Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 84

Bible text(s)

Jonathan Helps David

1Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and went to Jonathan. “What have I done?” he asked. “What crime have I committed? What wrong have I done to your father to make him want to kill me?”

2Jonathan answered, “God forbid that you should die! My father tells me everything he does, important or not, and he would not hide this from me. It isn't true!”

3But David answered, “Your father knows very well how much you like me, and he has decided not to let you know what he plans to do, because you would be deeply hurt. I swear to you by the living LORD that I am only a step away from death!”

4Jonathan said, “I'll do anything you want.”

5“Tomorrow is the New Moon Festival,” David replied, “and I am supposed to eat with the king. But if it's all right with you, I will go and hide in the fields until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6If your father notices that I am not at table, tell him that I begged your permission to hurry home to Bethlehem, since it's the time for the annual sacrifice there for my whole family. 7If he says, ‘All right,’ I will be safe; but if he becomes angry, you will know that he is determined to harm me. 8Please do me this favour, and keep the sacred promise you made to me. But if I'm guilty, kill me yourself! Why take me to your father to be killed?”

9“Don't even think such a thing!” Jonathan answered. “If I knew for certain that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn't I tell you?”

10David then asked, “Who will let me know if your father answers you angrily?”

11“Let's go out to the fields,” Jonathan answered. So they went, 12and Jonathan said to David, “May the LORD God of Israel be our witness! At this time tomorrow and on the following day I will question my father. If his attitude towards you is good, I will send you word. 13If he intends to harm you, may the LORD strike me dead if I don't let you know about it and get you safely away. May the LORD be with you as he was with my father! 14And if I remain alive, please keep your sacred promise and be loyal to me; but if I die, 15show the same kind of loyalty to my family for ever. And when the LORD has completely destroyed all your enemies, 16may our promise to each other still be unbroken. If it is broken, the LORD will punish you.”

17Once again Jonathan made David promise to love him, for Jonathan loved David as much as he loved himself. 18Then Jonathan said to him, “Since tomorrow is the New Moon Festival, your absence will be noticed if you aren't at the meal. 19The day after tomorrow your absence will be noticed even more; so go to the place where you hid the other time, and hide behind the pile of stones there. 20I will then shoot three arrows at it, as though it were a target. 21Then I will tell my servant to go and find them. And if I tell him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; get them,’ that means that you are safe and can come out. I swear by the living LORD that you will be in no danger. 22But if I tell him, ‘The arrows are on the other side of you,’ then leave, because the LORD is sending you away. 23As for the promise we have made to each other, the LORD will make sure that we will keep it for ever.”

24So David hid in the fields. At the New Moon Festival, King Saul came to the meal 25and sat in his usual place by the wall. Abner sat next to him, and Jonathan sat opposite him. David's place was empty, 26but Saul said nothing that day, because he thought, “Something has happened to him, and he is not ritually pure.” 27On the following day, the day after the New Moon Festival, David's place was still empty, and Saul asked Jonathan, “Why didn't David come to the meal either yesterday or today?”

28Jonathan answered, “He begged me to let him go to Bethlehem. 29‘Please let me go,’ he said, ‘because our family is celebrating the sacrificial feast in town, and my brother ordered me to be there. So then, if you are my friend, let me go and see my relatives.’ That is why he isn't in his place at your table.”

30Saul was furious with Jonathan and said to him, “How rebellious and faithless your mother was! Now I know you are taking sides with David and are disgracing yourself and that mother of yours! 31Don't you realize that as long as David is alive, you will never be king of this country? Now go and bring him here — he must die!”

32“Why should he die?” Jonathan replied. “What has he done?”

33At that, Saul threw his spear at Jonathan to kill him, and Jonathan realized that his father was really determined to kill David. 34Jonathan got up from the table in a rage and ate nothing that day — the second day of the New Moon Festival. He was deeply distressed about David, because Saul had insulted him. 35The following morning Jonathan went to the fields to meet David, as they had agreed. He took a young boy with him 36and said to him, “Run and find the arrows I'm going to shoot.” The boy ran, and Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. 37When the boy reached the place where the arrow had fallen, Jonathan shouted to him, “The arrow is further on! 38Don't just stand there! Hurry up!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master, 39not knowing what it all meant; only Jonathan and David knew. 40Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and told him to take them back to the town.

41After the boy had left, David got up from behind the pile of stones, fell on his knees and bowed with his face to the ground three times. Both he and Jonathan were crying as they kissed each other; David's grief was even greater than Jonathan's. 42Then Jonathan said to David, “God be with you. The LORD will make sure that you and I, and your descendants and mine, will for ever keep the sacred promise we have made to each other.” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.

