Ancient Israel was a tribal nation. Your clan (what we would call an “extended family) was everything - you were born into a clan, you were expected to marry within your clan, you were buried on land belonging to your clan. Your first loyalty was not to your nation, but to your family.
That is part of what makes Jonathan’s story so extraordinary. Saul was his father, the leader of his clan, the king of his nation - Jonathan was expected to go along with whatever his father wanted. When Saul decided that David was his enemy, it was assumed that Jonathan would treat him as an enemy too.
But Jonathan doesn’t. Rather than do what’s expected and go along with his father’s plan, Jonathan remains loyal to his friend. Bucking his father, his culture, and putting his own future throne in question, Jonathan does what is right and justice, rather than be the person everyone expected him to be.
Everyone grows up with expectations. Parents have ideas of how their children will grow and develop. Schools have expectations of performance and behavior. Friends, neighbors, mentors, coaches, boyfriends and girlfriends - all these relationships come with a myriad of obligations, assumptions, duties and plans for you. As we mature and the number of relationships we have increases, we can get lost in the tangle of these obligations and have trouble deciding who we are and what we are supposed to be.
No doubt Jonathan struggled with this. He was a prince, a commander in the army, a son to his father, and a friend to David. When his father the king decided that David was an enemy of the state, Jonathan was forced to choose between what was expected of him and what he knew was right. That decision defined his life and his legacy - it decided what kind of man he was going to be.
What do your decisions say about you? What sort of person are you becoming? Do you just go along with what others decide you should do, or do you make decisions based on what is right?
Talk to God about your choices. Ask Him to give you discernment to tell the “straight and narrow” path of righteousness from the wide and easy path of the wicked.