Amplified Bible

1 Samuel 20

David and Jonathan’s Covenant

1David fled from Naioth in Ramah and he came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my [a]guilt? What is my sin before (against) your father, that he is seeking my life?” Jonathan said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. My father does nothing [b]important or insignificant without telling me. So why would he hide this thing from me? It is not so!” But David vowed again, saying “Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be worried.’ But truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the New Moon [observance], and I should sit at the table to eat [the sacrificial meal] with the king; but let me go, so that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked permission from me to go to Bethlehem, his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the entire family.’ If he says, ‘All right,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, then be certain that he has decided on evil. Therefore show kindness to your servant, because you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is iniquity (guilt) in me, kill me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father [to be killed]?” Jonathan said, “Far be it from [happening to] you! In fact, if I indeed learn that my father has decided to harm you, would I not tell you about it?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11 Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field [to talk].” So they went out to the field.

12 Then Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, is my witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he has a good feeling toward [c]you, shall I not then send word to you and make it known to you? 13 But if it pleases my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to Jonathan, and more if I do not let you know about it and send you away, so that you may go in [d]safety. And [e]may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness and faithfulness of the Lord, [f]so that I will not die? 15 You shall never cut off your lovingkindness and faithfulness from my house, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the [g]house of David. [[h]He added,] “May [i]the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies. [that is, hold them accountable for any harm they inflict on David].” 17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, for Jonathan loved him as himself.

18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon [festival], and you will be missed because your seat will be empty. 19 When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself [j]on that eventful day [when my father tried to kill you], and shall stay by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a target. 21 And I will send a boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come [back to my father’s table]; for it is [k]safe for you and there is [l]no danger, as the Lord lives. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever [making sure that we each keep our word].”

24 So David hid in the field; and when the New Moon [festival] came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat as on previous occasions, on his seat by the wall; then Jonathan stood up, and Abner [his commander] sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “It is an incident [of some kind] and [m]he is not [ceremonially] clean—surely he is unclean.” 27 But on the next day, the second day of the new moon, David’s place was empty [again]; and Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Please let me go because our family is holding a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. Now, if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me slip away so that I may see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.”

Saul Is Angry with Jonathan

30 Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a [n]wayward, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse [over me] to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you [as heir to the throne] nor your kingdom will be established. So now, send [someone] and bring him to me, for he [o]must die.” 32 Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why must he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down, so Jonathan knew [without any doubt] that his father had decided to put David to death. 34 Then Jonathan stood up from the table in the heat of anger, and ate no food on that second day of the new moon (month), for he grieved and worried about David because his father had dishonored him.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for the meeting with David, and a young boy was with him. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run, please find the arrows which I am about to shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan called to him, “Is the arrow not beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called out after the boy, “Hurry, be quick, do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy picked up the arrow and came back to his master. 39 But the boy was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40 Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go, take them to the city.” 41 As soon as the boy was gone, David got up from the south side [beside the mound of stones] and fell on his face to the ground [in submission and respect], and bowed three times. Then they kissed one another and wept together, but David wept more. 42 Jonathan told David, “Go [p]in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and yours forever.’” [q]Then he stood and left, while Jonathan went into the city.

Notas al pie

  1. 1 Samuel 20:1 Or iniquity.
  2. 1 Samuel 20:2 Lit great or small.
  3. 1 Samuel 20:12 Lit David.
  4. 1 Samuel 20:13 Lit shalom.
  5. 1 Samuel 20:13 With this statement Jonathan acknowledges that David has been anointed king.
  6. 1 Samuel 20:14 To secure his throne a new king would usually kill anyone who was a potential rival for the throne. Jonathan is asking assurance that he will not be assassinated after David becomes king.
  7. 1 Samuel 20:16 This covenant was binding not only on David and Jonathan, but also on their descendants.
  8. 1 Samuel 20:16 This may have been the additional vow mentioned in v 17.
  9. 1 Samuel 20:16 Jonathan was aligning himself with David against all of David’s enemies, including Saul.
  10. 1 Samuel 20:19 Lit on the day of the doing.
  11. 1 Samuel 20:21 Lit shalom.
  12. 1 Samuel 20:21 Lit nothing.
  13. 1 Samuel 20:26 Saul assumed that David had come into contact with a source of ritual pollution, such as a corpse, and was for that reason temporarily disqualified from participating in the New Moon Festival.
  14. 1 Samuel 20:30 The vulgar language of this Hebrew idiom demeaned Jonathan, not his mother, and Saul implied that she was ashamed of giving birth to him.
  15. 1 Samuel 20:31 Lit is a son of death.
  16. 1 Samuel 20:42 Lit in shalom.
  17. 1 Samuel 20:42 In Hebrew, this is v 1 of the next chapter making the versification different throughout ch 21.

New International Reader's Version

1 Samuel 20

David and Jonathan

1David was in Naioth at Ramah. He ran away from there to where Jonathan was. He asked him, “What have I done? What crime have I committed? I haven’t done anything to harm your father. So why is he trying to kill me?”

