David learns of Saul's hatred 1
Covenant between Jonathan and David 14
David hid in a field and was missed 24
Shooting the arrow sent a message to David 35
The two friends part weeping 41
| 1 ¶ And David fled from
Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what
is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh
2 And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.
.3 And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.
| 1 -
fled He had come to confer with Jonathan while Saul remained
at Ramah 1sa1923. Naioth was apparently
a suburb. For Ramah, see 1sa1918.
1 - What is mine iniquity? sin? The word "iniquity" is from 'awon, "to be of a perverse mind." It relates to guilt and punishment. "Sin" is from chatt'ah, "to miss the mark."
2 - God forbid The KJV translators were apparently influenced by this idiom which I prefer not to repeat. God's name does not appear in the original. The idiom uses the divine name without reverence. A better expression for the Hebrew term is "far be it" which appears in v9.
| 4 Then said Jonathan unto
David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee.
.5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.
.6 If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.
7 If he say thus, It is well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him.
8 Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the LORD with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?
| 5 -
moon The Jews celebrated on the day when the crescent of the
moon appeared marking the beginning of a lunar month nu2811,
This custom of the general region was followed by the Jews who, no doubt,
celebrated differently from other people. It may have been implied in the
divine designation of the yearly beginning of months ex1201.
It will also somehow have a part in the new earth is6623.
6 - If ... miss me ... say This appears to be a falsehood but we do not know everything that was said. The absence was to be for three days v5 giving time for a quick trip to Bethlehem returning to his hiding place in the field. Also Jonathan's statement as in v29 included more than the planned one here.
¶ And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly
that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not
I tell it thee?
10 Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answer thee roughly?
11 And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.
12 And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee;
13 The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father.
|11 - Come "The private dialogue, which is here detailed at full length, presents a most beautiful exhibition of these two amiable and noble-minded friends. Jonathan was led, in the circumstances, to be the chief speaker. The strength of his attachment, his pure disinterestedness, his warm piety, his invocation to God (consisting of a prayer and a solemn oath combined), the calm and full expression he gave of his conviction that his own family were, by the divine will, to be disinherited, and David elevated to the possession of the throne, the covenant entered into with David on behalf of his descendants, and the imprecation (1Sa 20:16-below) denounced on any of them who should violate his part of the conditions, the reiteration of this covenant on both sides (1Sa 20:17) to make it indissoluble—all this indicates such a power of mutual affection, such magnetic attractiveness in the character of David, such susceptibility and elevation of feeling in the heart of Jonathan, that this interview for dramatic interest and moral beauty stands unrivalled in the records of human friendship." (JFB)|
And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD,
that I die not:
15 But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
.16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies.
17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
|16 - Covenant The verse is difficult to translate. "let not the name of Jonathan be cut off from the house of David. And may the LORD take vengeance on David's enemies." (RSV)|
| 18 Then Jonathan said to David,
To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will
.19 And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.
20 And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark.
21 And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the LORD liveth.
22 But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the LORD hath sent thee away.
23 And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the LORD be between thee and me for ever.
- Come to the place -
19 - And on the third day it will be specially noted, and you will go to the place where you took cover when the other business was in hand, waiting by the hill over there. (BBE)
23 - Between thee and me for ever The two men had confidence in the Lord. We may expect that their hope will be realized in heaven.
¶ So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come,
the king sat him down to eat meat.
25 And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul's side, and David's place was empty.
26 Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean.
|26 - Not clean A ceremonial defilement could have accounted for the absence le15, 1sa2105, etc.|
| 27 And it came to pass on
the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David's place was
empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son
of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day?
28 And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem:
.29 And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king's table.
|28, 29 - Leave See on verse 6.|
| 30 Then Saul's anger was kindled
against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious
woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own
confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness?
31 For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.
32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?
33 And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David.
34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.
- Perverse rebellious woman The word "woman" is not in the
original but is implied by the feminine form of the two adjectives. In
his anger Saul may have refused to say the word "mother." His satanic hatred
was for everyone.
31 - As long as ... fetch him Saul was acting like heathen kings who, by satanic rage protected their thrones.
34 - Grieved for David He was to be separated from his true friend. Neither would he be unfaithful to his God.
¶ And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into
the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him.
36 And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.
37 And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee?
38 And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.
39 But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter.
40 And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city.
- Little lad Taking the boy would hide his motive of communicating
38 - Speed For David, the message was that he should leave quickly.
And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the
south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times:
and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
42 And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.
|41 - Exceeded Literally "caused to become great." Perhaps the meaning is that David overcame his grief of separation and was ready to part. The text is unclear.|