[1-Samuel 20:1] AND DAVID FLED FROM NAIOTH IN RAMAH, AND CAME AND SAID
BEFORE JONATHAN, WHAT HAVE I DONE? WHAT IS MINE INIQUITY? AND WHAT
IS MY SIN BEFORE THY FATHER, THAT HE SEEKETH MY LIFE?
[1-Samuel 20:2] AND HE SAID UNTO HIM, GOD FORBID; THOU SHALT NOT DIE:
BEHOLD, MY FATHER WILL DO NOTHING EITHER GREAT OR SMALL, BUT THAT HE
WILL SHEW IT ME: AND WHY SHOULD MY FATHER HIDE THIS THING FROM ME? IT IS
Saul had sworn to Jenonathan that he would not kill David [1-Samuel
19:6] yet he had tried to do so. He had thrown a javelin at David [1-Samuel
19:9] and when that missed and David escaped he had sent messengers to
the house of David to arrest him. It had been Michal the daughter of her
father and thew wife of David who had realized the danger that David was in
even more than David himself [1-Samuel 19:11] . How then did Jonathan
believe that Saul had no intention of killing the son of Jesse? It may be
that he attributed the recent homicidal exhibitions of Saul to be
spontaneous outbursts due to jealousy as indeed they actually were and
followed immediately upon yet another great military victory of David
(1-Samuel 19:8-9). According to this explanation (advocated by Eliyahu
Yedid, "Shaul, Bechir HaShem") Jonathan assumed that Saul (in his
normal state) had no decisive intention to break his vow and kill
[1-Samuel 20:3] AND DAVID SWARE MOREOVER, AND SAID, THY FATHER
CERTAINLY KNOWETH THAT I HAVE FOUND GRACE IN THINE EYES; AND HE SAITH, LET NOT
JONATHAN KNOW THIS, LEST HE BE GRIEVED: BUT TRULY AS THE LORD LIVETH,
AND AS THY SOUL LIVETH, THERE IS BUT A STEP BETWEEN ME AND DEATH.
<<STEP>>: Hebrew "PeSA" step. There is "PeSaCH" (Passover); "PaS"
meaning "end, cease"; and "PaS" meaning line or strip; "PeSHaH"
spread; "PeSHa(g)H" sin, pass over the permitted; All these words are
linked to each other and explain the English words "pass", "past".
David was saying that what may have been the case in the past no
longer held. Saul had progressed from someone whose temper had to be watched
to an antagonist in a permanent state of enmity. Despite this even David
was not certain and so he was to request Jonathan to test the matter.
David was in mortal danger. He was fleeing for his life. He had been
saved by miracles but there was no way of knowing if the miracles would
continue. Miracles happen but one is forbidden to rely on miracles.
[1-Samuel 20:4] THEN SAID JONATHAN UNTO DAVID, WHATSOEVER THY SOUL
DESIRETH, I WILL EVEN DO IT FOR THEE.
[1-Samuel 20:5] AND DAVID SAID UNTO JONATHAN, BEHOLD, TO MORROW IS THE
NEW MOON, AND I SHOULD NOT FAIL TO SIT WITH THE KING AT MEAT: BUT LET ME
GO, THAT I MAY HIDE MYSELF IN THE FIELD UNTO THE THIRD DAY AT EVEN.
<<THE NEW MOON>> The day (or days) of the New Moon" were traditionally
half-holidays and in some ways they still are.
Shimeon Ben-Ephrat ("Mikra Yisrael") points out that in Biblical Times
the Day of the New Moon was a holiday on which one went to visit the
Prophet (2-Kings 4:23), abstained from merchandising (Amos 8:5),
gathered together in the Sanctuary (Isaiah 1:13), and offered up special
sacrifices (Numbers 28:11). The Day of the New Moon was sometimes celebrated on
two consecutive days (1-Samuel 20:27) since it was not always possible to
be absolutely sure on which day the moon had renewed itself and there were
other reasons. In the Court of King Saul it was apparently (1-Samuel
20:24-26) the practice to hold a feast on the Day of the New Moon in
which all important functionaries of the monarch were expected to
<<I SHOULD NOT FAIL TO SIT WITH THE KING>>: David was one of the most
important officials in the Kingdom and his position obligated him to
sit beside the king.
