And the king sat upon his seat as at other times
Upon the seat he usually sat on:
[even] upon a seat by the wall;
on a couch by the side of the wall; or, as Jarchi and R. Isaiah say, at the head of the couch by the wall, which was the most honourable place; and Kimchi observes, it was the custom in those days to eat meat sitting on beds or couches, see ( 1 Samuel 28:23-25 ) ;
and Jonathan arose;
either in reverence to his father, when he came in and took his seat, or in respect to Abner upon his coming in, being the son of Saul's uncle, and general of the army; for though he arose, he did not depart, it is plain he sat down again, ( 1 Samuel 20:34 ) . Kimchi thinks, that after Jonathan had sat down at the side of his father, he arose and placed Abner there, because he would not be near his father, that if he should be wroth with him on account of David, he might not be near him to smite him:
and Abner sat by Saul's side;
according to Josephus F3 Jonathan sat at his right hand and Abner on the left, and it was usual for the master, or principal person, to sit in the middle; so Dido in Virgil F4. Abarbinel places them thus, Saul was at the head of the table, and David was used to sit by him, and Jonathan by David, and Abner by Jonathan; and now the king sat in his place, and Jonathan in his place, and Abner after him; and David's place being empty, Jonathan was left next to his father, without any between; wherefore he now arose from his place, and Abner sat on that side where Saul was, so that Abner was between Jonathan and Saul:
and David's place was empty;
where he used to sit at table, he not being there, and no one taking it.
F3 Antiqu. l. 6. c. 11. sect. 9.
F4 "----- mediamque locavit". Aeneid. 1. prope finem. Vid. Servium in ib.