Jonathan confronted his father a second time, and when his father angrily attacked him he was enraged, fled and fasted, “because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David” (1st Samuel 20:34). In spite of his vehement disapproval of his father’s actions he nevertheless continued to be loyal to his father and family even to the point of dying with them on the battle field.