Posted in Writings

His Father or His Friend

I had a complicated, intellectual post planned for this week, but I’ve had a persistent headache all day, and I don’t feel like putting that much concentration into something right now. So it will have to wait. Instead, here is a short story I wrote for an assignment for my creative writing class that I think turned out pretty well.


1 Samuel 19:1-7

What if your father was the king?

What if your father went a bit mad?

What if your father wanted you to kill your best friend?

I imagine that when Saul told Jonathan he wanted David killed, Jonathan wished he could wake up and find himself dreaming. His heart would have been torn in two. Wanting to honor the man who raised you, but knowing he is sinning… Wanting to protect the friend you love as yourself, but knowing it would be treason…

I imagine him pacing that night in painful sleeplessness, asking God why.

Why must my father hate David?

Why can he not see that David is innocent – not only of wrong actions, but of wrong intentions?

Why did he put me in a position where I have to choose between them?

What shall I do?

He would have eventually realized that he knew what he should do. And that he was exactly the person to do it. After all, his father’s servants and soldiers might respect David, but they feared his father more. It was unlikely they would have attempted to spare David.

Jonathan would have slipped through the halls to his friend’s chamber. Now, late, in the dark, when he could walk unseen.

David might have been still awake, plotting psalms in the quiet of the night when thought is easier.

“David!”

“Jonathan! You’re still awake?”

“Hush!”

“What’s wrong?”

“My father has… told me to kill you.”

David might have sighed, rubbed his eyes. “You? Is it not enough that he has tried to do it himself?”

“Listen. I’m going to change his mind. I can’t let this happen. Hide out in the field tomorrow morning. I’ll talk with my father, try to persuade him that this is unnecessary. Then I’ll come tell you what he said.”

When David had agreed, Jonathan would have returned to his room for some sleep, though probably restless sleep.

When Jonathan pulled his father aside the next morning, I imagine his heart would have been pounding a rhythm too fast for any of his friend’s songs. Yet he would have kept his tone patient and unhurried, reminding Saul of all the good David had done for them. “Remember when he killed the Philistine? And the great victory the Lord gave Israel that day? You loved him then. Why murder an innocent man?”

When his father listened tolerantly, Jonathan must have had hope. When he vowed, “As the Lord lives,” that David would not be killed, Jonathan’s relief must have been tangible.

As soon as he could get away, when Saul was out of sight and earshot, Jonathan must have rushed to the field where David hid. He would have called for his friend, eager to share his relief.

“David! He relented!”

David would have emerged, just as euphoric. I imagine them hugging, the only way to relieve the emotion of the moment. “Come back to court,” Jonathan would have urged. “It may not last, but for now, you are safe.”

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