191Saul told his son Jonathan and all his officials that he planned to kill19.1 that he planned to kill; or to kill. David. But Jonathan was very fond of David, 2and so he said to him, “My father is trying to kill you. Please be careful tomorrow morning; hide in some secret place and stay there. 3I will go and stand by my father in the field where you are hiding, and I will speak to him about you. If I find out anything, I will let you know.”
4Jonathan praised David to Saul and said, “Sir, don't do wrong to your servant David. He has never done you any wrong; on the contrary, everything he has done has been a great help to you. 5He risked his life when he killed Goliath, and the LORD won a great victory for Israel. When you saw it, you were glad. Why, then, do you now want to do wrong to an innocent man and kill David for no reason at all?”
6Saul was convinced by what Jonathan said and made a vow in the LORD's name that he would not kill David. 7So Jonathan called David and told him everything; then he took him to Saul, and David served the king as he had before.
8War with the Philistines broke out again. David attacked them and defeated them so thoroughly that they fled.
9One day an evil spirit from the LORD took control of Saul. He was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was there, playing his harp. 10Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, but David dodged, and the spear stuck in the wall. David ran away and escaped.
That same night Saul sent some men to watch David's house and kill him the next morning. Michal, David's wife, warned him, “If you don't get away tonight, tomorrow you will be dead.” 12She let him down from a window, and he ran away and escaped. 13Then she took the household idol, laid it on the bed, put a pillow made of goats'-hair at its head, and put a cover over it. 14When Saul's men came to get David, Michal told them that he was ill. 15But Saul sent them back to see David for themselves. He ordered them, “Carry him here in his bed, and I will kill him.” 16They went inside and found the household idol in the bed and the goats'-hair pillow at its head. 17Saul asked Michal, “Why have you tricked me like this and let my enemy escape?”
She answered, “He said he would kill me if I didn't help him to escape.”
18David escaped and went to Samuel in Ramah and told him everything that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19Saul was told that David was in Naioth in Ramah, 20so he sent some men to arrest him. They saw19.20 Some ancient translations They saw; Hebrew He saw. the group of prophets dancing and shouting, with Samuel as their leader. Then the Spirit of God took control of Saul's men, and they also began to dance and shout. 21When Saul heard of this, he sent more messengers, and they also began to dance and shout. He sent messengers the third time, and the same thing happened to them. 22Then he himself started out for Ramah. When he came to the large well in Secu, he asked where Samuel and David were and was told that they were at Naioth. 23As he was going there, the Spirit of God took control of him also, and he danced and shouted all the way to Naioth. 24
He took off his clothes and danced and shouted in Samuel's presence, and lay naked all that day and all that night. (This is how the saying originated, “Has even Saul become a prophet?”)
201Then 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,20.3 One ancient translation answered; Hebrew made a vow again. “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.”
“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!20.12 One ancient translation be our witness; Hebrew does not have these words. 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,20.14 Some ancient translations if I die; Hebrew that I may not die. 15
show 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.”20.16 Verses 15–16 in Hebrew are unclear.
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 noticed20.19 Some ancient translations your absence will be noticed; Hebrew go down. even more; so go to the place where you hid the other time, and hide behind the pile of stones there.20.19 Probable text the pile of stones there; Hebrew the Ezel Stone. 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.20.25 One ancient translation sat opposite him; Hebrew stood up. 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,20.41 Probable text the pile of stones; Hebrew the south. 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.20.41 Probable text David's grief was even greater than Jonathan's; Hebrew unclear. 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 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!”
So 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.”
Ahimelech 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. 11
The 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.’ ”
Their words made a deep impression on David, and he became very much afraid of King Achish. 13
So 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 city21.13 city; or palace. 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?”