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1 Samuel 20Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

20 David fled from the prophets’ dormitory in Ramah, returned to Y’honatan and said, “What have I done? Where have I gone wrong? What sin have I committed that makes your father want to take my life?” Y’honatan replied, “Heaven forbid! You’re not going to die! Look, my father does nothing important or unimportant without telling me first; so why should my father hide this from me? It just won’t happen!” In response David swore, “Your father knows very well that you have made me your friend. This is why he will say, ‘Y’honatan must not know this, or he will be unhappy.’ As truly as Adonai lives, and as truly as you are alive, there is only a step between me and death.” Y’honatan said to David, “Anything you want me to do for you, I’ll do.” David answered Y’honatan, “Look, tomorrow is Rosh-Hodesh, and I ought to be dining with the king. Instead, let me go and hide myself in the countryside until evening of the third day. If your father misses me at all, say, ‘David begged me to let him hurry to Beit-Lechem, his city; because it’s the annual sacrifice there for his whole family.’ If he says, ‘Very good,’ then your servant will be all right. But if he gets angry, you will know that he has planned something bad. Therefore show kindness to your servant, for you bound your servant to yourself by a covenant before Adonai. But if I have done something wrong, kill me yourself! Why turn me over to your father?” Y’honatan said, “Heaven forbid! If I ever were to learn that my father had definitely decided to do you harm, wouldn’t I tell you?” 10 Then David asked Y’honatan, “Who will tell me in the event your father gives you a harsh answer?” 11 Y’honatan said to David, “Come, let’s go out in the countryside.”

They went out, both of them, to the countryside. 12 Y’honatan said to David, “Adonai, the God of Isra’el [is witness]: after I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, then, if things look good for David, I will send and let you know. 13 But if my father intends to do you harm, may Adonai do as much and more to me if I don’t let you know and send you away, so that you can go in peace. And may Adonai be with you, just as he used to be with my father. 14 However, you are to show me Adonai’s kindness not only while I am alive, so that I do not die; 15 but also, after Adonai has eliminated every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth, you are to continue showing kindness to my family forever.” 16 Thus Y’honatan made a covenant with the family of David, adding, “May Adonai seek its fulfillment even through David’s enemies.” 17 Y’honatan had David swear it again, because of the love he had for him — he loved him as he loved himself. 18 Y’honatan said to him, “Tomorrow is Rosh-Hodesh, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 The third day, hide yourself well in the same place as you did before; stay by the Departure Stone. 20 I will shoot three arrows to one side, as if I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send my boy to recover them. If I tell the boy, ‘They’re here on this side of you, take them,’ then come — it means that everything is peaceful for you; as Adonai lives, there’s nothing wrong. 22 But if I tell the boy, ‘The arrows are out there, beyond you,’ then get going, because Adonai is sending you away. 23 As for the matter we discussed earlier, Adonai is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the countryside. When Rosh-Hodesh came, the king sat down to eat his meal. 25 The king sat at his usual place by the wall. Y’honatan stood up, and Avner sat next to Sha’ul, but David’s place was empty. 26 However, Sha’ul didn’t say anything that day; because he thought, “Something has happened to him, he is unclean. Yes, that’s it, he isn’t clean.” 27 The day after Rosh-Hodesh, the second day, David’s place was empty; and Sha’ul said to Y’honatan his son, “Why hasn’t Yishai’s son come to the meal either yesterday or today?” 28 Y’honatan answered Sha’ul, “David begged me to let him go to Beit-Lechem. 29 He said, ‘Please let me go, because our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother demanded that I come. So now, if you look on me favorably, please let me get away and see my brothers.’ That’s why he hasn’t come to the king’s table.” 30 At that Sha’ul flew into a rage at Y’honatan and said, “You crooked rebel! Don’t I know that you’ve made this son of Yishai your best friend? You don’t care that you’re shaming yourself and dishonoring your mother, do you? 31 Because as long as the son of Yishai lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be secure. Now send and bring him here to me — he deserves to die.” 32 Y’honatan answered Sha’ul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Sha’ul threw his spear at him, aiming to kill; Y’honatan could no longer doubt that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 Y’honatan got up from the table in a fury, and he ate no food the second day of the month, both because he was upset over David and because his father had put him to shame.

