Shmuel Alef 20

1 0 And Dovid fled from Naiot in Ramah, and came and said before Yonatan, What have I done? What is mine avon? And what is my chattat before avicha, that he seeketh my nefesh?
2 And he said unto him, Chalilah (may it never be!); thou shalt not die: hinei, avi will do nothing either gadol or katon, but that he will reveal it to me; and why should avi hide this thing from me? It is not so.
3 And Dovid took an oath, moreover, and said, Avicha certainly knoweth that I have found chen in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Yonatan know this, lest he be grieved; but truly as Hashem liveth, and as thy nefesh liveth, there is hardly a peysah (step) between me and mavet.
4 Then said Yonatan unto Dovid, Whatsoever thy nefesh saith, I will even do it for thee.
5 And Dovid said unto Yonatan, Hinei, makhar (tomorrow) is Rosh Chodesh, and I should not fail to sit with HaMelech for tish; but let me go, that I may hide myself in the sadeh unto the erev hashlishit.
6 If avicha at all miss me, then say, Dovid earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Beit-Lechem his town; for there is a zevach hayamim there for kol mishpakhat.
7 If he say thus, It is tov; thy eved shall have shalom; but if he be very wrathful, then be sure that ra’ah is determined by him.
8 Therefore thou shalt deal with chesed unto thy eved; for thou hast brought thy eved into Brit Hashem with thee; notwithstanding, if there be in me avon (iniquity), slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to avicha?
9 And Yonatan said, Chalilah (far be it) from thee; for if I had da’as certainly that ra’ah were determined by Avi to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?
10 Then said Dovid to Yonatan, Who shall tell me? Or what if avicha answer thee roughly?
11 And Yonatan said unto Dovid, Come, and let us go out into the sadeh. And they went out both of them into the sadeh.
12 And Yonatan said unto Dovid, Hashem Elohei Yisroel, when I have sounded out Avi at this time on Yom HaShishi from now, and, hinei, if there be tov toward Dovid, and I then send not unto thee, and reveal it in thy ozen (ear);
13 Hashem do so and much more to Yonatan; but if it please Avi to do thee ra’ah, then I will reveal it in thy ozen (ear), and send thee away, that thou mayest go in shalom; and Hashem be with thee, as He hath been with Avi.
14 And thou shalt not only while yet I live show me the chesed Hashem, that I die not;
15 But also thou shalt not cut off thy chesed from my bais ad olam; no, not when Hashem hath cut off the oyevim of Dovid, every one from the pnei ha’adamah.
16 So Yonatan made Brit with the Bais Dovid, saying, Let Hashem even require it at the hands of the oyevim of Dovid.
17 And Yonatan caused Dovid to swear a shevua again, because he loved him; for he loved him with the ahavat nafsho (with the love of his own nefesh, self).
18 Then Yonatan said to Dovid, Makhar (tomorrow) is Rosh Chodesh; and thou shalt be missed, because thy moshav (seat) will be empty.
19 And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the makom (place) where thou didst hide thyself on the day of the ma’aseh (deed, i.e. the eventful earlier day, see v.12), and shalt remain by the even (stone) Ezel.
20 And I will shoot three khitzim (arrows) on the side thereof, as though I shot at a matarah (target).
21 And, hinei, I will send a na’ar, saying, Go, find the khitzim (arrows). If I expressly say unto the na’ar, Hinei, the khitzim (arrows) are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou, for there is shalom to thee, and no davar (problem, concern); as Hashem liveth.
22 But if I say thus unto the elem (youth, young man), Hinei, the khitzim (arrows) are beyond thee, go thy way; for Hashem hath sent thee away.
23 And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, hinei, Hashem be between thee and me ad olam.
24 So Dovid hid himself in the sadeh; and when Rosh Chodesh was come, HaMelech sat him down to eat lechem.
25 And HaMelech sat upon his moshav (seat), as at other times, even upon a moshav by the wall; and Yonatan arose, and Avner sat by Sha’ul’s side, and Dovid’s makom (place) was empty.
26 Nevertheless Sha’ul spoke not anything that day; for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not tahor; surely he is not tahor.
27 And it came to pass on the day after Rosh Chodesh, which was the second day of the month, that Dovid’s makom was empty; and Sha’ul said unto Yonatan bno, Wherefore cometh not Ben Yishai to halechem neither yesterday, nor today?
28 And Yonatan answered Sha’ul, Dovid earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beit-Lechem;
29 And he said, Let me go, now; for we have mishpakhat zevach in the Ir; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there; and now, if I have found chen in thine eyes, let me get away, now, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the Shulchan HaMelech.
30 Then af Sha’ul (anger of Sha’ul) was kindled against Yonatan, and he said unto him, Thou ben of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I have da’as that thou hast chosen Ben Yishai to thine own shame, and unto the shame of ervat immecha (thy mother’s nakedness)?
31 For as long as Ben Yishai liveth al ha’adamah (upon the earth) thou shalt not be established, nor malkhutecha (thy kingdom). Wherefore now send and bring him unto me, for he is ben mavet (son of death, he shall surely die).
32 And Yonatan answered Sha’ul Aviv, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? What hath he done?
33 And Sha’ul cast the khanit (spear) at him to strike him dead; whereby Yonatan knew that it was determined of Aviv to slay Dovid.
34 So Yonatan arose from the shulchan in chari af (fierce anger), and did eat no lechem the second day of the month; for he was grieved for Dovid, because Aviv had shamefully humiliated him.
35 And it came to pass in the boker, that Yonatan went out into the sadeh at the mo’ed (appointed time) with Dovid, and a na’ar katon with him.
36 And he said unto his na’ar, Run, find out now the khitzim (arrows) which I shoot. And as the na’ar ran, he shot a khetz beyond him.
37 And when the na’ar was come to the makom of the khetz which Yonatan had shot, Yonatan cried after the na’ar, and said, Is not the khetz beyond thee?
38 And Yonatan cried after the na’ar, Make speed, haste, stay not. And na’ar Yonatan gathered up the khitzim (arrows), and came to his adon.
39 But the na’ar had no da’as of anything; only Yonatan and Dovid knew the davar (matter).
40 And Yonatan gave his weapons unto his na’ar, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the Ir.
41 And as soon as the na’ar was gone, Dovid arose out of a place toward the negev (south), and fell on his face to the ground, and prostrated himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until Dovid wept exceedingly.
42 And Yonatan said to Dovid, Go in shalom, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the Shem of Hashem, saying, Hashem be between me and thee, and between my zera and thy zera ad olam. [21:1] And he arose and departed: and Yonatan went into the Ir.

