1 Samuel 20 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Friendship of David and Jonathan
20 Then David fled from Nai′oth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” 2 And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me; and why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” 3 But David replied,[a] “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes; and he thinks, ‘Let not 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.” 4 Then said Jonathan to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king; but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city; for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.’ 7 If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant; but if he is angry, then know that evil is determined by him. 8 Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a sacred covenant[b] with you. But if there is guilt in me, slay me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father?” 9 And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that evil should come upon you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then said David to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.
12 And Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness![c] When I have sounded my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not disclose it to you, and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the loyal love of the Lord, that I may not die;[d] 15 and do not cut off your loyalty from my house for ever. When the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth, 16 let not the name of Jonathan be cut off from the house of David.[e] And may the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon; and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 And on the third day you will be greatly missed;[f] then go to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside yonder stone heap.[g] 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21 And behold, I will send the lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the lad, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go; for the Lord has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me for ever.”
24 So David hid himself in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat upon his seat, as at other times, upon the seat by the wall; Jonathan sat opposite,[h] and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.
26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day; for he thought, “Something has befallen him; he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the morrow after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem; 29 he said, ‘Let me go; for our family holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away, and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”
30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled 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 upon the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and fetch him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul cast his spear at him to smite him; so Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose 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 disgraced him.
35 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little lad. 36 And he said to his lad, “Run and find the arrows which I shoot.” As the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the lad came to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the lad and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the lad, “Hurry, make haste, stay not.” So Jonathan’s lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. 39 But the lad knew nothing; only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad, and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the lad had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap[i] and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times; and they kissed one another, and wept with one another, until David recovered himself.[j] 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants, for ever.’” And he rose and departed; and Jonathan went into the city.[k]