Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?
And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.
20:2 Is it not so - For Jonathan gave credit to his father's oath, chap.19:6.
And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.
20:3 David sware - The matter being of great moment, and Jonathan doubting the truth of it, he confirms his word with an oath, which follows in the end of the verse . Only he interposeth a reason why Saul concealed it from Jonathan.
Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee.
And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.
20:5 To the third day - That is, unto the next day, but one after the new moon. His meaning is not, that he would hide himself in any certain place all the three days, but that he would secure himself either at Bethlehem with his friends, or in any other place 'till the third day.
If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.
20:6 Asked me - Who being the king's son and deputy, used to give license to military men to depart for a season upon just occasions.
If he say thus, It is well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth, then be sure that evil is determined by him.
Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the LORD with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?
20:8 Deal kindly - In giving me timely notice, and a true account of Saul's disposition and intention towards me. A covenant of the Lord - That is, a solemn covenant, not lightly undertaken, but seriously entered into, in the name and fear of God, and in his presence, calling him to be the witness of our sincerity therein, and the avenger of perfidiousness in him that breaks it. Slay me - I am contented thou shouldst kill me. For why - Why shouldst thou betray me to thy father, by concealing his evil intentions from me?
And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?
Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what if thy father answer thee roughly?
And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.
And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee;
20:12 O Lord God - Do thou hear and judge between us. It is an abrupt speech which is usual in great passions.
The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father.
And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not:
20:14 Kindness as the Lord - That kindness to which thou hast engaged thyself, in the covenant sworn between thee and me in God's presence. I die not - That thou do not kill me or mine, as princes of another line use to kill the nearest relations of the former line, from whom the kingdom was translated to them.
But also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, Let the LORD even require it at the hand of David's enemies.
20:16 A covenant - The covenant which before was personal, he now extends to the whole house of David, expecting a reciprocal enlargement of it on David's side, which doubtless he obtained. Enemies - If either I or any of my house shall break this covenant, and shall prove enemies to David or to his house, let the Lord, the witness of this covenant, severely punish the violators of it.
And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
20:17 Swear again - Heb. and Jonathan added or proceeded to make David swear; that is, having himself sworn to David or adjured David, in the foregoing verse , he here requires David's oath to him, by way of restipulation or confirmation. Loved him - Because he had a true friendship for David, he desired that the covenant might be inviolably observed through all their generations.
Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow is the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.
And when thou hast stayed three days, then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.
20:19 Was in hand - When this same business which now they were treating about, was in agitation formerly; namely, to discover Saul's mind and purpose towards him, chap.19:2,3. Ezel - By that stone which directs travellers in the way; namely, in some cave, or convenient place, which was near it.
And I will shoot three arrows on the side thereof, as though I shot at a mark.
And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the LORD liveth.
20:21 I will send - I will send him out before I shoot, to find out, and take up the arrows which I shall shoot. And I shall shoot them either short of him, or beyond him, as I shall see occasion.
But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way: for the LORD hath sent thee away.
And as touching the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the LORD be between thee and me for ever.
20:23 Between - As a witness and a judge between us and our families for ever, if on either side this league of friendship be violated.
So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.
20:24 Hid himself - Namely, at the time appointed: for it seems probable, that he went first to Bethlehem, and thence returned to the field, when the occasion required.
And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul's side, and David's place was empty.
20:25 Arose - He rose from his seat where he was sat next the king, and stood at Abner's coming, to do honour to him, who was his father's cousin, and the general of the army.
Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean.
20:26 Something - Some accident which has rendered him unclean, and so unfit to partake of this feast, which consisted in part of the remainders of the peace - offerings, according to the law, Levit 7:20. Unfit also to come into any company, much more, into the king's company, lest he should pollute them also.
And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David's place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day?
20:27 Son of Jesse - So he calls him in scorn, to note the meanness of his original; and as not deigning to call him by his proper name. To day - For the uncleanness which came by some chance, usually lasted but for one day.
And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem:
And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king's table.
Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness?
20:30 Thy confusion - Men will conclude that thou hast no royal blood in thy veins, that canst so tamely give up thy crown to so contemptible a person.
For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.
And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?
And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David.
20:33 To smite him - Saul seemed to be in great care, that Jonathan should be established in his kingdom: and now he himself aims at his life! What fools, what worse than savage beasts does anger make.
So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.
And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him.
And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot. And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.
And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said, Is not the arrow beyond thee?
20:37 To - That is, near the place. For the words following shew, that he was not yet come thither.
And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.
But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter.
And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry them to the city.
20:40 Artillery - His bow, and arrows, and quiver.
And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever. And he arose and departed: and Jonathan went into the city.