[1-Samuel 20:6] IF THY FATHER AT ALL MISS ME, THEN SAY, DAVID EARNESTLY
ASKED LEAVE OF ME THAT HE MIGHT RUN TO BETHLEHEM HIS CITY: FOR THERE
IS A YEARLY SACRIFICE THERE FOR ALL THE FAMILY.
Family get-togethers were possible are a very good practice. One of
the faults of "Anglo-Saxon" society is that family kinships are not valued
so much. It is not unusual for cousins to hardly know each other and for
brothers to seldom speak. This is a waste of the natural affinities
you were born with. One should try and maintain amicable relations with all
the family including distant cousins and those who are only remotely
related. When one gets older one realizes these things but then it is often too late.
[1-Samuel 20:7] IF HE SAY THUS, IT IS WELL; THY SERVANT SHALL HAVE
PEACE: BUT IF HE BE VERY WROTH, THEN BE SURE THAT EVIL IS DETERMINED
[1-Samuel 20:8] THEREFORE THOU SHALT DEAL KINDLY WITH THY SERVANT; FOR
THOU HAST BROUGHT THY SERVANT INTO A COVENANT OF THE LORD WITH THEE:
NOTWITHSTANDING, IF THERE BE IN ME INIQUITY, SLAY ME THYSELF; FOR WHY
SHOULDEST THOU BRING ME TO THY FATHER?
[1-Samuel 20:9] AND JONATHAN SAID, FAR BE IT FROM THEE: FOR IF I KNEW
CERTAINLY THAT EVIL WERE DETERMINED BY MY FATHER TO COME UPON THEE,
THEN WOULD NOT I TELL IT THEE?
[1-Samuel 20:10] THEN SAID DAVID TO JONATHAN, WHO SHALL TELL ME? OR
WHAT IF THY FATHER ANSWER THEE ROUGHLY?
[1-Samuel 20:11] AND JONATHAN SAID UNTO DAVID, COME, AND LET US GO OUT
INTO THE FIELD. AND THEY WENT OUT BOTH OF THEM INTO THE FIELD.
[1-Samuel 20:12] AND JONATHAN SAID UNTO DAVID, O LORD GOD OF ISRAEL,
WHEN I HAVE SOUNDED MY FATHER ABOUT TO MORROW ANY TIME, OR THE THIRD DAY,
AND, BEHOLD, IF THERE BE GOOD TOWARD DAVID, AND I THEN SEND NOT UNTO THEE,
AND SHEW IT THEE;
<< O LORD GOD OF ISRAEL>>: God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and
earth and all within them is the God of Israel. He reveals Himself through
the People of Israel.
[1-Samuel 20:13] THE LORD DO SO AND MUCH MORE TO JONATHAN: BUT IF IT
PLEASE MY FATHER TO DO THEE EVIL, THEN I WILL SHEW IT THEE, AND SEND
THEE AWAY, THAT THOU MAYEST GO IN PEACE: AND THE LORD BE WITH THEE, AS HE
HATH BEEN WITH MY FATHER.
<<THE LORD DO SO>>: Jonathan made an oath in the name of God. Nowadays
people are different, in some ways weaker and in others just not the
same. We try not to make oaths in our time.
"BE NOT RASH WITH THY MOUTH, AND LET NOT THINE HEART BE HASTY TO UTTER
ANY THING BEFORE GOD: FOR GOD IS IN HEAVEN, AND THOU UPON EARTH: THEREFORE
LET THY WORDS BE FEW" [The Preacher-Ecclesiastes 5:2].
"SUFFER NOT THY MOUTH TO CAUSE THY FLESH TO SIN; NEITHER SAY THOU
BEFORE THE ANGEL, THAT IT WAS AN ERROR: WHEREFORE SHOULD GOD BE ANGRY AT THY
VOICE, AND DESTROY THE WORK OF THINE HANDS?
"FOR IN THE MULTITUDE OF DREAMS AND MANY WORDS THERE ARE ALSO DIVERS
VANITIES: BUT FEAR THOU GOD" [The Preacher-Ecclesiastes 5:6-7].
[1-Samuel 20:14] AND THOU SHALT NOT ONLY WHILE YET I LIVE SHEW ME THE
KINDNESS OF THE LORD, THAT I DIE NOT:
Jonathan was a hero and a man of God in his own right. He had a
premonition that David would be king but that he might not live to se it
(see Yehudah Kiel, "Daat Mikra")..
