In these passages is the account of David fleeing from King Saul who was intent on killing David. Saul’s son, Jonathan, was a friend of David and helped David escape. Jonathan knew that David would one day become King of Israel. Jonathan made a covenant with David that David would protect Jonathan’s descendants when David became king.
Saul was intending to kill David and asked Jonathan about David’s whereabouts. Jonathan lied to Saul and probably saved David. This brings up an interesting question about lying.
Some believe that it is a sin to lie. However, I do not believe that lying is a sin in all situations. The Bible says that ‘we should not bear false witness.’ It does not say that lying in general is forbidden. So, then, when is it okay to lie?
Consider the following scenario. You are living in land occupied by the German Nazis during World War II. The Nazis are looking for Jews to exterminate. It happens that you are hiding Jews in your basement. Some Nazis come to your door and ask if you are hiding any Jews. What would you tell them?
If you take the position that lying is wrong in any situation you might tell the Nazi’s the truth. That would result in the Jews in your basement being murdered. You may feel self-righteous for telling the truth. However, I don’t believe your response would please God.
So, how does lying to the Nazi’s square with the what the Bible teaches? The Bible says that Satan is the ‘father of lies.’ The Bible also says that liars will not be allowed into Heaven. They will be thrown into the ‘lake of fire.’
I believe that some people habitually lie for their own benefit. I think that these are the people the Bible calls ‘liars.’ Lying characterizes them. However, lying does not necessarily characterize a person who lies to the Nazis to save some Jews. I don’t believe the Bible would classify such a person as a ‘liar.’