“And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle” (1 Sam. 18:1-7).

What would cause Jonathan, the king’s son and natural heir to the throne of Israel, to strip himself of his robe, his sword, his bow and girdle and give it to someone far younger than he?  Jonathan’s spiritual clothing of faith and humility caused him to give away his physical clothing and his right to the throne of Israel.  Jonathan’s physical clothing was that of the king’s son and giving his royal clothing and kingly possessions to David showed his great love for a youth who was “a man after mine (God’s) own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22).

From the account of the defilement of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13:18, we know that daughters of kings were generally dressed in special apparel.   “And she had a garment of divers colours upon her: for with such robes were the king’s daughters that were virgins appareled.”  Even today, the only rulers who dress in special garments are kings and queens.  Jonathan, the son of Saul, wore robes that distinguished him from others in the land, but he was willing to give these to David when he understood that God ordained David to succeed his father.  There is never even the slightest hint that Jonathan was envious of David in anything.  Jonathan had everything to lose from David’s replacing his father, but he seems to have understood and accepted from the beginning that David was God’s elect.

We see Jonathan’s spiritual clothing of faith and humility when we see his actions toward David and consider the age difference between them.  Jonathan was not a young boy when he and David became friends.  We know that Jonathan was a grown man and a seasoned warrior within two years after his father (Saul) came to the throne.  “Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear” (1 Sam. 13:1-3).

The Scriptures describe David as being quite young when he came to live with Saul.  He is referred to as both a youth and a stripling.  Even after Saul and Jonathan are dead, 2 Samuel 5:4 tells us, “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.”  Jonathan loved David and believed that God had given David the kingdom.  “And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth” (1 Sam. 23:17).  Because of his faith in God, Jonathan was willing to show the world that he acknowledged God’s choice of a ruler to succeed his father.

When we consider the faith and humility of Jonathan, we can understand why he stripped himself of his kingly clothing and gave it all to David.   It was both to acknowledge God’s ordination of David as king of Israel, and because his great faith and humility before God.  Jonathan was clothed with humility like we are commanded to be, while his father was clothed with pride and self-will.


  1. RESEARCH QUESTION: How can we know that David and Jonathan were not both youths (approximately the same age) when David slew Goliath?
  2. Did the king’s daughters wear clothing like all the other girls in Israel?
  3. If the king’s daughters wore special clothing, what kind of clothing would the king’s sons wear?
  4. After David slew Goliath, what did Jonathan give to David?
  5. What was the significance of Jonathan’s giving such gifts to David?
  6. DISCUSSION QUESTION: How did Jonathan show that he did not try to hold on to any hope of being heir to the throne of Israel?
  7. Describe how a friendship based on the spiritual qualities rather than on physical attraction would last forever.
  8. How did Jonathan’s actions toward David show that he had faith in God?
  9. By what actions toward David did Jonathan show that he was clothed with humility?
  10. What kind of clothing was in Jonathan’s spiritual wardrobe?

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