6/28/2015 9:58:26 PM
A reflection on 2 Samuel 1: David and Jonathan's Death
Last week we saw David defeat Goliath when Saul's army cannot. This is how we're introduced to Saul and David's relationship. And now, this week, we skip over much of the story and learn that Saul and Jonathan (Saul's son and David's best friend) are dead. David and Saul had a complicated (to put it lightly) relationship but David and Jonathan were different. They were best friends. Their friendship is one of the few times when scripture talks about what friendship is all about. Jonathan, as Saul's Son, and David, as Saul's enemy, were in a complex web of politics and situations. Yet their friendship glows throughout the story. They truly love each other. But now, Jonathan is gone. David, his heart broken, sings a true lament. He doesn't pray for help or ask God to change the situation. Nothing can change that Jonathan has died. All that remains is pain. So David can do nothing else but sing one of the most lyrical and poetic songs in the Old Testament.
This is one of those pieces of scripture that we shouldn't try to explain away. We can sometimes try to put this song into its proper place inside the plot. We want to know what happened before and what happens next. We skim over David's song because we are busy getting to the next thing. But whenever there is poetry in Scripture, that's an opportunity for us to stop. Instead of rushing through the words, we're invited to hold these words close to us and sit with what God is showing us. Poetry and songs can reach us in ways that stories can't. We shouldn't rush through the poetry to get to the other side.
So, I invite you this week, to re-read this piece of scripture and just hold it. David experienced God's glory and presence in the person of Jonathan. This is what friendship can be in God's creation. How are we experiencing God's glory in our relationships and how can we reflect that glory so that all who know us see God too?