Bible Lesson: David and His Friend Jonathan

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In this free Bible lesson, students will learn about Jonathan and David’s friendship.  They will learn that Jesus is the best friend a person can ever have.  The lesson was created for older elementary students but can be adapted for your needs.

Bible Story: David’s Friend
Scripture: 1 Samuel 18:1-16, 19:1-10,20
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
Image CreditsSweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

Supply List:  Bibles, activity pages, pens/pencils
Learning Goal:  Students will learn that a believer’s best friend is the the Lord Jesus Christ.
Learning Activity #1: What makes a good friend?  Using a board or poster paper draw an outline of a person and allow students to write phrases that describe a good friend.
Learning Activity #2:  Activity pages for students to work on while waiting for all to arrive.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse:  Psalm 119:63 “I am a friend to all who fear You, to all who follow Your precepts.”

Bible Lesson:  David’s Friend

(Begin with prayer)
Who is a believer’s friend?
Jesus is the mighty friend of sinners.
What makes a person a good friend? (Use the board or poster paper and write down students responses)
If you are a believer the best friend you will ever have is Jesus.  If you have good friends in this life they are gifts from God.
Let’s turn in our Bibles to 1 Samuel 18 and discover an example of true friendship.
In our last lesson we were introduced to a king after God’s own heart.  What was his name? (David)  How did God show His power through David? (David killed Goliath with a stone and a slingshot)
Read 18:1-4.  We see the words’ became one in spirit ‘(NIV). ”The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.(ESV) In our culture we might say that Jonathan and David had a kindred spirit.  (A person with the same beliefs, attitudes, and feelings as oneself.) What   aspects about David do you think Jonathan saw that were similar to his own life? (Allow responses.  Faith in God, warrior, etc.)

  •  Believers need to choose friends who share their faith in Jesus and desire to grow as a follower of Christ.  Psalm 119:63 “I am a friend to all who fear You, to all who follow Your precepts.”

When Jonathan made a covenant with David what did he give him? (His robe, sword, bow & belt) (Information on the exchanging of robes/weapons-
When David wore Jonathan’s robe he was identifying himself with Jonathan.  David took off his shepherd’s clothes and put on a prince’s robe.

  • Jesus the mighty friend of sinners offers all who believe in Him, His robe of righteousness.  Unlike Jonathan (he did not put on David’s shepherd clothes), Jesus put on our filthy rags (sin) when He was nailed on the cross. He was buried and rose again the third day.  All who put their faith in Jesus as Savior take off their filthy rags and put on His robe of righteousness.  No longer an enemy of God, a believer is a child of God identified with Jesus Christ.

(When Jonathan gave David his military accoutrements, it symbolized that as his covenant partner, Jonathan was now obligated to protect and defend David no matter the cost. In other words this ritual symbolized a clear commitment that each covenant partner would defend and avenge the other partner. It follows that whoever is one partner’s enemy is the other partner’s enemy. Conversely, the friend of one partner is also the friend of the other partner.
When Jonathan gave David his weapons it was symbolic that because of the covenant they made with each other, they were obligated to protect and defend each other, no matter what.  David’s enemies would be Jonathan’s enemies and Jonathan’s enemies would be David’s.

  • When a person enters into the New Covenant through faith in the Lord Jesus something similar takes place.  Whoever hurts a believer hurts Jesus.  Our enemies are His enemies and He fights for us.  Jesus has given His followers weapons to fight our enemies. (Ephesians 6:10-19)

Jonathan’s choice to be David’s friend revealed Godly character traits. Jonathan was a prince and would be the next king after his father Saul.  He selflessly became friends with David who had been anointed as the new king.
Read 1 Samuel 18:5.  How did David do whatever Saul asked him to do? (Successfully)  Who was pleased with David? (All the people and Saul’s officers)
One day when the soldiers were returning home after David killed Goliath women had gathered in the streets singing and dancing.  They sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
Read 1 Samuel 18:8-9 to see Saul’s response. How did Saul feel when he heard the song? (Angry, jealous)
The next day David was playing his harp for Saul.  Saul tried twice to pin David to the wall with his spear but David escaped both times. Saul’s was afraid of David because he knew God’s Spirit had left him and He was with David.
(1 Samuel 19) Saul continued to grow wicked.  His jealousy toward David had grown so much that he told Jonathan and his men to kill David.  Jonathan was loyal to his friend David and warned him about his father’s plan to kill him.
Jonathan went to his father and changed his mind about killing David by reminding him about what David did for Israel by killing Goliath.  Saul listened to his son and promised that he would not kill David.
Saul is not a man of his word and doesn’t keep his promises.  The next time David was playing his harp before him he tried to kill him again.  Once again David escaped Saul’s attempt to kill him.
In 1 Samuel 20 David has been hiding.  Let’s read 20:1-3.  David came up with an idea to see if Saul was still trying to kill him.  He would not go to eat at Saul’s New Moon feast.  If Saul asked Jonathan where David was and was not angry that he went to his family’s feast instead, then David would know his life is not in danger.  If Saul became angry then his life was not safe.
Jonathan and David came up with a secret signal to let David know how Saul reacted.  Let’s read 20:19-23.
Jonathan learned that Saul was still angry and wanted David put to death.  When Jonathan tried to reason with his father he was so angry with Jonathan for being friends with David that he threw a spear at him.
Jonathan was very sad because of his father’s intent to kill his friend.  He went to the place that he and David agreed upon.  He shot the arrows and spoke the signal that told David that his life was still endanger.
When David and Jonathan were alone they hugged each other and wept.  Let’s read verse 42. 
Jonathan and David had a true friendship that was bound by their faith in God.  No matter what happened they would always be friends.  God had given David a true friend in Jonathan.
Earlier I mentioned that true friends are a gift from God.  There may be times when you don’t feel like you have any friends.  If you have put your faith in Jesus to save you from your sins, you have a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). Even if you have good friends Jesus always needs to be your best friend.  Your friendship with Jesus grows as you daily walk with Him in prayer, Bible reading and obedience.
Who is a believer’s friend?  Jesus is the mighty friend of sinners.
Review Questions:

  1. Who became David’s friend? (Jonathan)
  2. What did Jonathan give David when he made a covenant with him? (Robe, sword, bow, belt)
  3. How was what Jonathan gave David similar to what Jesus gives to those who believe in Him? (Jesus gives believers His robe of righteousness)
  4. Why was Saul angry with David? (He was jealous of David because the Lord was with him)
  5. How did Jonathan protect David from being killed by his father? (He went and found out if his father was still angry and came back and gave David the signal that it was not safe for him to return)
  6. Who is the best friend a person could have? (Jesus)

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