1 Samuel 18:17-20:42 New Century Version (NCV)
Saul’s Daughter Marries David
17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will let you marry her. All I ask is that you remain brave and fight the Lord’s battles.” Saul thought, “I won’t have to kill David. The Philistines will do that.”
18 But David answered Saul, saying, “Who am I? My family is not important enough for me to become the king’s son-in-law.” 19 So, when the time came for Saul’s daughter Merab to marry David, Saul gave her instead to Adriel of Meholah.
20 Now Saul’s other daughter, Michal, loved David. When they told Saul, he was pleased. 21 He thought, “I will let her marry David. Then she will be a trap for him, and the Philistines will defeat him.” So Saul said to David a second time, “You may become my son-in-law.”
22 And Saul ordered his servants to talk with David in private and say, “Look, the king likes you. His servants love you. You should be his son-in-law.”
23 Saul’s servants said these words to David, but David answered, “Do you think it is easy to become the king’s son-in-law? I am poor and unimportant.”
24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said, 25 Saul said, “Tell David, ‘The king doesn’t want money for the bride. All he wants is a hundred Philistine foreskins to get even with his enemies.’” Saul planned to let the Philistines kill David.
26 When Saul’s servants told this to David, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. 27 So he and his men went out and killed two hundred Philistines. David brought all their foreskins to Saul so he could be the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal for his wife. 28 Saul saw that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David. 29 So he grew even more afraid of David, and he was David’s enemy all his life.
30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to fight the Israelites, but every time, David was more skillful than Saul’s officers. So he became famous.
Saul Tries to Kill David
19 Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David, but Jonathan liked David very much. 2 So he warned David, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Watch out in the morning. Hide in a secret place. 3 I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are hiding, and I’ll talk to him about you. Then I’ll let you know what I find out.”
4 When Jonathan talked to Saul his father, he said good things about David. Jonathan said, “The king should do no wrong to your servant David since he has done nothing wrong to you. What he has done has helped you greatly. 5 David risked his life when he killed Goliath the Philistine, and the Lord won a great victory for all Israel. You saw it and were happy. Why would you do wrong against David? He’s innocent. There’s no reason to kill him!”
6 Saul listened to Jonathan and then made this promise: “As surely as the Lord lives, David won’t be put to death.”
7 So Jonathan called to David and told him everything that had been said. He brought David to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.
8 When war broke out again, David went out to fight the Philistines. He defeated them, and they ran away from him.
9 But once again an evil spirit from the Lord rushed upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. David was playing the harp. 10 Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, but David jumped out of the way. So Saul’s spear went into the wall, and David ran away that night.
11 Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, saying, “Tonight you must run for your life. If you don’t, you will be dead in the morning.” 12 So she let David down out of a window, and he ran away and escaped. 13 Then Michal took an idol, laid it on the bed, covered it with clothes, and put goats’ hair at its head.
14 Saul sent messengers to take David prisoner, but Michal said, “He is sick.”
15 Saul sent them back to see David, saying, “Bring him to me on his bed so I can kill him.”
16 When the messengers entered David’s house, they found just an idol on the bed with goats’ hair on its head.
17 Saul said to Michal, “Why did you trick me this way? You let my enemy go so he could run away!”
Michal answered Saul, “David told me if I did not help him escape, he would kill me.”
18 After David had escaped from Saul, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him everything Saul had done to him. Then David and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19 Saul heard that David was in Naioth at Ramah. 20 So he sent messengers to capture him. But they met a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there leading them. So the Spirit of God entered Saul’s men, and they also prophesied.
21 When Saul heard the news, he sent more messengers, but they also prophesied. Then he sent messengers a third time, but they also prophesied. 22 Finally, Saul himself went to Ramah, to the well at Secu. He asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”
The people answered, “In Naioth at Ramah.”
23 When Saul went to Naioth at Ramah, the Spirit of God also rushed upon him. And he walked on, prophesying until he came to Naioth at Ramah. 24 He took off his robes and prophesied in front of Samuel. He lay that way all day and all night. That is why people ask, “Is even Saul one of the prophets?”
Jonathan Helps David
20 Then David ran away from Naioth in Ramah. He went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How did I sin against your father? Why is he trying to kill me?”
2 Jonathan answered, “No! You won’t die! See, my father doesn’t do anything great or small without first telling me. Why would he keep this from me? It’s not true!”
3 But David took an oath, saying, “Your father knows very well that you like me. He says to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know about it, or he will tell David.’ As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I am only a step away from 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 If your father notices I am gone, 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 will know that he wants to hurt me. 8 Jonathan, be loyal 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 hurt 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 the two of them went out into the field.
12 Jonathan said to David, “I promise this before the Lord, the God of Israel: At this same time the day after tomorrow, I will find out how my father feels. If he feels good toward you, I will send word to you and let you know. 13 But if my father plans to hurt you, 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 so that I may not die. 15 You must never stop showing your kindness to my family, 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 hold David’s enemies responsible.” 17 And Jonathan asked David to repeat his promise of love for him, 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 miss you. 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 as if I am shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy to find the arrows. If I say to him, ‘The arrows are near you; bring them here,’ you may come out of hiding. You are safe. As the Lord lives, there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ you must go, because the Lord is sending 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. 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 Saul, 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 still empty. So Saul said to Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the feast 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 to 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 a wicked, worthless 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 will 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 ashamed of his father and upset over David.
35 The next morning Jonathan went out to the field 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 and 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 three times. Then David and Jonathan kissed each other and 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 always.’” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to town.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the NIV Study Bible and the NKJV MacArthur Study Bible - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.