So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast 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 someone to 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 feast 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 about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.)
Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”