Reflecting on 1 Samuel 19 1-7

We are studying 1 Samuel 19:1-7 for Sunday, October 4 (World Communion Sunday). It’s a story about Jonathan saving the life of David, who will later come to be king of Israel. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions we might want to consider:

Would we say Jonathan “has a problem” at the beginning of the story? Why?

How would we describe that problem? For instance, would we call it a moral problem? A political problem? A family problem? Something else? Why would we call it that?

What difference does it make how we categorize it?
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How would we describe the reasoning Jonathan uses to convince Saul not to kill David? What appeals does he make? For instance, would we say he is appealing to Saul’s conscience, to his self-interest, to his emotions … what?

Assuming Jonathan understood Saul, and used an argument he thought would persuade Saul, what does Jonathan’s speech tell us about Saul? What insight does it give us into his character? Why is that?

[More personal] What arguments or kinds of arguments usually persuade us? In what ways do we see ourselves being like Saul? In what ways unlike Saul? How do we feel about that? Why? Does it motivate us to take action of some kind? What action? Why?
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Does Jonathan’s approach to the problem seem wise to us? Why?

Does it seem like Jonathan was acting on principle? Why, or why not?

Does Jonathan seem loyal to Saul? To David? Why?
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Are there any lessons in Jonathan’s approach that would apply to other situations, such as conversations we ourselves might face today? What situations? What lessons?
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The text emphasizes a couple of different kinds of social relationships: the relationship between father and son, and the relationship between king and servant. What does the story tell us about those relationships? For instance, is Saul behaving like a good father? A good king? Is Jonathan behaving like a good son? A good servant? What about David? Why do we say this?
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What difference does it make that this story is in the Bible? What would change if we didn’t have this story? [For instance, anything we know or think about Saul? Jonathan? David? People in general? … ] Can we think of any reasons why this story would be in the Bible, or what its value is for us?
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