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!"