[1-Samuel 20:15] BUT ALSO THOU SHALT NOT CUT OFF THY KINDNESS FROM MY
HOUSE FOR EVER: NO, NOT WHEN THE LORD HATH CUT OFF THE ENEMIES OF DAVID
EVERY ONE FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH.
[1-Samuel 20:16] SO JONATHAN MADE A COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF DAVID,
SAYING, LET THE LORD EVEN REQUIRE IT AT THE HAND OF DAVID'S ENEMIES.
The Covenant was made not only between David and Jonathan but between
their descendants. It is interesting to note (as we discussed in "The Tribes"
and "Joseph") that the USA before being called "Uncle Sam" bore the
nickname "Brother Jonathan".
[1-Samuel 20:17] AND JONATHAN CAUSED DAVID TO SWEAR AGAIN, BECAUSE HE
LOVED HIM: FOR HE LOVED HIM AS HE LOVED HIS OWN SOUL.
[1-Samuel 20:18] THEN JONATHAN SAID TO DAVID, TO MORROW IS THE NEW
MOON: AND THOU SHALT BE MISSED, BECAUSE THY SEAT WILL BE EMPTY.
[1-Samuel 20:19] AND WHEN THOU HAST STAYED THREE DAYS, THEN THOU SHALT
GO DOWN QUICKLY, AND COME TO THE PLACE WHERE THOU DIDST HIDE THYSELF WHEN
THE BUSINESS WAS IN HAND, AND SHALT REMAIN BY THE STONE EZEL.
<<THREE DAYS>> Hebrew "VeShilashta" "And three times"? Meaning is
unclear. Yehudah Kiel points out that from the verse below (1-Samuel
20:35) the intended meeting took place after the two full days of the
New Moon and the following night i.e. in the morning of the third
[1-Samuel 20:20] AND I WILL SHOOT THREE ARROWS ON THE SIDE THEREOF, AS
THOUGH I SHOT AT A MARK.
[1-Samuel 20:21] AND, BEHOLD, I WILL SEND A LAD, SAYING, GO, FIND OUT
THE ARROWS. IF I EXPRESSLY SAY UNTO THE LAD, BEHOLD, THE ARROWS ARE ON
THIS SIDE OF THEE, TAKE THEM; THEN COME THOU: FOR THERE IS PEACE TO THEE,
AND NO HURT; AS THE LORD LIVETH.
[1-Samuel 20:22] BUT IF I SAY THUS UNTO THE YOUNG MAN, BEHOLD, THE
ARROWS ARE BEYOND THEE; GO THY WAY: FOR THE LORD HATH SENT THEE AWAY.
[1-Samuel 20:23] AND AS TOUCHING THE MATTER WHICH THOU AND I HAVE
SPOKEN OF, BEHOLD, THE LORD BE BETWEEN THEE AND ME FOR EVER.
[1-Samuel 20:24] SO DAVID HID HIMSELF IN THE FIELD: AND WHEN THE NEW
MOON WAS COME, THE KING SAT HIM DOWN TO EAT MEAT.
[1-Samuel 20:25] AND THE KING SAT UPON HIS SEAT, AS AT OTHER TIMES,
EVEN UPON A SEAT BY THE WALL: AND JONATHAN AROSE, AND ABNER SAT BY SAUL'S
SIDE, AND DAVID'S PLACE WAS EMPTY.
[1-Samuel 20:26] NEVERTHELESS SAUL SPAKE NOT ANY THING THAT DAY: FOR HE
THOUGHT, SOMETHING HATH BEFALLEN HIM, HE IS NOT CLEAN; SURELY HE IS
Someone could become unclean in several ways including a nocturnal
emission which is what the Commentators say is intended here. Usually it would
be enough for an unclean person to immerse himself in a spring, river, or
pool of water but in order to eat sanctified food one would be
required after immersion to wait until the evening (Leviticus 15:17
Deuteronomy 23:11). It may be that the regular New Moon Festival Meal
in the Court of Saul was treated on the same level as sanctified food.
[1-Samuel 20:27] AND IT CAME TO PASS ON THE MORROW, WHICH WAS THE
SECOND DAY OF THE MONTH, THAT DAVID'S PLACE WAS EMPTY: AND SAUL SAID UNTO
JONATHAN HIS SON, WHEREFORE COMETH NOT THE SON OF JESSE TO MEAT,
NEITHER YESTERDAY, NOR TO DAY?
