The Old Testament reading set for Morning Prayer today is 1 Samuel 20:18-42, the continuation of the account of David and Jonathan.
This passage contains at least three parallels with the Passion narrative concerning Jesus, the Son of David. These are:
David is hidden from sight by a large stone until the morning of the third day // Jesus lies in the tomb, sealed by a large stone, until the early morning of the third day.
When Saul demands that David be put to death, Jonathan responds, ‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ // When the chief priests demand of Pilate that Jesus be put to death, Pilate responds, ‘Why? What has he done, deserving of death?’
The intimate one-to-one meeting between David and Jonathan, where Jonathan must let David go, to fulfil his calling to become king // The intimate one-to-one meeting between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, where Mary must let Jesus go, to fulfil his calling to become king.
And, arguably, an additional parallel in that the vow made between David and Jonathan throughout all generations forever finds a parallel in the covenant between Jesus and the Church.
These parallels are playful and fun, but they also serve to identify Jesus as the Son of David and to prompt us to ask, what kind of a king is this king Jesus? And this matters, in the light of what follows his resurrection, that this is not the moment when an immortal Jesus will take back Jerusalem from the Roman legions.
In short, what follows on from this moment in the story of David and Jonathan is that David, who was already anointed as king some years earlier, goes into hiding, eventually in a cave, for thirteen years, during which all those who were dispossessed by Saul’s rule gathered to him and were transformed into a purposeful family, before David is eventually publicly recognised as king.
This is the pattern for Jesus’ kingship: anointed since his baptism; in his resurrection and ascension, hidden from sight; drawing to himself the dispossessed; awaiting the day when he will be revealed as king before all nations.
David // the Son of David.