Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 20.1-29
1 Samuel 20.1-29
Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?” 2 He said to him, “Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3 Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.’ But truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.” 4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 So David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. 6 If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the whole family.’ 7 If he says, ‘It is good,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, know that he has decided on evil. 8 Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is iniquity in me, put me to death yourself; for why then should you bring me to your father?” 9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I should indeed learn that evil has been decided by my father to come upon you, then 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, and let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out to the field. 12 Then Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if there is good feeling toward David, shall I not then send to you and make it known to you? 13 If it please my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not make it known to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And 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 of the Lord, that I may not die? 15 You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, 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 house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” 17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life. 18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, 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 on that eventful day, and you shall remain by the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target. 21 And behold, I will send the lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the lad, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come; for there is safety for you and no harm, as the Lord lives. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you,’ 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.” 24 So David hid in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat as usual, the seat by the wall; then Jonathan rose up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Nevertheless Saul did not speak anything that day, for he thought, “It is an accident, he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” 27 It came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David’s place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan then answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, 29 for he said, ‘Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”
Today we see and read a sad chapter in the lives of Saul, Jonathan and David. It becomes clear, Saul is intent on killing David, and that he will even kill his own son if he gets in the way of Saul’s attempts. It is a significant turning point in the relationship between David and Jonathan and between David and Saul. It is the occasion for a confirmation of the covenant between David and Jonathan and also for a very sad parting.
David “flees” to the place where Saul and Jonathan live to where his beloved friend Jonathan can be found. David does not seem to be fleeing from Saul as much as he is fleeing to Jonathan.
Unless David is hypocritical in what he is saying to Jonathan, he does not begin by accusing or attacking Saul. He begins by focusing on his own sin (20.1). David seems to be genuinely interested in knowing if he has done something wrong which has brought about his treatment from Saul.
A change takes place which can be clearly seen in verses 18-23. Jonathan takes the lead in this whole matter. At first, it was all David’s initiative. David fled from Ramah and sought out Jonathan. Jonathan is reluctant to believe what David is telling him about his father. Then, seeing how serious David is about this matter, he agrees to help him however David thinks is best. David proposes a plan that will reveal Saul’s plans with respect to David. Jonathan then carefully spells out a plan by which he will convey the outcome of David’s test to him.
This story of David and Jonathan, reminds of Paul’s instructions to the Galatians, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” May we be like these two when we find ourselves burdened and find a friend to share and by doing so, we will bring glory to Our God, Most High.
Weekly Memory Verse: It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Matthew 10:25