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1 Samuel 20 World English Bible (WEB)

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

He said to him, “Far from it; you will not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small, but that he discloses it to me. Why would my father hide this thing from me? It is not so.”

David swore moreover, and said, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes; and he says, ‘Don’t let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved;’ but truly as Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.”

Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever your soul desires, I will even do it for you.”

David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to dine with the king; but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field to the third day at evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city; for it is the yearly sacrifice there for all the family.’ If he says, ‘It is well,’ your servant shall have peace; but if he is angry, then know that evil is determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant; for you have brought your servant into a covenant of Yahweh with you; but if there is iniquity in me, kill me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father?”

Jonathan said, “Far be it from you; for if I should at all know that evil were determined by my father to come on you, then wouldn’t I tell you that?”

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

11 Jonathan said to David, “Come! Let’s go out into the field.” They both went out into the field. 12 Jonathan said to David, “By Yahweh, the God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if there is good toward David, won’t I then send to you, and disclose it to you? 13 Yahweh do so to Jonathan, and more also, should it please my father to do you evil, if I don’t disclose it to you, and send you away, that you may go in peace. May Yahweh be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 You shall not only show me the loving kindness of Yahweh while I still live, that I not die; 15 but you shall also not cut off your kindness from my house forever; no, not when Yahweh has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the surface of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with David’s house, saying, “Yahweh will require it at the hand of David’s enemies.” 17 Jonathan caused David to swear again, for the love that he had to 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 When you have stayed three days, go down quickly, and come to the place where you hid yourself when this started, and remain by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows on its side, as though I shot at a mark. 21 Behold, I will send the boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows!’ If I tell the boy, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you. Take them;’ then come; for there is peace to you and no danger, as Yahweh lives. 22 But if I say this to the boy, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you;’ then go your way; for Yahweh has sent you away. 23 Concerning the matter which you and I have spoken of, behold, Yahweh is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field. When the new moon had come, the king sat himself down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, even on the seat by the wall; and Jonathan stood up, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Nevertheless Saul didn’t say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean. Surely he is not clean.”

27 On the next day after the new moon, the second day, David’s place was empty. Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why doesn’t the son of Jesse come to eat, either yesterday, or today?”

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

30 Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse rebellious woman, don’t I 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 will not be established, nor will your kingdom. Therefore now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die!”

32 Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?”

33 Saul cast his spear at him to strike him. By this Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 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 In the morning, Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little boy with him. 36 He said to his boy, “Run, find now the arrows which I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy had come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the boy, and said, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Jonathan cried after the boy, “Go fast! Hurry! Don’t delay!” Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. 39 But the boy didn’t know anything. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy, and said to him, “Go, carry them to the city.”

41 As soon as the boy was gone, David arose out of the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times. They kissed one another, and wept with one another, and David wept the most. 42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have both sworn in Yahweh’s name, saying, ‘Yahweh is between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” He arose and departed; and Jonathan went into the city.

World English Bible (WEB)

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1 Samuel 20 New International Version (NIV)

David and Jonathan

20 Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”

“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!”

But David took an oath 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.”

Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.”

So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me. As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”

“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 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, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness 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—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account. 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath 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. 19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows 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 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 between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast 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. 26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean. 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 to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice 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 will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!”

32 “Why should he be put to death? What 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 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 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. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most.

42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.[b]

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 20:25 Septuagint; Hebrew wall. Jonathan arose
  2. 1 Samuel 20:42 In Hebrew texts this sentence (20:42b) is numbered 21:1.
New International Version (NIV)

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