[1-Samuel 20:28] AND JONATHAN ANSWERED SAUL, DAVID EARNESTLY ASKED
LEAVE OF ME TO GO TO BETHLEHEM:
[1-Samuel 20:29] AND HE SAID, LET ME GO, I PRAY THEE; FOR OUR FAMILY
HATH A SACRIFICE IN THE CITY; AND MY BROTHER, HE HATH COMMANDED ME TO BE
THERE: AND NOW, IF I HAVE FOUND FAVOUR IN THINE EYES, LET ME GET AWAY,
I PRAY THEE, AND SEE MY BRETHREN. THEREFORE HE COMETH NOT UNTO THE
<<MY BROTHER>>: Usually understood to refer to Abiel the elder brother
of David and the first-born son of Jesse the father of David. Even though
David by that time was by far the most important of the two David would
still have been expected to show some deference to his eldest brother
in family matters.
[1-Samuel 20:30] THEN SAUL'S ANGER WAS KINDLED AGAINST JONATHAN, AND HE
SAID UNTO HIM, THOU SON OF THE PERVERSE REBELLIOUS WOMAN, DO NOT I
KNOW THAT THOU HAST CHOSEN THE SON OF JESSE TO THINE OWN CONFUSION, AND
UNTO THE CONFUSION OF THY MOTHER'S NAKEDNESS?
He was born because his mother gave herself unto his father. To honor
the giving of his mother he should be loyal to the line of his father and
to his own line. From an objective point of view Saul had a point.
Jonathan was the Crown Prince, a hero of Israel, and a leader in his own right
yet he was overshadowed by David.
<<THE PERVERSE REBELLIOUS WOMAN>>: A whole legend has grown up around
this expression. They say that when the bereaved males of Benjamin went to
Shiloh (Judges 21:23) to grab wives for themselves Saul was with
them. Saul however was much too modest and shy to capture a girl for
himself so an enterprising maiden (named Achinoam) amongst the dancing
damsels grabbed him! She did this since she saw what noble qualities
Saul possessed and she wanted to bear children from such a refined
gentleman. As a result of this union, Jonathan, who indeed was of royal character
entered the world. By preferring to help David against the interests
of the dynasty of Saul Jonathan in the eyes of Saul was hurting himself.
He was (according to Saul) betraying the effrontery of his mother which
retroactively could be justified only if Jonathan were to become king.
[1-Samuel 20:31] FOR AS LONG AS THE SON OF JESSE LIVETH UPON THE
GROUND, THOU SHALT NOT BE ESTABLISHED, NOR THY KINGDOM. WHEREFORE NOW SEND AND
FETCH HIM UNTO ME, FOR HE SHALL SURELY DIE.
Saul is admitting that he intends to kill David, that David had not
committed any crime, only that David posed a potential threat to the
stability of the royal line.
[1-Samuel 20:32] AND JONATHAN ANSWERED SAUL HIS FATHER, AND SAID UNTO
HIM, WHEREFORE SHALL HE BE SLAIN? WHAT HATH HE DONE?
Jonathan was not denying that with David around the lineage
of Saul (meaning Jonathan himself) might have difficulty in asserting
itself. Nevertheless since David was not responsible forb this state
of affairs and had no offensive intention he did not deserve to be treated
as an enemy.
[1-Samuel 20:33] AND SAUL CAST A JAVELIN AT HIM TO SMITE HIM: WHEREBY
JONATHAN KNEW THAT IT WAS DETERMINED OF HIS FATHER TO SLAY
[1-Samuel 20:34] SO JONATHAN AROSE FROM THE TABLE IN FIERCE ANGER, AND
DID EAT NO MEAT THE SECOND DAY OF THE MONTH: FOR HE WAS GRIEVED FOR
DAVID, BECAUSE HIS FATHER HAD DONE HIM SHAME.
[1-Samuel 20:35] AND IT CAME TO PASS IN THE MORNING, THAT JONATHAN WENT
OUT INTO THE FIELD AT THE TIME APPOINTED WITH DAVID, AND A LITTLE LAD WITH HIM.
[1-Samuel 20:36] AND HE SAID UNTO HIS LAD, RUN, FIND OUT NOW THE ARROWS
WHICH I SHOOT. AND AS THE LAD RAN, HE SHOT AN ARROW BEYOND HIM.
