1 Samuel 20
David and Jonathan’s Covenant
1David fled from Naioth in Ramah and he came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? What is my sin before (against) your father, that he is seeking my life?” 2Jonathan said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. My father does nothing important or insignificant without telling me. So why would he hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3But 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.” 4Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5David 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. 6If 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.’ 7If he says, ‘All right,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, then be certain that he has decided on evil. 8Therefore 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]?” 9Jonathan 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?” 10Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field [to talk].” So they went out to the field.
12Then 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 you, shall I not then send word to you and make it known to you? 13But 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 safety. And may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness and faithfulness of the Lord, so that I will not die? 15You 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.” 16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David. [He added,] “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies. [that is, hold them accountable for any harm they inflict on David].” 17Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, for Jonathan loved him as himself.
18Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon [festival], and you will be missed because your seat will be empty. 19When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself on that eventful day [when my father tried to kill you], and shall stay by the stone Ezel. 20I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a target. 21And 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 safe for you and there is no danger, as the Lord lives. 22But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23As 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].”
24So David hid in the field; and when the New Moon [festival] came, the king sat down to eat food. 25The 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. 26Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “It is an incident [of some kind] and he is not [ceremonially] clean—surely he is unclean.” 27But 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?” 28Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29He 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
30Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a 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? 31For 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 must die.” 32Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why must he be put to death? What has he done?” 33Then 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. 34Then 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.
35In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for the meeting with David, and a young boy was with him. 36And 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. 37When the boy came to the place where Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan called to him, “Is the arrow not beyond you?” 38And 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. 39But the boy was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go, take them to the city.” 41As 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. 42Jonathan told David, “Go 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.’ ” Then he stood and left, while Jonathan went into the city.