Jonathan Protects David
1David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done?#1Sm 24:9 What did I do wrong? How have I sinned against your father so that he wants to take my life?”
2Jonathan said to him, “No, you won’t die. Listen, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without telling me. So why would he hide this matter from me? This can’t be true.”
3But David said, “Your father certainly knows that I have found favor with you. He has said, ‘Jonathan must not know of this, or else he will be grieved.’” David also swore, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, there is but a step between me and death.”#1Sm 25:26; 2Kg 2:6
4Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.”
5So David told him, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon,#Nm 10:10; 28:11–15; Am 8:5 and I’m supposed to sit down and eat with the king.#1Sm 20:24,27 Instead, let me go, and I’ll hide in the countryside for the next two nights.#20:5 Lit countryside until the third night#1Sm 19:2 6If your father misses me at all, say, ‘David urgently requested my permission to go quickly to his hometown, Bethlehem,#1Sm 17:58 for an annual sacrifice#Dt 12:5 there involving the whole clan.’ 7If he says, ‘Good,’ then your servant is safe, but if he becomes angry, you will know he has evil intentions. 8Deal kindly with#20:8 Or Show loyalty to your servant, for you have brought me into a covenant with you before the Lord.#1Sm 18:3; 20:16; 23:18 If I have done anything wrong,#2Sm 14:32 then kill me yourself; why take me to your father?”
9“No!” Jonathan responded. “If I ever find out my father has evil intentions against you, wouldn’t I tell you about it?”
10So David asked Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”
11He answered David, “Come on, let’s go out to the countryside.” So both of them went out to the countryside. 12“By the Lord, the God of Israel, I will sound out my father by this time tomorrow or the next day. If I find out that he is favorable toward you, will I not send for you and tell you? 13If my father intends to bring evil on you, may the Lord punish Jonathan and do so severely#Ru 1:17; 1Sm 3:17 if I do not tell you and send you away so you may leave safely. May the Lord be with you,#1Sm 18:12 just as he was with my father. 14If I continue to live, show me kindness#20:14 Or loyalty, also in v. 15 from the Lord, but if I die, 15don’t ever withdraw your kindness from my household — not even when the Lord cuts off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”#2Sm 9:1 16Then Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David,#1Sm 18:3; 23:18 saying, “May the Lord hold David’s enemies accountable.”#20:16 Lit Lord require it from the hand of David’s enemies#Dt 23:21 17Jonathan once again swore to David#20:17 LXX; MT reads Jonathan once again made David swear in his love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.#1Sm 18:1
18Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the New Moon;#Nm 10:10 you’ll be missed because your seat will be empty. 19The following day hurry down and go to the place where you hid on the day this incident began and stay beside the rock Ezel. 20I will shoot three arrows beside it as if I’m aiming at a target. 21Then I will send a servant and say, ‘Go and find the arrows! ’ Now, if I expressly say to the servant, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you — get them,’ then come, because as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no problem. 22But if I say this to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you! ’ #1Sm 20:37 then go, for the Lord is sending you away. 23As for the matter you and I have spoken about,#1Sm 20:14–15 the Lord will be a witness#20:23 LXX; MT omits a witness between you and me forever.”#Gn 31:49,53 24So David hid in the countryside.
At the New Moon, the king sat down to eat the meal. 25He sat at his usual place on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat facing him#20:25 Text emended; MT reads Jonathan got up and Abner took his place beside Saul, but David’s place was empty.#1Sm 20:18 26Saul did not say anything that day because he thought, “Something unexpected has happened; he must be ceremonially unclean — yes, that’s it, he is unclean.”#Lv 7:20–21; Nm 10:10
27However, the day after the New Moon, the second day, David’s place was still empty, and Saul asked his son Jonathan, “Why didn’t Jesse’s son come to the meal either yesterday or today?”
28Jonathan answered, “David asked for my permission to go to Bethlehem.#1Sm 20:6 29He said, ‘Please let me go because our clan is holding a sacrifice in the town, and my brother has told me to be there. So now, if I have found favor with you, let me go so I can see my brothers.’ That’s why he didn’t come to the king’s table.”
30Then Saul became angry with Jonathan and shouted, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you are siding with Jesse’s son to your own shame and to the disgrace of your mother?#20:30 Lit your mother’s nakedness 31Every day Jesse’s son lives on earth you and your kingship are not secure. Now send for him and bring him to me — he must die!” #2Sm 12:5
32Jonathan answered his father back, “Why is he to be killed? What has he done?” #1Sm 19:5
33Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan to kill him,#1Sm 18:11; 19:10 so he knew that his father was determined to kill David.#1Sm 20:7 34He got up from the table fiercely angry and did not eat any food that second day of the New Moon, for he was grieved because of his father’s shameful behavior toward David.
35In the morning Jonathan went out to the countryside for the appointed meeting with David. A young servant was with him. 36He said to the servant, “Run and find the arrows I’m shooting.”#1Sm 20:20–21 As the servant ran, Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. 37He came to the location of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, but Jonathan called to him and said, “The arrow is beyond you, isn’t it?” #1Sm 20:22 38Then Jonathan called to him, “Hurry up and don’t stop!” Jonathan’s servant picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39He did not know anything; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. 40Then Jonathan gave his equipment to the servant who was with him and said, “Go, take it back to the city.”
41When the servant had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone Ezel, fell facedown to the ground, and paid homage three times.#Gn 42:6 Then he and Jonathan kissed each other and wept with each other, though David wept more.#1Sm 18:3
42Jonathan then said to David, “Go in the assurance the two of us pledged in the name of the Lord when we said, ‘The Lord will be a witness between you and me and between my offspring and your offspring forever.’”#1Sm 20:15–23 Then David left, and Jonathan went into the city.