1 Samuel
Chapter 20

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1 And Dauid fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Ionathan, What haue I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sinne before thy father, that he seeketh my life?

2 And he said vnto him, God forbid, thou shalt not die; beholde, my father will doe nothing, either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.

3 And Dauid sware moreouer, and said, Thy father certeinly knoweth that I haue found grace in thine eyes, and he sayth, Let not Ionathan know this, lest he be grieued: but truely, as the Lord liueth, and as thy soule liueth, there is but a step betweene me & death.

4 Then said Ionathan vnto Dauid, Whatsoeuer thy soule desireth, I will euen doe it for thee.

5 And Dauid said vnto Ionathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moone, and I should not faile to sit with the king at meate: but let me goe, that I may hide my selfe in the fields vnto the third day at euen.

6 If thy father at all misse me, then say, Dauid earnestly asked leaue of me that he might runne to Bethlehem his citie: for there is a yeerely sacrifice there for all the family.

7 If he say thus, It is well, thy seruant shall haue peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that euill is determined by him.

8 Therefore thou shalt deale kindly with thy seruant, for thou hast brought thy seruant into a couenant of the Lord with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquitie, slay me thy selfe: for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?

9 And Ionathan said, Farre be it from thee: for if I knew certainely that euill were determined by my father to come vpon thee, then would not I tell it thee?

10 Then said Dauid to Ionathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answere thee roughly?

11 And Ionathan said vnto Dauid, Come, and let vs goe out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.

12 And Ionathan said vnto Dauid, O Lord God of Israel, when I haue sounded my father, about to morrow any time, or the third day, and behold, if there be good toward Dauid, and I then send not vnto thee, and shew it thee;

13 The Lord doe so and much more to Ionathan: but if it please my father to doe thee euill, then I wil shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest goe in peace, and the Lord be with thee, as hee hath beene with my father.

14 And thou shalt not onely while yet I liue, shew me the kindnesse of the Lord, that I die not:

15 But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindnesse from my house for euer: no not when the Lord hath cut off the enemies of Dauid, euery one from the face of the earth.

16 So Ionathan made a couenant with the house of Dauid, saying, Let the Lord euen require it at the hande of Dauids enemies.

17 And Ionathan caused Dauid to sweare againe, because he loued him: for he loued him as he loued his owne soule.

18 Then Ionathan said to Dauid, To morrow is the newe moone: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat wil be emptie.

19 And when thou hast stayed three dayes, then thou shalt goe downe quickly, and come to the place where thou diddest hide thy selfe, when the businesse was in hand, and shalt remaine by the stone Ezel.

20 And I will shoot three arrowes on the side thereof, as though I shot at a marke.

21 And behold, I will send a ladde, saying, Goe, find out the arrowes. If I expresly say vnto the lad, Behold, the arrowes are on this side of thee, take them: then come thou, for there is peace to thee, and no hurt, as the Lord liueth.

22 But if I say thus vnto the yong man, Behold, the arrowes are beyond thee: goe thy way, for the Lord hath sent thee away.

23 And as touching the matter which thou and I haue spoken of, behold, the Lord be betweene thee and mee for euer.

24 So Dauid hid himselfe in the field: and when the newe moone was come, the king sate him downe to eate meate.

25 And the king sate vpon his seate, as at other times, euen vpon a seate by the wall: and Ionathan arose, and Abner sate by Sauls side, and Dauids place was emptie.

26 Neuerthelesse, Saul spake not any thing that day: for hee thought, Some thing hath befallen him, hee is not cleane; surely he is not cleane.

27 And it came to passe on the morrow which was the second day of the moneth, that Dauids place was emptie: and Saul said vnto Ionathan his sonne, Wherefore commeth not the sonne of Iesse to meat, neither yesterday nor to day?

28 And Ionathan answered Saul, Dauid earnestly asked leaue of me, to goe to Bethlehem.

29 And he said, Let me goe, I pray thee, for our familie hath a sacrifice in the citie, and my brother, hee hath commanded mee to be there: and now if I haue found fauour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren: Therefore he commeth not vnto the kings table.

