1 Samuel 20
International Children’s Bible
David and Jonathan
20 Then David ran away from Naioth in Ramah. He went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I sinned against your father so that he’s trying to kill me?”
2 Jonathan answered, “No! You won’t die! See, my father doesn’t do anything without first telling me. It doesn’t matter if it is very important or just a small thing. Why would he refuse to tell me he wants to kill you? No, it’s not true!”
3 But David took an oath. He said, “Your father knows very well that I’m your friend. He has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know about it. If he knows, he will tell David.’ But as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I am very close to death!”
4 Jonathan said to David, “I’ll do anything you want me to do.”
5 So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival. I am supposed to eat with the king. But let me hide in the field until the third evening. 6 Your father may notice I am gone. If he does, tell him, ‘David begged me to let him go to his hometown of Bethlehem. Every year at this time, his family group offers a sacrifice.’ 7 If your father says, ‘Fine,’ I am safe. But if he becomes angry, you can believe he wants to hurt me. 8 Jonathan, be kind to me, your servant. You have made an agreement with me before the Lord. If I am guilty, you may kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”
9 Jonathan answered, “No, never! If I learn that my father plans to harm you, I will warn you!”
10 David asked, “Who will let me know if your father answers you unkindly?”
11 Then Jonathan said, “Come, let’s go out into the field.” So Jonathan and David went together into the field.
12 Jonathan said to David, “I promise this before the Lord, the God of Israel: At this same time day after tomorrow, I will find out how my father feels. If he feels good toward you, I’ll send word to you. I’ll let you know. 13 But my father may mean to hurt you. If so, I will let you know and send you away safely. May the Lord punish me terribly if I don’t do this. And may the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me the kindness of the Lord as long as I live. Do this so that I may not die. 15 You must not stop showing your kindness to my family. Don’t do this, even when the Lord has destroyed all your enemies from the earth.”
16 So Jonathan made an agreement with David. He said, “May the Lord punish David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan asked David to repeat his promise of love for him. He did this because he loved David as much as he loved himself.
18 Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon festival. Your seat will be empty. So my father will notice you’re gone. 19 On the third day go to the place where you hid when this trouble began. Wait by the rock Ezel. 20 On the third day I will shoot three arrows to the side of the rock. I will shoot as if I am shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and tell him to go find the arrows. I may say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you. Bring them here.’ If so, you may come out of hiding. You may do this as surely as the Lord lives because you are safe. There is no danger. 22 But I may say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you.’ If I do, you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23 Remember what we talked about. The Lord is a witness between you and me forever.”
24 So David hid in the field. And when the New Moon festival came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat where he always sat, near the wall. Jonathan sat across from him, and Abner sat next to him. But David’s place was empty. 26 That day Saul said nothing. He thought, “Maybe something has happened to David so that he is unclean.” 27 But the next day was the second day of the month. And David’s place was empty again. So Saul said to Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the festival yesterday or today?”
28 Jonathan answered, “David begged me to let him go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, because our family has a sacrifice in the town. And my brother has ordered me to be there. Now if I am your friend, please let me go and see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”
30 Then Saul became very angry with Jonathan. He said, “You son of an evil and disobedient woman! I know you are on the side of David son of Jesse! You bring shame on yourself and on your mother who gave birth to you. 31 As long as Jesse’s son lives, you’ll never be king or have a kingdom. Now send for David and bring him to me. He must die!”
32 Jonathan asked his father, “Why should David be killed? What wrong has he done?” 33 Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan, trying to kill him. So Jonathan knew that his father really wanted to kill David. 34 Jonathan was very angry and left the table. That second day of the month he refused to eat. He was upset about what his father wanted to do to David.
35 The next morning Jonathan went out to the field. He went to meet David as they had agreed. He had a young boy with him. 36 Jonathan said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” When he ran, Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. 37 The boy ran to the place where Jonathan’s arrow fell. But Jonathan called, “The arrow is beyond you!” 38 Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and brought it back to his master. 39 (The boy knew nothing about what this meant. Only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy. He told him, “Go back to town.”
41 When the boy left, David came out from the south side of the rock. He bowed facedown on the ground before Jonathan. He did this three times. Then David and Jonathan kissed each other. They cried together, but David cried the most.
42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace. We have promised by the Lord that we will be friends. We said, ‘The Lord will be a witness between you and me, and between our descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to town.
1 Samuel 20
New International Version
David and Jonathan
2 “Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!”
3 But David took an oath(C) and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”
4 Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”
5 So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast,(D) and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide(E) in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6 If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission(F) to hurry to Bethlehem,(G) his hometown, because an annual(H) sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ 7 If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper,(I) you can be sure that he is determined(J) to harm me. 8 As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant(K) with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill(L) me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”
9 “Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?”
10 David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”
11 “Come,” Jonathan said, “let’s go out into the field.” So they went there together.
12 Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound(M) out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely,(N) if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with(O) you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness(P) like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family(Q)—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”
16 So Jonathan(R) made a covenant(S) with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.(T)” 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath(U) out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.
18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty.(V) 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid(W) when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows(X) to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond(Y) you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 23 And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the Lord is witness(Z) between you and me forever.”
24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast(AA) came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan,[a] and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty.(AB) 26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean.(AC)” 27 But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”
28 Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission(AD) to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice(AE) in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”
30 Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you? 31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom(AF) will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”
32 “Why(AG) should he be put to death? What(AH) has he done?” Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended(AI) to kill David.
34 Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David.
35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36 and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond(AJ) you?” 38 Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39 (The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”
41 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground.(AK) Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.
42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace,(AL) for we have sworn friendship(AM) with each other in the name of the Lord,(AN) saying, ‘The Lord is witness(AO) between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.(AP)’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.[b]