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20
David and Jonathan’s Covenant
1 David fled from Naioth in Ramah and he came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my #Or iniquity.guilt? What is my sin before (against) your father, that he is seeking my life?”2 Jonathan said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. My father does nothing #Lit great or small.important or insignificant without telling me. So why would he hide this thing from me? It is not so!”3 But David vowed again, saying “Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be worried.’ But truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.”4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.”5 David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the New Moon [observance], and I should sit at the table to eat [the sacrificial meal] with the king; but let me go, so that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening.6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked permission from me to go to Bethlehem, his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the entire family.’7 If he says, ‘All right,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, then be certain that he has decided on evil.8 Therefore show kindness to your servant, because you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is iniquity (guilt) in me, kill me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father [to be killed]?”9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from [happening to] you! In fact, if I indeed learn that my father has decided to harm you, would I not tell you about it?”10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”11 Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field [to talk].” So they went out to the field.
12 Then Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, is my witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he has a good feeling toward #Lit David.you, shall I not then send word to you and make it known to you?13 But if it pleases my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to Jonathan, and more if I do not let you know about it and send you away, so that you may go in #Lit shalom.safety. And #Lit shalom.may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father.14 If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness and faithfulness of the Lord, #To secure his throne a new king would usually kill anyone who was a potential rival for the throne. Jonathan is asking assurance that he will not be assassinated after David becomes king.so that I will not die?15 You shall never cut off your lovingkindness and faithfulness from my house, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.”16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the #This covenant was binding not only on David and Jonathan, but also on their descendants.house of David. [#This covenant was binding not only on David and Jonathan, but also on their descendants.He added,] “May #This covenant was binding not only on David and Jonathan, but also on their descendants.the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies. [that is, hold them accountable for any harm they inflict on David].”17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, for Jonathan loved him as himself.
18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon [festival], and you will be missed because your seat will be empty.19 When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself #Lit on the day of the doing.on that eventful day [when my father tried to kill you], and shall stay by the stone Ezel.20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a target.21 And I will send a boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come [back to my father’s table]; for it is #Lit shalom.safe for you and there is #Lit shalom.no danger, as the Lord lives.22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away.23 As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever [making sure that we each keep our word].”
24 So David hid in the field; and when the New Moon [festival] came, the king sat down to eat food.25 The king sat on his seat as on previous occasions, on his seat by the wall; then Jonathan stood up, and Abner [his commander] sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “It is an incident [of some kind] and #Saul assumed that David had come into contact with a source of ritual pollution, such as a corpse, and was for that reason temporarily disqualified from participating in the New Moon Festival.he is not [ceremonially] clean--surely he is unclean.”27 But on the next day, the second day of the new moon, David’s place was empty [again]; and Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem.29 He said, ‘Please let me go because our family is holding a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. Now, if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me slip away so that I may see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”
Saul Is Angry with Jonathan
30 Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a #The vulgar language of this Hebrew idiom demeaned Jonathan, not his mother, and Saul implied that she was ashamed of giving birth to him.wayward, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse [over me] to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness?31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you [as heir to the throne] nor your kingdom will be established. So now, send [someone] and bring him to me, for he #Lit is a son of death.must die.”32 Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why must he be put to death? What has he done?”33 Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down, so Jonathan knew [without any doubt] that his father had decided to put David to death.34 Then Jonathan stood up from the table in the heat of anger, and ate no food on that second day of the new moon (month), for he grieved and worried about David because his father had dishonored him.
35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for the meeting with David, and a young boy was with him.36 And he said to his boy, “Run, please find the arrows which I am about to shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow past him.37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan called to him, “Is the arrow not beyond you?”38 And Jonathan called out after the boy, “Hurry, be quick, do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy picked up the arrow and came back to his master.39 But the boy was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter.40 Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go, take them to the city.”41 As soon as the boy was gone, David got up from the south side [beside the mound of stones] and fell on his face to the ground [in submission and respect], and bowed three times. Then they kissed one another and wept together, but David wept more.42 Jonathan told David, “Go #Lit in shalom.in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and yours forever.’” #Lit in shalom.Then he stood and left, while Jonathan went into the city.
20
Jonathan Helps David
1Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and went to Jonathan. “What have I done?” he asked. “What crime have I committed? What wrong have I done to your father to make him want to kill me?”
2Jonathan answered, “God forbid that you should die! My father tells me everything he does, important or not, and he would not hide this from me. It just isn't so!”
3But David answered,#20.3: One ancient translation answered; Hebrew made a vow again. “Your father knows very well how much you like me, and he has decided not to let you know what he plans to do, because you would be deeply hurt. I swear to you by the living Lord that I am only a step away from death!”
4Jonathan said, “I'll do anything you want.”
