1 Samuel 20
International Standard Version Par ▾ 

David and Jonathan’s Discussion

1David fled from Naioth in Ramah. He came to Jonathan and said, “What have I done? What is my crime, and how have I wronged your father so that he’s determined to kill me?a

2Jonathanb told him, “Far from it! You won’t die. Look, my father never does anything, great or small, without telling me;c so why should my father hide this thing from me? It’s not like that!”

3David again took an oath: “Your father certainly knows that I’ve found favor with you, and so he told himself,d ‘Jonathan must not know this so he won’t be upset.’ But as certainly as the LORD is alive and living, and as certainly as I’m alive and living, too, there is only a step between me and death.”

4Jonathan told David, “Whatever you say, I’ll do.”

5David told Jonathan, “Look, the New Moon is tomorrow, and I’m expected to sit down with the king to eat. Let me go so I can hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow.e 6If your father actually notices that I’m not there,f then you are to say, ‘David urgently requested that I allow him to run to his hometown of Bethlehem because the yearly sacrifice for the entire family was taking place there.’ 7If he says, ‘Good,’ then your servant will be safe.g But if he actually gets angry, you will know that his intentions are evil.h 8Now, show gracious kindness to your servant because you have entered into a sacred covenanti with your servant. If there is iniquity in me, then kill me yourself—why should you bring me to your father?”

9“Nonsense!” Jonathan replied. “If I actually knew that my father intended evil against you, wouldn’t I tell you about it?”

10Then David told Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”

David and Jonathan Make a Covenant

11Then Jonathan told David, “Come, let’s go into the field.” So the two of them went into the field. 12Jonathan told David, “The LORD God of Israel is my witnessj that I’ll carefully question my father by tomorrow or the next day. And if the responsek is favorable for David, will I not then send wordl to you and let you know?m 13But if my father intends to harm you, may the LORD strike me deadn if I don’t let you know and send you away so you may go safely. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. 14If I remain alive, don’t fail to show me the LORD’s gracious love so that I don’t die. 15And don’t stop showing your gracious love to my family forever, not even when the LORD eliminates each of David’s enemies from the surface of the earth.” 16Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David: “May the LORD punish any violation of this covenant by the hand of David’s enemies.”o 17Jonathan made David vow again out of his love for him, because he loved him as himself.

Jonathan’s Signal to David

18Jonathan told him, “Tomorrow is the New Moon, and you will be missed because your seat is empty. 19On the third day go down quickly and come to the place where you hid earlier.p Remain beside the rock at Ezel. 20I’ll shoot three arrows to the side of the rockq as though I were shooting at a target. 21Then I’ll send a servant,r saying,s ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the servant,t ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come out because it’s safe for you, and, as surely as the LORD lives, there is no danger.u 22But if I say this to the young man: ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the LORD has sent you away. 23As for the matter about which you and I spoke, remember thatv the LORD is a witnessw between us forever.”

Jonathan Intercedes for David

24David hid in the field. When the New Moon arrived, the king sat down to eat. 25The king sat down at his place as before, in the seat by the wall. Jonathan stood while Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 26Saul didn’t say anything that day because he told himself,x “Something has happened; he’s unclean; surely he’s not clean.”

27But the next day, on the second day of the New Moon, David’s place was empty, and so Saul told his son Jonathan, “Why didn’t Jesse’s son come to the festival, either yesterday or today?”

28Jonathan answered Saul, “David urgently requested that I let him go to Bethlehem. 29He said, ‘Please let me go because our family has a sacrifice in the town, and my brother has ordered me to come. Now, if it’s acceptable to you,y please let me get away so I can see my brothers.’ That’s the reason he didn’t come to the king’s table.”

Saul’s Anger toward Jonathan

30Saul flew into a rage and told Jonathan, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have chosen Jesse’s son to your shame and to the shame of your mother who bore you?z 31As long asaa Jesse’s son lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established! Now send someone and bring Davidbb to me. He’s a dead man!”

32Jonathan asked his father Saul, “Why should he be killed? What did he do?” 33Then Saul threw the spear that was beside him to strike Jonathancc down. So Jonathan realized that his father was determined to kill David. 34So on the second day of the New Moon Jonathan angrily got up from the table without eating because he was upset about David, and because his father had humiliated him.

Jonathan Warns David

35In the morning Jonathan, accompanied by a servant,dd went out to the field for the appointment with David. 36Jonathanee told his servant,ff “Run, find the arrows that I’m shooting.” As the servantgg ran, Jonathanhh shot the arrow beyond him. 37The servantii came to the place where Jonathan had shot it, and Jonathan called out to him,jj “The arrow is beyond you, isn’t it?” 38Jonathan called out to the servant,kk “Hurry, be quick, don’t stand around.” Jonathan’s servantll picked up the arrow and brought it to his master. 39The servant was not aware of anything. Only Jonathan and David understood what had happened.mm

40Then Jonathan gave his equipment to the servantnn who was with him and told him, “Go, take these things to the city.” 41The servantoo went. Then David came out from the south side of the rock,pp fell on his face, and bowed down three times. The men kissed each other, and both of them cried, but David even more. 42Jonathan told David, “Go in peace since both of us swore in the name of the LORD: ‘May the LORD be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’”

qq Then Davidrr got up and left, while Jonathan went to the city.

a 20:1 Lit. seeks my life
b 20:2 Lit. He
c 20:2 Lit. revealing it in my ear
d 20:3 The Heb. lacks to himself
e 20:5 Lit. until the third evening
f 20:6 The Heb. lacks that I’m not there
g 20:7 Lit. there will be peace for your servant
h 20:7 Lit. that evil has been determined by him
i 20:8 Lit. a covenant of the LORD
j 20:12 The Heb. lacks is my witness
k 20:12 Lit. it
l 20:12 The Heb. lacks word
m 20:12 Lit. reveal in your ear
n 20:13 Lit. may the LORD do to Jonathan and more also; This oath would have been accompanied by some symbolic action such as simulating the plunge of a knife into one’s heart.
o 20:16 Lit. may the LORD seek from the hand of David’s enemies
p 20:19 Lit. on the day of the event
q 20:20 The Heb. lacks of the rock
r 20:21 Or boy
s 20:21 The Heb. lacks saying
t 20:21 Or boy
u 20:21 Lit. thing
v 20:23 Or look,
w 20:23 The Heb. lacks a witness
x 20:26 The Heb. lacks to himself
y 20:29 Lit. if I have found favor in your eyes
z 20:30 Lit. to the shame of your mother’s nakedness
aa 20:31 Lit. all the days that
bb 20:31 Lit. him
cc 20:33 Lit. him
dd 20:35 Lit. young man
ee 20:36 Lit. He
ff 20:36 Lit. young man
gg 20:36 Lit. young man
hh 20:36 Lit. he
ii 20:37 Lit. young man
jj 20:37 Lit. young man
kk 20:38 Lit. young man
ll 20:38 Lit. young man
mm 20:39 Lit. the matter
nn 20:40 Lit. young man
oo 20:41 Lit. young man
pp 20:41 The Heb. lacks of the rock
qq 20:42 This sentence is 21:1 in MT
rr 20:42 Lit. he

The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation

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