Previous Chapters: Creation. The Fall. The Flood. Abraham. The Destruction of Sodom. Abraham and Isaac. Jacob and Esau. Moses is Called. The Ten Plagues. The Ten Commandments. Samson. David and Goliath.
DAVID AND JONATHAN
After David slew Goliath, he quickly rose in the ranks of Saul’s army, and he became a hero to the Israelites. And women came out from all the towns of Israel and sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” And Saul was much angered by their songs, and he muttered under his breath, “I have slain way more thousands than David has!” Saul, therefore, kept David close to him, and he kept a watchful eye on David, lest the youth wrest the throne from him, for Saul no longer enjoyed the Lord’s blessing. Then one day Saul was possessed by an evil spirit as David was playing his lyre, and Saul grabbed a spear and hurled it at David, who ducked, and then Saul grabbed the spear and hurled it again, and again David ducked, and David ceased his playing and said to himself, “Everybody’s a critic.”
Then Saul feared David, for he sensed that the Lord’s blessing, which had left him, was now with David. He sent David into battle repeatedly against the hated Philistines, who had not become the servants of Israel as Goliath had sworn, but had instead continued to plague the Israelites; Saul hoped that David would be killed in battle, but David was not killed, but he slew more and more thousands of Philistines, and praise for his Philistine-slaying only grew among the Israelites, and he was held to be the greatest Philistine-slayer since Samson.
To ensure that David continued to serve him, Saul proposed that David marry his eldest daughter Merab. But David refused, saying that he was a poor man, and unworthy, and could not afford to become the king’s son-in-law. So Merab was given to another. Then Saul proposed that David marry his second daughter Michal, who was fairer than her sister, and who was in love with David. But David again said that he was a poor man, and unworthy, and could not afford to become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul’s servants came to David and said that the King wanted no other price for his second daughter than “a little bit off the top,” by which he meant the foreskins of a hundred Philistine warriors. For Saul knew that the Philistines would not part with their foreskins readily, and it was his plan that David be killed in the attempt to take a hundred Philistine foreskins. But David gathered a band of men and soon returned with twice the required number of Philistine foreskins, small, medium, large, extra-large, and XXL, albeit none to match Goliath’s. Then Saul gave David his daughter Michal in marriage, and David became Saul’s son-in-law.
Now Saul’s son Jonathan also loved David. He loved David as himself, and the two of them were one in spirit, and they put their hands on one another’s inner thighs and made a covenant. And Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and presented it to David, and he took off his armor and presented it to David, and then he took off his sword, his bow, and his belt. All of these things he presented to David, for he loved him as himself, and he stood naked before David, for they were one in spirit.
“May I be frank?” Jonathan inquired.
But David shook his head. “No, you are Jonathan. That is the name given to you by your father, Saul, whom I serve.”
“Ooh, you’re such a cunt!” Jonathan said.
And the two of them laughed together, for they were one in spirit.
David continued to fight in Saul’s army, and he continued to kill Philistines on Saul’s behalf, though he did not take their foreskins for there was no gain to be had, and more and more praise was heaped on David, and his fame increased, and Saul grew more and more jealous until he could no longer abide it, and he commanded Jonathan and his attendants to kill David if an opportunity presented itself. But Jonathan warned David to be on his guard, and go into hiding, which David did. Then Jonathan spoke to his father on David’s behalf, and Jonathan said, “May I be frank?”
“Jonathan is the name you were given,” Saul said.
“You’ve never accepted me for the person I am!”
Then Saul hung his head. “Must we do this again?”
“Let not the king do wrong to his servant David,” Jonathan said. “For he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly. He took his life in his hands when he killed Goliath. The One True God won a great victory for Israel that day, and you saw it and were glad. Why would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”
Saul was moved by Jonathan’s pleas, and he realized that his son and David were one in spirit, and he agreed not to kill him, and David returned from hiding, and went back to work killing Philistines, and again the Israelites sang his praises, louder than ever, until at last Saul decided he must kill David before the Israelites placed him on the throne in his stead. This time, however, Saul’s daughter Michal warned her husband, and again David escaped. And when Jonathan heard that his sister had saved David’s life, he was filled with envy and muttered under his breath, “That bitch!”
So Jonathan again took up David’s cause, and his father threw a spear at him, as was his wont, and Jonathan ducked under it, as was his wont, and thereafter he knew that Saul would never relent in his determination to kill David, and Jonathan and David went out into the fields and shot off arrows together and pledged eternal friendship, and they kissed and wept, but David wept the most. And then David fled, with Saul in hot pursuit.