1 Samuel 20

Talks for Growing Christians

The Painful Separation Between David and Jonathan

1 Samuel 20

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Lesson Number 24

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. There will be painful decisions in the life of faith.
  2. There will be painful separations in the life of faith.

Practical Application

  1. Use 1 Samuel 20:42 instead of Genesis 31:49 as a blessing.


  1. What sort of painful decisions was David facing at this point in his life?
  2. Were these painful decisions the result of something David had done wrong?
  3. What plan did David and Jonathan devise to communicate whether it was safe for David to return to the palace?
  4. What covenant did David and Jonathan make with one another?
  5. Why is 1 Samuel 20:42 a better blessing than Genesis 31:49?


  1. Whether to stay with his wife or flee for his life. Whether he should rescue his family in Bethlehem, or go into hiding as a fugitive.
  2. No, David had done nothing wrong. These painful decisions were just part of his life.
  3. Jonathan would come out to the field where David was hiding, and shoot some arrows. When his messenger boy ran to fetch them, if Jonathan said, “Look the arrow is beyond you,” David would know he needed to flee for safety.
  4. They promised to care for one another’s families in the future, no matter what else happened.
  5. The verse in Genesis is not a blessing in context, but the verse in Samuel is.


  1. Discuss whether or not David asked Jonathan to lie to his father in this chapter. Is lying justified in some circumstances? How could David be called a man after God’s own heart, if this was a lie?
  2. Think of a painful decision you have faced in your life of faith. Did the outcome of that decision strengthen your faith in God?


  1. Have you been separated from a loved one because of work, ministry, or death? There will be painful separations in the life of faith. Remember, the Lord will always be there to bring comfort and hope.

Key Verses

  • “You shall not only show me the kindness of the LORD while I still live…but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever.” 1 Samuel 20:14-15
  • “May the LORD be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.” 1 Samuel 20:42

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