1 Samuel 18:1
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.
David and Jonathan became fast friends from this time on.
Jonathan was possibly 40 years when he met David and 55 when he died with Saul [Sam. 31:1-13].
Ish-bosheth, the youngest son of Saul was 40 when he began to reign [2 Sam. 2:10].
The love of Jonathan and David was like that of a father and son, and as true brothers in the same nation – not the low, depraved, unnatural homosexual and demonized love which some have sought to attach to this story based on v 1; 2 Sam. 1:26 “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” [Very agreeable, delightful, and sweet you have been to me].
Theirs was a genuine affection which was pure and normal, as it should be with all men.
– Dake’s A.R.B.: Page 307
Note the Exposition and practical observations by Matthew Henry- Page 327:
David was proved to have been:
A man of excellent spirit, in four things:-
1. He was very generous to Saul, his sworn enemy. He conceals Saul’s faults, and, though there was no preventing their appearance in his history, yet they should not appear in this elegy. Charity teaches us to make the best we can of everybody and to say nothing of those of whom we can say no good, especially when they are gone.
[De mortuis nil nisi bonum – Say nothing but good concerning the dead.]
2. He celebrates that which was praiseworthy in him. That he was anointed with oil [v21],
The sacred oil, which signified his elevation to, and qualification for, the government.
That he was a man of war, a mighty man [v19-21], that he had often been victorious over the enemies of Israel and vexed them whithersover he turned, 1 Sam. 14:47.
Though his sun set under a cloud, time was when it shone brightly. That take him with Jonathan he was a man of a very agreeable temper, that recommended himself to the affections of his subjects [v23]: Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant. Jonathan was always so, and Saul was so as long as he concurred with him. Take them together, and in the pursuit of the enemy, never were men more bold, more brave; they were swifter than eagles and stronger than lions.
They were lovely and pleasant one to another, Jonathan a dutiful son, Saul an affectionate father ; and therefore dear to each other in their lives, and in their death they were not divided, but kept close together in the stand they made against the Philistines, and fell together in the same cause.
He was very grateful to Jonathan. He lamented him for what he had been: “Very pleasant hast thou been unto me; but that pleasantness is now over, and I am distressed for thee”.
He had reason to say that Jonathan’s love to him was wonderful; surely never was the like, for a man to love one who he know was to take the crown over his head, and to be so faithful to his rival.
That nothing is more delightful in this world than a true friend, that is wise and good, that kindly receives and returns our affection, and is faithful to us in all our true interests.
That nothing is more distressful than the loss of such a friend; it is parting with a piece of one’s self. THE MORE WE LOVE, THE MORE WE GRIEVE.