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1 Samuel - Chapter 20

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1 Fleeing from the huts at Ramah, David went and confronted Jonathan, 'What have I done, what is my guilt, how have I wronged your father, for him to want to take my life?'

2 He replied, 'You must not think that! You are not going to die. My father, you see, does nothing, important or unimportant, without confiding in me, so why should my father hide this from me? It is not true.'

3 In reply, David swore, 'Your father knows very well that I enjoy your favour, and thinks, "Jonathan must not know about this or he will be upset." But, as Yahweh lives and as you yourself live, there is only a step between me and death.'

4 At which, Jonathan said to David, 'Whatever you think best, I will certainly do for you.'

5 David replied, 'Look, tomorrow is New Moon and I ought to sit at table with the king, but you must let me go and hide in the countryside until the evening.

6 If your father notices my absence, you must say, "David insistently asked me for permission to hurry over to Bethlehem, his home town, because they are holding the annual sacrifice there for the whole clan."

7 If he says, "Very well," your servant is safe, but if he flies into a rage, you may be sure that he has some evil plan.

8 Show your servant faithful love, since you have bound your servant to you by a pact in Yahweh's name. But if I am guilty, then kill me yourself -- why take me to your father?'

9 Jonathan replied, 'Perish the thought! If I knew for sure that my father was determined to do you a mischief, would I not have told you?'

10 David then said to Jonathan, 'Who will let me know if your father gives you a harsh answer?'

11 Jonathan then said to David, 'Come on, let us go out into the country,' and the pair of them went out into the country.

12 Jonathan then said to David, 'By Yahweh, God of Israel! I shall sound my father this time tomorrow; if all is well for David and I do not then send and inform you,

13 may Yahweh bring unnameable ills to Jonathan and worse ones too! If my father intends to do you a mischief, I shall tell you so and let you get away, so that you can be safe. And may Yahweh be with you as he used to be with my father!

14 If I am still alive, show your servant faithful love; if I die,

15 never withdraw your faithful love from my family. When Yahweh has exterminated every enemy of David's from the face of the earth,

16 do not let Jonathan's name be exterminated with Saul's family, or may Yahweh call David to account!'

17 Jonathan then renewed his oath to David, since he loved him like his very soul.

18 Jonathan then said to David, 'Tomorrow is New Moon; your absence will be noticed, since your place will be empty.

19 The day after tomorrow your absence will be very marked, and you must go to the place where you hid on the day of the deed, and stay beside that mound.

20 For my part, the day after tomorrow I shall shoot three arrows in that direction, as though at a target.

21 I shall then send a servant to go and find the arrows. If I say to him, "The arrows are this side of you, get them," come out, since all will be well for you and nothing the matter, as sure as Yahweh lives.

22 But if I say to him, "The arrows are ahead of you," then be off, for Yahweh himself will be sending you away.

23 And as regards the agreement we made, you and I, why, Yahweh is witness between us for ever.'

24 So David hid in the country; New Moon came and the king sat down to his meal.

25 He sat in his usual place with his back to the wall, Jonathan sat facing him and Abner sat next to Saul; but David's place was empty.

26 Saul said nothing that day, thinking, 'It is sheer chance; he is unclean.'

27 On the day after New Moon, the second day, David's place was still empty.

28 Saul said to his son Jonathan, 'Why did not the son of Jesse come to the meal either yesterday or today?'

29 Jonathan answered Saul, 'David insistently asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. "Please let me go," he said, "for we are holding the clan sacrifice in the town and my brothers have ordered me to attend. So now, if I enjoy your favour, let me get away and see my brothers." That is why he has not come to the king's table.'

30 Saul flew into a rage with Jonathan and said, 'Son of a rebellious slut! Don't I know that you side with the son of Jesse to your own shame and your mother's dishonour?

31 As long as the son of Jesse lives on earth, neither you nor your royal rights are secure. Now have him fetched and brought to me; he deserves to die.'

32 Jonathan retorted to his father Saul, 'Why should he die? What has he done?'

33 But Saul brandished his spear at him to strike him, and Jonathan realised that his father was determined that David should die.

34 Hot with anger, Jonathan got up from the table and ate nothing on the second day of the month, being upset about David -- and because his father had insulted him.

35 Next morning, Jonathan went out into the country at the time agreed with David, taking a young servant with him.

36 He said to his servant, 'Run and find the arrows which I am going to shoot,' and the servant ran while Jonathan shot an arrow ahead of him.

37 When the servant reached the spot to which Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan shouted after him, 'Is not the arrow ahead of you?'

38 Again Jonathan shouted after the servant, 'Quick! Hurry, do not stand around.' Jonathan's servant picked up the arrow and brought it back to his master.

39 The servant suspected nothing; only Jonathan and David knew what was meant.

40 Jonathan then gave his weapons to his servant and said, 'Go and carry them to the town.'

41 As soon as the servant had gone, David stood up beside the mound, threw himself to the ground, prostrating himself three times. They then embraced each other, both weeping copiously.

42 Jonathan then said to David, 'Go in peace. And as regards the oath that both of us have sworn by the name of Yahweh, may Yahweh be witness between you and me, between your descendants and mine for ever.'

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