From the moment Samuel anointed David, by the direction of the Lord, he was a king (I Sam. 16:12-13): without a recognizable throne. The present king, Saul, initially loved David, and was soothed by his sweet singing (I Sam. 16:21-22), as personal torment increased after the Spirit of God departed him (I Sam. 16:14).
The love of Saul quickly turned to murderous rage, as David increased in fame, and songs proclaimed his greatness. The story of David and Saul is fascinating for many reasons; just too many for this blurb. The friendship between David and Jonathan, Saul’s son and heir, is equally fascinating, but for entirely different reasons.
Bottom line, the friendship between Jonathan and David is one we should all be blessed with.
Jonathan chooses faithfulness to God, and friendship with David over his fathers rule, and what would be his future throne. Simply: Jonathan knows David is God’s anointed.
The stone of Ezel.
Jonathan and David devise a plan that will either let David know that Saul does not intend him harm, and he is free to reenter Saul’s court; or, Saul intends harm, and David should flee (I Sam. 20:18-42).
The plan involves a stone, three arrows, and a third day.
Jonathan confirms Saul’s intent, and follows through with the plan on the third day. Arrows are loosed. David is sent away. Oversimplified summary, read the original, it’s much better.
There were times in David’s life when he did not much look like a king. And in this moment, as he awaits Jonathan’s report, hiding in a field, by a stone, kingly he was not.
What happened here?
Jonathan told David to “stay close to the Ezel Stone” (I Sam. 20:19). Why? This marker, the stone, will be where David is shown the way. Ezel is from a Hebrew root meaning departure. The “Ezel Stone” is sometimes translated as the “Traveler’s Stone.” It was a marker of direction for those on the journey, or departure for those leaving.
The Ezel Stone was the spot where David would begin to make the journey to his promised throne. What a journey it would be.
The arrows, sent the his friend and natural heir apparent to Saul, signaled David to depart. The arrows sent him out. Jonathan and his arrows, in that moment, became God’s voice of direction to the would-be king. David knew the direction – stay or leave – by where the arrows landed.
The third day is significant for many reasons. In some rabbinic literature the third day, the day after tomorrow, is known as the day of hope. On the third day, David would emerge, and begin the process of renewal to who God anointed him to be.
The arrows did not direct him immediately to the throne. Rather, they sent him to the mountains and valleys, to caves and deserts. They sent him to hardship, pressure that would bring forth the treasure of his psalms, and the unification of Israel.
Jonathan, as the way maker, decreased in order that David would increase; a pattern we see again in the life of John the Baptist, who said of Yeshua/Jesus, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”
Each of us will find ourselves waiting at the Ezel Stone at some point, wondering which way to go. Praise the Lord that the Stone the builders rejected is our Traveler’s Stone, Yeshua/Jesus, and He sends us out by the arrow of the Holy Spirit indicating the way.
When the arrow message arrives at Ezel, don’t look back, just go. The Lord has made the way. It may be to the unknown, but remember this, the One sending you said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). Did you notice that Jonathan never left David; if this is true of Jonathan, how much more so of the covenant Lord who is, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8)?
It was from this journey, triggered by three arrows, that David would learn to sing:
“…strangers have risen up against me; cruel men seek my life, men who have no regard for God – Selah. Look, God is my helper; the Lord is the one who sustains my life. He will repay my oppressors for their evil. By Your truth destroy them. To You I will offer a free will sacrifice; I will praise Your name, Lord, for it is good. For He has saved me from all danger; my eyes have seen my enemies downfall” (Ps. 54).
Be well. Shalom.