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1 Samuel 20:1-23Revised 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?” 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.” 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.” Then said Jonathan to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 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. 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.’ If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant; 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 sacred covenant[b] with you. But if there is guilt in me, slay me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father?” 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.”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 20:3 Gk: Heb swore again
  2. 1 Samuel 20:8 Heb a covenant of the Lord
  3. 1 Samuel 20:12 Heb lacks be witness
  4. 1 Samuel 20:14 Heb uncertain
  5. 1 Samuel 20:16 Gk: Heb earth, and Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David
  6. 1 Samuel 20:19 Gk: Heb go down quickly
  7. 1 Samuel 20:19 Gk: Heb the stone Ezel
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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