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Chapter 20

1David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity?” and “What is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?”

2He said to him, “Far from it; you shall not die: behold, my father does nothing either great or small, but that he discloses it to me; and why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so.”

3David swore moreover, and said, Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes; and he says, Don’t let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as Yahweh lives, and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death. 4Then said Jonathan to David, Whatever your soul desires, I will even do it for you. 5David said to Jonathan, Behold, tomorrow 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 to the third day at evening. 6If your father miss me at all, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city; for it is the yearly sacrifice there for all the family. 7If he says, ‘It is well;’ your servant shall have peace: but if he be angry, then know that evil is determined by him. 8Therefore deal kindly with your servant; for you have brought your servant into a covenant of Yahweh with you: but if there be in me iniquity, kill me yourself; for why should you bring me to your father? 9Jonathan said, Far be it from you; for if I should at all know that evil were determined by my father to come on you, then wouldn’t I tell you that? 10Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me if perchance your father answer you roughly? 11Jonathan said to David, Come, and let us go out into the field. They went out both of them into the field. 12Jonathan said to David, Yahweh, the God of Israel, be witness: when I have sounded my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if there be good toward David, shall I not then send to you, and disclose it to you? 13Yahweh do so to Jonathan, and more also, should it please my father to do you evil, if I don’t disclose it to you, and send you away, that you may go in peace: and Yahweh be with you, as he has been with my father. 14You shall not only while yet I live show me the loving kindness of Yahweh, that I not die; 15but also you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever; no, not when Yahweh has cut off the enemies of David everyone from the surface of the earth. 16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Yahweh will require it at the hand of David’s enemies. 17Jonathan caused David to swear again, for the love that he had to him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 18Then Jonathan said to him, Tomorrow is the new moon: and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19When you have stayed three days, you shall go down quickly, and come to the place where you did hide yourself when the business was in hand, and shall remain by the stone Ezel. 20I will shoot three arrows on the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21Behold, I will send the boy, saying, Go, find the arrows. If I tell the boy, Behold, the arrows are on this side of you; take them, and come; for there is peace to you and no hurt, as Yahweh lives. 22But if I say thus to the boy, Behold, the arrows are beyond you; go your way; for Yahweh has sent you away. 23As touching the matter which you and I have spoken of, behold, Yahweh is between you and me forever. 24So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat food. 25The king sat on his seat, as at other times, even on the seat by the wall; and Jonathan stood up, and Abner sat by Saul’s side: but David’s place was empty. 26Nevertheless Saul didn’t say anything that day: for he thought, Something has happened to him. He is not clean. Surely he is not clean. 27It happened on the next day after the new moon, which was the second day, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said to Jonathan his son, Why doesn’t the son of Jesse come to meat, neither yesterday, nor today? 28Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem: 29and he said, Please let me go, for our family has a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he has commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away, I pray you, and see my brothers. Therefore he is not come to the king’s table. 30Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, You son of a perverse rebellious woman, don’t I know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom. Therefore now send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.

32Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?”

33Saul cast his spear at him to strike him. By this Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month; for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame. 35It happened in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little boy with him. 36He said to his boy, Run, find now the arrows which I shoot. As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37When the boy was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the boy, and said, Isn’t the arrow beyond you? 38Jonathan cried after the boy, Go fast! Hurry! Don’t delay! Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows, and came to his master. 39But the boy didn’t know anything: only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy, and said to him, Go, carry them to the city. 41As soon as the boy 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. 42Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of Yahweh, saying, Yahweh shall be between me and you, and between my seed and your seed, forever. He arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.

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