v 3 Then David took an oath before Jonathan and said, “Your father knows perfectly well about our friendship, so he has said to himself, ‘I won’t tell Jonathan—why should I hurt him?’ But I swear to you that I am only a step away from death! I swear it by the Lord and by your own soul!” “Tell me what I can do to help you,” Jonathan exclaimed.
This is no exaggeration by David! He had already narrowly escaped with this life and knew that Saul’s rage could boil over at the slightest provocation. We read in 1 Samuel 18:10-11 ‘The very next day a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman. David was playing the harp, as he did each day. But Saul had a spear in his hand, and he suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David escaped him twice.
This violent rage, combined with his awareness that David was edging towards the throne, made David feel very vulnerable. It was only now that Jonathan grasped this ugly reality and expressed his willingness to help David get through it. What a terrible choice Jonathan faced; loyalty to his friend David or willingness to stand by and support his father.
As the story unfolds, we find Jonathan continuing to stand by his father and support him in battle, and yet remain faithful to his friend David. Lasting friendship can sometimes present us with dilemmas of this kind that need God’s wisdom to help us to navigate through them.