“That will never happen!” Jonathan replied. “You aren’t going to die! My father doesn’t do anything at all without letting me know. So why would he hide this from me? He isn’t going to kill you!”

But David strongly disagreed. He said, “Your father knows very well that you are pleased with me. He has said to himself, ‘I don’t want Jonathan to know I’m planning to kill David. If he finds out, he’ll be very sad.’ But I’m very close to being killed. And that’s just as sure as the Lord and you are alive.”

Jonathan said to David, “I’ll do anything you want me to do for you.”

So David said, “Tomorrow is the time for the New Moon feast. I’m supposed to eat with the king. But let me go and hide in the field. I’ll stay there until the evening of the day after tomorrow. Your father might miss me. If he does, then tell him, ‘David begged me to let him hurry home to Bethlehem. A yearly sacrifice is being offered there for his whole family group.’ Your father might say, ‘That’s all right.’ If he does, it will mean I’m safe. But he might become very angry. If he does, you can be sure he’s made up his mind to harm me. Please be kind to me. You have made a covenant with me in front of the Lord. If I’m guilty, kill me yourself! Don’t hand me over to your father!”

“I would never do that!” Jonathan said. “Suppose I had even the smallest clue that my father had made up his mind to harm you. Then I would tell you.”

10 David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you in a mean way?”

11 “Come on,” Jonathan said. “Let’s go out to the field.” So they went there together.

12 Then Jonathan spoke to David. He said, “I promise you that I’ll find out what my father is planning to do. I’ll find out by this time the day after tomorrow. The Lord, the God of Israel, is my witness. Suppose my father has kind feelings toward you. Then I’ll send you a message and let you know. 13 But suppose he wants to harm you. And I don’t let you know about it. Suppose I don’t help you get away in peace. Then may the Lord punish me greatly. May he be with you, just as he has been with my father. 14 But always be kind to me, just as the Lord is. Be kind to me as long as I live. Then I won’t be killed. 15 And never stop being kind to my family. Don’t stop even when the Lord has cut off every one of your enemies from the face of the earth.”

16 So Jonathan made a covenant of friendship with David and his family. He said, “May the Lord hold David’s enemies responsible for what they’ve done.” 17 Jonathan had David promise his friendship again because he loved him. In fact, Jonathan loved David just as he loved himself.

18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the time for the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat at the table will be empty. 19 Go to the place where you hid when all this trouble began. Go there the day after tomorrow, when evening is approaching. There’s a stone out there called Ezel. 20 Wait by it. I’ll shoot three arrows to one side of the stone. I’ll pretend I’m practicing my shooting. 21 Then I’ll send a boy out there. I’ll tell him, ‘Go and find the arrows.’ Suppose I say to him, ‘The arrows are on this side of you. Bring them here.’ Then come. That will mean you are safe. You won’t be in any danger. And that’s just as sure as the Lord is alive. 22 But suppose I tell the boy, ‘The arrows are far beyond you.’ Then go. That will mean the Lord is sending you away. 23 And remember what we talked about. Remember that the Lord is a witness between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid in the field. When the time for the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his usual place by the wall. Jonathan sat across from him. Abner sat next to Saul. But David’s place was empty. 26 Saul didn’t say anything that day. He said to himself, “Something must have happened to David to make him ‘unclean.’ That must be why he isn’t here.” 27 But the next day, David’s place was empty again. It was the second day of the month. Finally, Saul spoke to his son Jonathan. He said, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal? He hasn’t been here yesterday or today.”

28 Jonathan replied, “David begged me to let him go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go. Our family is offering a sacrifice in the town. My brother has ordered me to be there. Are you pleased with me? If you are, let me go and see my brothers.’ That’s why he hasn’t come to eat at your table.”

30 Saul became very angry with Jonathan. He said to him, “You are an evil son. You have refused to obey me. I know that you are on the side of Jesse’s son. You should be ashamed of that. And your mother should be ashamed of having a son like you. 31 You will never be king as long as Jesse’s son lives on this earth. And you will never have a kingdom either. So send someone to bring the son of Jesse to me. He must die!”

32 “Why do you want to put him to death?” Jonathan asked his father. “What has he done?” 33 But Saul threw his spear at Jonathan to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father wanted to kill David.

34 So Jonathan got up from the table. He was very angry. On that second day of the feast, he refused to eat. He was very sad that his father was treating David so badly.

35 The next morning Jonathan went out to the field to meet David. He took a young boy with him. 36 He said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, Jonathan shot an arrow far beyond him. 37 The boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen. Then Jonathan shouted to him, “The arrow went far beyond you, didn’t it?” 38 He continued, “Hurry up! Run fast! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39 The boy didn’t know what was going on. Only Jonathan and David knew. 40 Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy. He told him, “Go back to town. Take the weapons with you.”

41 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone. He bowed down in front of Jonathan with his face to the ground. He did it three times. Then they kissed each other and cried. But David cried more than Jonathan did.

42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace. In the name of the Lord we’ve promised to be friends. We have said, ‘The Lord is a witness between you and me. He’s a witness between your children and my children forever.’ ” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.