David Flees from Saul

1David went to the priest Ahimelech in Nob. Ahimelech came out trembling to meet him and asked, “Why did you come here all by yourself?”

2“I am here on the king's business,” David answered. “He told me not to let anyone know what he sent me to do. As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. 3Now, then, what supplies have you got? Give me five loaves of bread or anything else you have.”

4The priest said, “I haven't any ordinary bread, only sacred bread; you can have it if your men haven't had sexual relations recently.”

5“Of course they haven't,” answered David. “My men always keep themselves ritually pure even when we go out on an ordinary mission; how much more this time when we are on a special mission!”

6So the priest gave David the sacred bread, because the only bread he had was the loaves offered to God, which had been removed from the sacred table and replaced by fresh bread.

7(Saul's chief herdsman, Doeg, who was from Edom, happened to be there that day, because he had to fulfil a religious obligation.)

8David said to Ahimelech, “Have you got a spear or a sword you can give me? The king's orders made me leave in such a hurry that I didn't have time to get my sword or any other weapon.”

9Ahimelech answered, “I have the sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah; it is behind the ephod, wrapped in a cloth. If you want it, take it — it's the only weapon here.”

“Give it to me,” David said. “There is not a better sword anywhere!”

10So David left, fleeing from Saul, and went to King Achish of Gath. 11The king's officials said to Achish, “Isn't this David, the king of his country? This is the man about whom the women sang, as they danced, ‘Saul has killed thousands, but David has killed tens of thousands.’ ”

12Their words made a deep impression on David, and he became very much afraid of King Achish. 13So whenever they were around, David pretended to be insane and acted like a madman when they tried to restrain him; he would scribble on the city gates and dribble down his beard. 14So Achish said to his officials, “Look! The man is mad! Why did you bring him to me? 15Haven't I got enough madmen already? Why bring another one to annoy me with his daft actions right here in my own house?”

The Slaughter of the Priests

1David fled from the city of Gath and went to a cave near the town of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of the family heard that he was there, they joined him. 2People who were oppressed or in debt or dissatisfied went to him, about 400 men in all, and he became their leader.

3David went on from there to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother come and stay with you until I find out what God is going to do for me.” 4So David left his parents with the king of Moab, and they stayed there as long as David was hiding in the cave.

5Then the prophet Gad came to David and said, “Don't stay here; go at once to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

6One day Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under a tamarisk tree on a hill, with his spear in his hand, and all his officers were standing round him. He was told that David and his men had been found, 7and he said to his officers, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Do you think that David will give fields and vineyards to all of you, and make you officers in his army? 8Is that why you are plotting against me? Not one of you told me that my own son had made an alliance with David. No one is concerned about me or tells me that David, one of my own men, is at this moment looking for a chance to kill me, and that my son has encouraged him!”

9Doeg was standing there with Saul's officers, and he said, “I saw David when he went to Ahimelech son of Ahitub in Nob. 10Ahimelech asked the LORD what David should do, and then he gave David some food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11So King Saul sent for the priest Ahimelech and all his relatives, who were also priests in Nob, and they came to him. 12Saul said to Ahimelech, “Listen, Ahimelech!”

“At your service, sir,” he answered.

13Saul asked him, “Why are you and David plotting against me? Why did you give him some food and a sword, and consult God for him? Now he has turned against me and is waiting for a chance to kill me!”

14Ahimelech answered, “David is the most faithful officer you have! He is your own son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard, and highly respected by everyone in the royal court. 15Yes, I consulted God for him, and it wasn't the first time. As for plotting against you, Your Majesty must not accuse me or anyone else in my family. I don't know anything about this matter!”

16The king said, “Ahimelech, you and all your relatives must die.” 17Then he said to the guards standing near him, “Kill the LORD's priests! They conspired with David and did not tell me that he had run away, even though they knew it all along.” But the guards refused to lift a hand to kill the LORD's priests. 18So Saul said to Doeg, “You kill them!” — and Doeg killed them all. On that day he killed 85 priests who were qualified to carry the ephod. 19Saul also ordered all the other inhabitants of Nob, the city of priests, to be put to death: men and women, children and babies, cattle, donkeys, and sheep — they were all killed.

20But Abiathar, one of Ahimelech's sons, escaped, and went and joined David. 21He told him how Saul had slaughtered the priests of the LORD. 22David said to him, “When I saw Doeg there that day, I knew that he would be sure to tell Saul. So I am responsible for the death of all your relatives. 23Stay with me and don't be afraid. Saul wants to kill both you and me, but you will be safe with me.”

1 Samuel 20:1-22:23GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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