5 # Nu 28.11 “Tomorrow is the New Moon Festival,” David replied, “and I am supposed to eat with the king. But if it's all right with you, I will go and hide in the fields until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6If your father notices that I am not at the table, tell him that I begged your permission to hurry home to Bethlehem, since it's the time for the annual sacrifice there for my whole family. 7If he says, ‘All right,’ I will be safe; but if he becomes angry, you will know that he is determined to harm me. 8Please do me this favor, and keep the sacred promise you made to me. But if I'm guilty, kill me yourself! Why take me to your father to be killed?”
9“Don't even think such a thing!” Jonathan answered. “If I knew for sure that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn't I tell you?”
10David then asked, “Who will let me know if your father answers you angrily?”
11“Let's go out to the fields,” Jonathan answered. So they went, 12and Jonathan said to David, “May the Lord God of Israel be our witness!#20.12: One ancient translation be our witness; Hebrew does not have these words. At this time tomorrow and on the following day I will question my father. If his attitude toward you is good, I will send you word. 13If he intends to harm you, may the Lord strike me dead if I don't let you know about it and get you safely away. May the Lord be with you as he was with my father! 14And if I remain alive, please keep your sacred promise and be loyal to me; but if I die,#20.14: Some ancient translations if I die; Hebrew that I may not die. 15#2 S 9.1 show the same kind of loyalty to my family forever. And when the Lord has completely destroyed all your enemies, 16may our promise to each other still be unbroken. If it is broken, the Lord will punish you.”#20.16: Verses 15-16 in Hebrew are unclear.
17Once again Jonathan made David promise to love him, for Jonathan loved David as much as he loved himself. 18Then Jonathan said to him, “Since tomorrow is the New Moon Festival, your absence will be noticed if you aren't at the meal. 19The day after tomorrow your absence will be noticed#20.19: Some ancient translations your absence will be noticed; Hebrew go down. even more; so go to the place where you hid yourself the other time, and hide behind the pile of stones there.#20.19: Probable text the pile of stones there; Hebrew the Ezel Stone. 20I will then shoot three arrows at it, as though it were a target. 21Then I will tell my servant to go and find them. And if I tell him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; get them,’ that means that you are safe and can come out. I swear by the living Lord that you will be in no danger. 22But if I tell him, ‘The arrows are on the other side of you,’ then leave, because the Lord is sending you away. 23As for the promise we have made to each other, the Lord will make sure that we will keep it forever.”
24So David hid in the fields. At the New Moon Festival, King Saul came to the meal 25and sat in his usual place by the wall. Abner sat next to him, and Jonathan sat across the table from him.#20.25: One ancient translation sat across the table from him; Hebrew stood up. David's place was empty, 26but Saul said nothing that day, because he thought, “Something has happened to him, and he is not ritually pure.” 27On the following day, the day after the New Moon Festival, David's place was still empty, and Saul asked Jonathan, “Why didn't David come to the meal either yesterday or today?”
28Jonathan answered, “He begged me to let him go to Bethlehem. 29‘Please let me go,’ he said, ‘because our family is celebrating the sacrificial feast in town, and my brother ordered me to be there. So then, if you are my friend, let me go and see my relatives.’ That is why he isn't in his place at your table.”
30Saul became furious with Jonathan and said to him, “How rebellious and faithless your mother was! Now I know you are taking sides with David and are disgracing yourself and that mother of yours! 31Don't you realize that as long as David is alive, you will never be king of this country? Now go and bring him here—he must die!”
32“Why should he die?” Jonathan replied. “What has he done?”
33At that, Saul threw his spear at Jonathan to kill him, and Jonathan realized that his father was really determined to kill David. 34Jonathan got up from the table in a rage and ate nothing that day—the second day of the New Moon Festival. He was deeply distressed about David, because Saul had insulted him. 35The following morning Jonathan went to the fields to meet David, as they had agreed. He took a young boy with him 36and said to him, “Run and find the arrows I'm going to shoot.” The boy ran, and Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. 37When the boy reached the place where the arrow had fallen, Jonathan shouted to him, “The arrow is farther on! 38Don't just stand there! Hurry up!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master, 39not knowing what it all meant; only Jonathan and David knew. 40Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and told him to take them back to town.
41After the boy had left, David got up from behind the pile of stones,#20.41: Probable text the pile of stones; Hebrew the south. fell on his knees and bowed with his face to the ground three times. Both he and Jonathan were crying as they kissed each other; David's grief was even greater than Jonathan's.#20.41: Probable text David's grief was even greater than Jonathan's; Hebrew unclear. 42Then Jonathan said to David, “God be with you. The Lord will make sure that you and I, and your descendants and mine, will forever keep the sacred promise we have made to each other.” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.