Shmuel Alef 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

David consults Jonathan. (1-10) Jonathan's covenant with David. (11-23) Saul, missing David, seeks to kill Jonathan. (24-34) Jonathan takes leave of David. (35-42)

Verses 1-10 The trials David met with, prepared him for future advancement. Thus the Lord deals with those whom he prepares unto glory. He does not put them into immediate possession of the kingdom, but leads them to it through much tribulation, which he makes the means of fitting them for it. Let them not murmur at his gracious appointment, nor distrust his care; but let them look forward with joyful expectation to the crown which is laid up for them. Sometimes it appears to us that there is but a step between us and death; at all times it may be so, and we should prepare for the event. But though dangers appear most threatening, we cannot die till the purpose of God concerning us is accomplished; nor till we have served our generation according to his will, if we are believers. Jonathan generously offers David his services. This is true friendship. Thus Christ testifies his love to us, Ask, and it shall be done for you; and we must testify our love to him, by keeping his commandments.

Verses 11-23 Jonathan faithfully promises that he would let David know how he found his father affected towards him. It will be kindness to ourselves and to ours, to secure an interest in those whom God favours, and to make his friends ours. True friendship rests on a firm basis, and is able to silence ambition, self-love, and undue regard for others. But who can fully understand the love of Jesus, who gave himself as a sacrifice for rebellious, polluted sinners! how great then ought to be the force and effects of our love to him, to his cause, and his people!

Verses 24-34 None were more constant than David in attending holy duties; nor had he been absent, but self-preservation obliged him to withdraw. In great peril present opportunities for Divine ordinances may be waved. But it is bad for us, except in case of necessity, to omit any opportunity of statedly attending on them. Jonathan did wisely and well for himself and family, to secure an interest in David, yet for this he is blamed. It is good to take God's people for our people. It will prove to our advantage at last, however it may now be thought against our interest. Saul was outrageous. What savage beasts, and worse, does anger make men!

Verses 35-42 The separation of two such faithful friends was grievous to both, but David's case was the more deplorable, for David was leaving all his comforts, even those of God's sanctuary. Christians need not sorrow, as men without hope; but being one with Christ, they are one with each other, and will meet in his presence ere long, to part no more; to meet where all tears shall be wiped from their eyes.

Chapter Summary


David fleeing from Naioth came to Jonathan, and acquainted him with his circumstances, and entreated his favour, 1Sa 20:1-8; which Jonathan promised, and renewed the covenant with him, 1Sa 20:9-17; a scheme was formed between them, by which David might know whether Saul was reconciled to him, and he might come to court, 1Sa 20:18-23; which being tried, Jonathan found it was not safe for him to appear, 1Sa 20:24-34; of which he gave notice by the signals agreed on, 1Sa 20:35-40; and they took their leave of one another with strong expressions of affection and attachment to each other, 1Sa 20:41,42.

Shmuel Alef 20 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.