“Envy rots the bones” (Proverbs 14:30) and is listed as one of the “seven deadly sins.” Saul was consumed by envy and jealousy for David which eventually led him to attempt to kill David, his own son, the priests, entire villages of his own people, and finally to consult a witch for advice. Envy is the opposite of love and is rooted in selfishness that springs from the insecurity of placing ourselves at the center of our universe rather than God. This unavoidably leads to us derive all of our security and self-esteem from the opinions that others have of us.
Envy leads us to “sorrow at another’s good” (Thomas Aquinas). What is really remarkable about this story in 1st Samuel is the selfless behavior of Jonathan who had every reason to be jealous of David. Jonathan could have claimed his right to succeed his father as king, but instead of resenting David’s success, he admired and loved David: “Jonathan became David’s closest friend. He loved David as much as he loved himself…Jonathan made a pledge of mutual loyalty with David because he loved him as much as he loved himself” (1 Samuel 18:1-3). Jonathan’s attitude reflects the definition of love, “Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have…Love isn’t always ‘me first’…Love doesn’t revel when others grovel…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6)