Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan was very fond of David
and warned him, "My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there.
I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I'll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out."
Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, "Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly.
He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?"
Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: "As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death."
So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.
Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.
But an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the harp,
Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.
Saul sent men to David's house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, warned him, "If you don't run for your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be killed."
So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped.
Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats' hair at the head.
When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, "He is ill."
Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, "Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him."
But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats' hair.
Saul said to Michal, "Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?" Michal told him, "He said to me, 'Let me get away. Why should I kill you?' "
When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there.
Word came to Saul: "David is in Naioth at Ramah";
so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came upon Saul's men and they also prophesied.
Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied.
Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Secu. And he asked, "Where are Samuel and David?" "Over in Naioth at Ramah," they said.
So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth.
He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel's presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, "Is Saul also among the prophets?"
Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, "What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?"
"Never!" Jonathan replied. "You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn't do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It's not so!"
But David took an oath and said, "Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, 'Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.' Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death."
Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you want me to do, I'll do for you."
So David said, "Look, tomorrow is the New Moon festival, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow.
If your father misses me at all, tell him, 'David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.'
If he says, 'Very well,' then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me.
As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the LORD. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself ! Why hand me over to your father?"
"Never!" Jonathan said. "If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn't I tell you?"
David asked, "Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?"
"Come," Jonathan said, "let's go out into the field." So they went there together.
Then Jonathan said to David: "By the LORD, the God of Israel, I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know?
But if my father is inclined to harm you, may the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father.
But show me unfailing kindness like that of the LORD as long as I live, so that I may not be killed,
and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family--not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth."
So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "May the LORD call David's enemies to account."
And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.
Then Jonathan said to David: "Tomorrow is the New Moon festival. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty.
The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel.
I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target.
Then I will send a boy and say, 'Go, find the arrows.' If I say to him, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,' then come, because, as surely as the LORD lives, you are safe; there is no danger.
But if I say to the boy, 'Look, the arrows are beyond you,' then you must go, because the LORD has sent you away.
And about the matter you and I discussed--remember, the LORD is witness between you and me forever."
So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon festival came, the king sat down to eat.
He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David's place was empty.
Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, "Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean--surely he is unclean."
But the next day, the second day of the month, David's place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, "Why hasn't the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?"
Jonathan answered, "David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem.
He said, 'Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.' That is why he has not come to the king's table."
Saul's anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, "You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don't I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you?
As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send and bring him to me, for he must die!"
"Why should he be put to death? What has he done?" Jonathan asked his father.
But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.
Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the month he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father's shameful treatment of David.
In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him,
and he said to the boy, "Run and find the arrows I shoot." As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.
When the boy came to the place where Jonathan's arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, "Isn't the arrow beyond you?"
Then he shouted, "Hurry! Go quickly! Don't stop!" The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master.
(The boy knew nothing of all this; only Jonathan and David knew.)
Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, "Go, carry them back to town."
After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side [of the stone] and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together--but David wept the most.
Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.' " Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.
David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he met him, and asked, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?"
David answered Ahimelech the priest, "The king charged me with a certain matter and said to me, 'No one is to know anything about your mission and your instructions.' As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place.
Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find."
But the priest answered David, "I don't have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here--provided the men have kept themselves from women."
David replied, "Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men's things are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!"
So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.
Now one of Saul's servants was there that day, detained before the LORD; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul's head shepherd.
David asked Ahimelech, "Don't you have a spear or a sword here? I haven't brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king's business was urgent."
The priest replied, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one." David said, "There is none like it; give it to me."
That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath.
But the servants of Achish said to him, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about in their dances: " 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?"
David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath.
So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.
Achish said to his servants, "Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me?
Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?"