- David were heroic figures of the Kingdom of Israel, whose covenant was recorded favourably in the books of Samuel. Jonathan was the son of Saul, king of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, and David was the son of Jesse of Bethlehem and Jonathan's presumed rival for the crown. David became king. The covenant the two men had formed eventually led to David graciously seating Jonathan's son Mephibosheth, a cripple, at his own royal table instead of eradicating the former king Saul's line.
The biblical text does not explicitly depict the nature of the relationship between David and Jonathan. The traditional and mainstream religious interpretation of the relationship has been one of platonic love and an example of homosociality. Some later Medieval and Renaissance literature drew upon the story to underline strong personal friendships between men, some of which involved romantic love and could perhaps be described as romantic friendships. In modern times, some scholars, writers and activists have emphasized what they interpret as elements of homoeroticism (chaste or otherwise) in the story.
- Friendship between David and Jonathan