2 Samuel 1:26
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant have you been to me: your love to me was wonderful…
Human love is, in proportion to its purity and strength, a gift of Divine love. It also illustrates the love from which it proceeds, by reflecting its image as in a mirror. It is of a twofold nature - viz, benevolence or charity towards all, even the unworthy; and complacency towards those in whom it perceives the signs of excellence, or resemblance to itself. Of the latter kind was the love of Jonathan to David; and it was wonderful, considered in the light of
(1) the selfishness that prevails among men,
(2) the hindrances that stood in the way of its exercise,
(3) the Divine grace by which it was produced and maintained,
(4) the admirable qualities that distinguished it, and
(5) the services and sacrifices in which it was evinced.
It may be regarded as a representation of the unspeakable love of Christ towards his friends (John 15:15) and brethren (John 20:10; which is:
1. Appreciative of their worth (see 1 Samuel 18:1-4). It sets a special value upon them, however they may be despised by others; looks at them in relation not merely to what they actually are, but to what they may become; and singles them out as objects of its individual concern. "Thy love to me was wonderful." "He calleth his own sheep by name" (John 10:3).
2. Sincere and thoroughly disinterested (1 Samuel 19:1-7). It seeks their welfare rather than its own; is trustful, unsuspecting, and watchful over their interests; freely communicates its thoughts and feelings; counsels and reproves; faithfully performs its promises; and affords protection and aid according to their need.
3. Sympathetic. (1 Samuel 20:1-9.) It finds delight in their society; holds familiar intercourse with them; desires a return of its affection; makes their joys and sorrows its own; and is considerate, gentle, tender, and kind. "Behold, how he loved him!" (John 11:36).
4. Intense. (1 Samuel 20:10-42.) "More wonderful than woman's love." "No less ardent, sincere, and sweet than the highest conjugal affection; which ought to be (as Strigelius here glosses) ardent without simulation, sincere without any suspicions, and sweet without morosity or disdain" (Patrick). Its intensity is shown in its utterances, efforts, tears; courage, forbearance, forgiveness, and unwearied patience.
5. Self-denying and self-sacrificing. Jonathan identified himself with his friend, whose life was in imminent peril; renounced a crown and suffered shame for his sake; but who shall tell what Christ renounced and suffered for us (Philippians 2:7, 8)?
6. Enduring. "Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end" (John 13:1); and gave them, on the eve of his departure, a proof of his condescending, pure, undying affection. His love is still the same; and it "passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).
7. Influential (1 Samuel 23:16-18) in attracting love and constraining devotion; strengthening, preserving, comforting, purifying those in whom it dwells; perfecting its image in them and preparing them to enter into its eternal joy. "Unto him that loved us," etc. (Revelation 1:5). - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.