14 July 1 Samuel 20:1-47

14 July.  Jonathan warns David of Saul’s deadly intentions

“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?’…”

“Jonathan said to David, ‘I’ll do anything you want me to do.’ 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. If your father notices I am gone, tell him, “David begged me to let him go to his home town of Bethlehem. Every year at this time his family group offers a sacrifice.” If your father says, “Fine,” I am safe. But if he becomes angry, you will know that he wants to hurt me.’…”

“Then Jonathan said, ‘Come, let’s go out into the field.’ So the two of them went out into the field. 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 towards you, I will send word to you and let you know. But if my father plans to hurt you, I will let you know and send you away safely.’…”

“Jonathan said to David, ‘Tomorrow is the New Moon Festival. Your seat will be empty, so my father will miss you. On the third day go to the place where you hid when this trouble began. Wait by the rock Ezel. On the third day I will shoot three arrows to the side of the rock as if I am shooting at a target.’”

“’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… But if I say to the boy, “Look, the arrows are beyond you,” you must go, because the LORD is sending you away…’”

“So David hid in the field. When the New Moon festival came, the king sat down to eat … but David’s place was empty. That day Saul said nothing… But the next day was the second day of the [lunar] 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?’ Jonathan answered, ‘David begged me to let him go to Bethlehem.’…”

“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… 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!’”

“Jonathan asked his father, ‘Why should David be killed? What wrong has he done?’ Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan, trying to kill him. So Jonathan knew that his father really wanted to kill David…”

“The next morning Jonathan went out to the field to meet David as they had agreed. He had a young boy with him. Jonathan said to the boy, ‘Run and find the arrows I shoot.’… The boy ran to the place where Jonathan’s arrow fell, but Jonathan called, ‘The arrow is beyond you!’ … Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and told him, ‘Go back to town.’”

“When the boy left, David came out from the south side of the rock. He bowed face down on the ground before Jonathan three times. Then David and Jonathan kissed each other and cried together, but David cried the most. Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace. We have promised by the LORD that we will be friends… Then David left, and Jonathan went back to town.”

          (1 Samuel 20:1-42)



David escaped from Naioth in Ramah and appealed to the king’s son, Jonathan. He affirmed his friendship with Jonathan, and pleaded his loyalty to his father, King Saul. Jonathan agreed that David had done nothing to merit his father’s anger, and arranged to let David know about his father’s intentions.

On the first day of the Jewish New Moon festival, David’s absence was noted by Saul, but he said nothing. When David was absent again on the second day of the festival, Saul confronted his son Jonathan and asked where David was. On being told that Jonathan had given him permission to go to Bethlehem to celebrate the festival with his family, Saul flew into a rage and tried to kill Jonathan with his spear.

Knowing that Saul would try to do the same to his friend, Jonathan warned David of Saul's intent to kill him – by sending three arrows across the field where David was hiding, and instructing his servant boy to pick up the arrow “beyond you” – the pre-arranged signal to tell David that his life was in danger.

After the boy was sent back to the royal court, David emerged from hiding, and he and Jonathan swore eternal friendship before being forced to part.

The photo shows a painting by Frederic Leighton (1868) depicting Jonathan about to shoot the three arrows to warn David (at theMinneapolis Institute of Art).

You can read more about David and Jonathan @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/30-israel-becomes-a-kingdom-under-saul-and-david/saul-becomes-jealous-of-david/

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