1 Samuel 18 shows us the importance of relationships and how these affect us in our everyday lives. We see two very different relationships in this chapter: the loyalty and selflessness of true friendship in how Jonathan (son of the king, Saul) deals with David, and the envy and jealousy of his father towards David which corrodes his relationship with his servant and leads him to attempt to kill him.

Friendship is a precious gift of God, and the friendship between Jonathan and David was very special. (1 Sam 18:1-5) Jonathan, far from being jealous of God’s anointing on David’s life and His decision to make David king after Saul, pledges his allegiance to David and gives him his robe, tunic, sword, bow and belt. His loyalty was to be tested over the next few years, but he remained faithful and true, giving us an example of how to love one’s neighbour as oneself (see Leviticus 19:18Matthew 19:19; 22:39Mark 12:31Romans 13:9Galatians 5:14James 2:8).

Saul, on the other hand, shows us how envy and jealousy can grow from the least little comment, and how this can spill over into violent and irrational behaviour. The root cause of Saul’s growing antipathy to David lay in his fear and insecurity that God had left him and was now blessing David instead. He recognised God’s anointing on David and feared for his reign. Instead of coming to God in repentance for his sins, he projected all the blame onto David and tried to manipulate situations to get him killed. God’s hand on David meant that did not succeed, and so Saul’s fear and animosity grew.

The relationships outlined in this chapter were to take up years of David’s life and we see how important it is to choose God’s ways over our own. Relationships are at the heart of human life; they influence our attitudes and actions more than we perhaps realise. There is always the need for personal responsibility in our relationships; we need to choose God’s ways if we are to rest in His blessing and anointing.