35 The next morning Y’honatan went out into the country at the time he had arranged with David, taking with him a young boy. 36 He told the boy, “Now run and find the arrows I’m about to shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy reached the place where the arrow was that Y’honatan had shot, Y’honatan shouted at the boy, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Y’honatan continued shouting after the boy, “Quick! Hurry! Don’t just stand there!” Y’honatan’s boy gathered the arrows and returned to his master, 39 but the boy didn’t understand anything about the matter — only Y’honatan and David understood. 40 Y’honatan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go, carry them to the city.”

41 As soon as the boy had gone, David got up from a place south of the stone, fell face down on the ground and prostrated himself three times; and they kissed one another and wept each with the other until it became too much for David. 42 Y’honatan said to David, “Go in peace; because we have sworn, both of us, in the name of Adonai, that Adonai will be between me and you, and between my descendants and yours, forever.”

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

1 Samuel 20New King James Version (NKJV)

Jonathan’s Loyalty to David

20 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and went and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?”

So Jonathan said to him, “By no means! You shall not die! Indeed, my father will do nothing either great or small without first telling me. And why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!

Then David took an oath again, and said, “Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.”

So Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you yourself desire, I will do it for you.”

And David said to Jonathan, “Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king to eat. But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked permission of me that he might run over to Bethlehem, his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.’ If he says thus: ‘It is well,’ your servant will be safe. But if he is very angry, be sure that evil is determined by him. Therefore you shall deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. Nevertheless, if there is iniquity in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?”

But Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I knew certainly that evil was determined by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you?”

10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me, or what if your father answers you roughly?”

11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out into the field. 12 Then Jonathan said to David: “The Lord God of Israel is witness! When I have sounded out my father sometime tomorrow, or the third day, and indeed there is good toward David, and I do not send to you and tell you, 13 may the Lord do so and much more to Jonathan. But if it pleases my father to do you evil, then I will report it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14 And you shall not only show me the kindness of the Lord while I still live, that I may not die; 15 but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the Lord require it at the hand of David’s enemies.”

17 Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon; and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 And when you have stayed three days, go down quickly and come to the place where you hid on the day of the deed; and remain by the stone Ezel. 20 Then I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target; 21 and there I will send a lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I expressly say to the lad, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; get them and come’—then, as the Lord lives, there is safety for you and no harm. 22 But if I say thus to the young man, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you’—go your way, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter which you and I have spoken of, indeed the Lord be between you and me forever.”

24 Then David hid in the field. And when the New Moon had come, the king sat down to eat the feast. 25 Now the king sat on his seat, as at other times, on a seat by the wall. And Jonathan arose,[a] and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Nevertheless Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him; he is unclean, surely he is unclean.” 27 And it happened the next day, the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to eat, either yesterday or today?”

28 So Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked permission of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 And he said, ‘Please let me go, for our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. And now, if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me get away and see my brothers.’ Therefore he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was aroused against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse 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, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Now therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.”

32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be killed? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David.

34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully.

35 And so it was, in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad was with him. 36 Then he said to his lad, “Now run, find the arrows which I shoot.” As the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the lad had come to the place where the arrow was which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried out after the lad and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan cried out after the lad, “Make haste, hurry, do not delay!” So Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows and came back to his master. 39 But the lad did not know anything. Only Jonathan and David knew of the matter. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad, and said to him, “Go, carry them to the city.”

41 As soon as the lad had gone, David arose from a place toward the south, fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times. And they kissed one another; and they wept together, but David more so. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, since we have both sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘May the Lord be between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants, forever.’” So he arose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 20:25 Following Masoretic Text, Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate; Septuagint reads he sat across from Jonathan.
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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