The 5th commandment…
“Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged on the land which the Lord your God gives you.” ~ Exodus 20:12
I once wrote a series of posts about the meaning of each commandment. The 5th commandment has to do with honor but was also a means of survival for parents/grandparents as they grew older.
The younger family members were to take care of the parents as there was no social security or other means of support.
But, what about our story from 1 Samuel about Jonathan and Saul.
Should Jonathan let respect for his father’s wishes kill an innocent man?
Let’s read this passage together…
Jonathan Disobeys Saul – David Lives
“Now Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to put David to death.
But Jonathan, Saul’s son, greatly delighted in David.
So Jonathan informed David, saying, “My father Saul is seeking to put you to death.
Now then, please be on your guard in the morning, and stay in a hiding place and conceal yourself.
And as for me, I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are hiding, and I will speak with my father about you; and whatever I find out, I will tell you.”
Then Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul and said to him, “May the king not sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you.
For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then would you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death for no reason?”
Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, “As the Lord lives, David shall not be put to death.”
Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these words. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.
When there was war again, David went out and fought the Philistines and defeated them with great slaughter, so that they fled from him.
Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand.
And Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he escaped from Saul’s presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.” ~ 1 Samuel 19:1-10
Was Jonathan Wrong?
According to the law of God (5th commandment), Jonathan should have obeyed his father, shouldn’t he?
Well, before we condemn Jonathan, let’s glance at a quick story.
We have laws in this country, right? Of course we do.
A footnote is that these laws are deeply rooted in the ten commandments God gave Moses although many politicians wouldn’t agree.
We’ll use just one example..
Let’s say you’re strolling through the park one day and see a sign at a small pond. The sign clearly says; “NO SWIMMING“.
Suddenly, you spot a child in the water — fighting for her life! She’s drowning!
But, the sign says no swimming, doesn’t it?
What do you do?
Well, the answer is obvious. You jump in and save the child, as any of us would.
But, you broke the law! Do you feel remorse? Of course not!
I don’t believe any court in the land would convict you for breaking that particular law.
Back to Jonathan..
He disobeyed his father. But, did he break the 5th commandment?
Yes and no. Jonathan did not follow Saul’s wish to kill David. But, he was old enough to know right from wrong — and to know God’s laws.
So, Jonathan decided to follow God’s will instead of the will of his father.
The lesson is short. We are always to follow God.
Nations have laws. Parents have rules. They are necessary.
But, when we have to make a choice, follow God.
If you have never made the commitment to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16.