30 Then Sauls anger was kindled against Ionathan, and hee said vnto him, Thou sonne of the peruerse rebellious woman, doe not I know that thou hast chosen the sonne of Iesse to thine owne confusion, and vnto the confusion of thy mothers nakednesse?

31 For as long as the sonne of Iesse liueth vpon the ground, thou shalt not be stablished, nor thy kingdome: wherefore now send and fetch him vnto mee, for he shall surely die.

32 And Ionathan answered Saul his father, and said vnto him, Wherefore shall hee be slaine? what hath hee done?

33 And Saul cast a iauelin at him to smite him, whereby Ionathan knewe that it was determined of his father to slay Dauid.

34 So Ionathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eate no meat the second day of the moneth: for hee was grieued for Dauid, because his father had done him shame.

35 And it came to passe in the morning, that Ionathan went out into the field, at the time appointed with Dauid, and a little ladde with him.

36 And he said vnto his lad, Runne, finde out now the arrowes which I shoote. And as the ladde ranne, he shot an arrow beyond him.

37 And when the ladde was come to the place of the arrow, which Ionathan had shot, Ionathan cryed after the ladde, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee?

38 And Ionathan cryed after the ladde, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Ionathans ladde gathered vp the arrowes, and came to his master.

39 But the lad knew not any thing: onely Ionathan and Dauid knew the matter.

40 And Ionathan gaue his artillery vnto his ladde, and said vnto him, Goe, cary them to the citie.

41 And assoone as the ladde was gone, Dauid arose out of a place toward the South, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himselfe three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, vntill Dauid exceeded.

42 And Ionathan said to Dauid, Goe in peace, forasmuch as wee haue sworne both of vs in the Name of the Lord, saying; The Lord be betweene me and thee, and betweene my seede and thy seede for euer. And hee arose, and departed: and Ionathan went into the citie.

Viewing the original 1611 KJV with archaic English spelling
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Commentary for 1 Samuel 20

David consults Jonathan. (1-10) Jonathan's covenant with David. (11-23) Saul, missing David, seeks to kill Jonathan. (24-34) Jonathan takes leave of David. (35-42)1-10 The trials David met with, prepared him for future advancement. Thus the Lord deals with those whom he prepares unto glory. He does not put them into immediate possession of the kingdom, but leads them to it through much tribulation, which he makes the means of fitting them for it. Let them not murmur at his gracious appointment, nor distrust his care; but let them look forward with joyful expectation to the crown which is laid up for them. Sometimes it appears to us that there is but a step between us and death; at all times it may be so, and we should prepare for the event. But though dangers appear most threatening, we cannot die till the purpose of God concerning us is accomplished; nor till we have served our generation according to his will, if we are believers. Jonathan generously offers David his services. This is true friendship. Thus Christ testifies his love to us, Ask, and it shall be done for you; and we must testify our love to him, by keeping his commandments.

11-23 Jonathan faithfully promises that he would let David know how he found his father affected towards him. It will be kindness to ourselves and to ours, to secure an interest in those whom God favours, and to make his friends ours. True friendship rests on a firm basis, and is able to silence ambition, self-love, and undue regard for others. But who can fully understand the love of Jesus, who gave himself as a sacrifice for rebellious, polluted sinners! how great then ought to be the force and effects of our love to him, to his cause, and his people!

24-34 None were more constant than David in attending holy duties; nor had he been absent, but self-preservation obliged him to withdraw. In great peril present opportunities for Divine ordinances may be waved. But it is bad for us, except in case of necessity, to omit any opportunity of statedly attending on them. Jonathan did wisely and well for himself and family, to secure an interest in David, yet for this he is blamed. It is good to take God's people for our people. It will prove to our advantage at last, however it may now be thought against our interest. Saul was outrageous. What savage beasts, and worse, does anger make men!

35-42 The separation of two such faithful friends was grievous to both, but David's case was the more deplorable, for David was leaving all his comforts, even those of God's sanctuary. Christians need not sorrow, as men without hope; but being one with Christ, they are one with each other, and will meet in his presence ere long, to part no more; to meet where all tears shall be wiped from their eyes.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for 1 Samuel 20

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