[1-Samuel 20:37] AND WHEN THE LAD WAS COME TO THE PLACE OF THE ARROW
WHICH JONATHAN HAD SHOT, JONATHAN CRIED AFTER THE LAD, AND SAID, IS NOT THE
ARROW BEYOND THEE?
[1-Samuel 20:38] AND JONATHAN CRIED AFTER THE LAD, MAKE SPEED, HASTE,
STAY NOT. AND JONATHAN'S LAD GATHERED UP THE ARROWS, AND CAME TO HIS MASTER.
[1-Samuel 20:39] BUT THE LAD KNEW NOT ANY THING: ONLY JONATHAN AND
DAVID KNEW THE MATTER.
[1-Samuel 20:40] AND JONATHAN GAVE HIS ARTILLERY UNTO HIS LAD, AND SAID
UNTO HIM, GO, CARRY THEM TO THE CITY.
[1-Samuel 20:41] AND AS SOON AS THE LAD WAS GONE, DAVID AROSE OUT OF A
PLACE TOWARD THE SOUTH, AND FELL ON HIS FACE TO THE GROUND, AND BOWED
HIMSELF THREE TIMES: AND THEY KISSED ONE ANOTHER, AND WEPT ONE WITH
ANOTHER, UNTIL DAVID EXCEEDED.
They wept for each other. David had an instinctive awareness that
despite the trouble he was in he would come through them safely whereas
Jonathan would not. That was why David wept more. He was weeping for Jonathan.
[1-Samuel 20:42] AND JONATHAN SAID TO DAVID, GO IN PEACE, FORASMUCH AS
WE HAVE SWORN BOTH OF US IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, SAYING, THE LORD BE
BETWEEN ME AND THEE, AND BETWEEN MY SEED AND THY SEED FOR EVER. AND HE AROSE
AND DEPARTED: AND JONATHAN WENT INTO THE CITY.
Jonathan understood the same as David and accepted it. What will be
will be. Only he asked David to look after his family and he did so.
Yehudah Kile ("Sefer Shmuel" and "Sefer Dvirei HaYamim" p.123, Daat
Mikra) points out that later David kept his promise to Jonathan and to the
House of Saul in general despite some provocations. David was to take care
of Mephiboshet the crippled son of Jonathan (2-Samuel 9:7).
Jonathan was to have very many descendants who would dwell in Jerusalem
and in the cities of Benjamin around Jerusalem (1-Chronicles 8:40).
There appear to have been descendants of Jonathan in the
administration of David as we hope to show later.
Mordecai " the Jew" who saved all Israel at the time of Exile was a
descendant of Saul (Esther 2:5-6).
[Esther 2:5] NOW IN SHUSHAN THE PALACE THERE WAS A CERTAIN JEW,
WHOSE NAME WAS MORDECAI, THE SON OF JAIR, THE SON OF SHIMEI, THE SON OF KISH,
<<A CERTAIN JEW>>: in Hebrew "Ish Yehudi" = "a man of Judah". Even
though he was a "Benjaminite" by Tribe he was considered "a man of Judah" by
nation. The same applies for all those of the other tribes who
remained in the southern kingdom or re-attached themselves to descendants of its
former citizens. They are all considered "Jews" or people of Judah. On the
other hand those of Judah who went into exile with the LTTs (Lost Ten Tribes)
are considered part of the LTTs. In the last days however each person will
know his/her tribal identity and be re-attached to their tribe. The women
will go according to their husbands. The non-Israelite sojourners (says
Ezekiel 47:22) will be accorded a portion amongst whichever tribe they had
[Esther 2:6] WHO HAD BEEN CARRIED AWAY FROM JERUSALEM WITH THE
CAPTIVITY WHICH HAD BEEN CARRIED AWAY WITH JECONIAH KING OF JUDAH, WHOM
NEBUCHADNEZZAR THE KING OF BABYLON HAD CARRIED AWAY.
The exile of Jeconiah (Jehoiacin) was a preliminary exile and concerned
the upper classes (2-Kings 24:14) while the lower ranks were to be exiled
later. Mordecai apparently had held a senior post in the administration
of King Jeconiah (Jehoiacin) . Yehudah Kiel ("Sefer Divrei HaYamim"
p.143) sees this as a continued hereditary association between the
descendants of Jonathan and those of David.
Descendants of Jonathan are listed in 1-Chronilces chapter 8 and
Descendants of Jonathan were destined to return to Judah with Ezra and
"And I will bless them that bless you" (Genesis 12:15).