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1 Samuel 20:24-21:15 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan,[a] and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, ‘Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean – surely he is unclean.’ 27 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?’

28 Jonathan answered, ‘David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem. 29 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 favour in your eyes, let me go to see my brothers.” That is why he has not come to the king’s table.’

30 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? 31 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!’

32 ‘Why should he be put to death? What has he done?’ Jonathan asked his father. 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

34 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.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36 and he said to the boy, ‘Run and find the arrows I shoot.’ As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, ‘Isn’t the arrow beyond you?’ 38 Then he shouted, ‘Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!’ The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39 (The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.) 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, ‘Go, carry them back to town.’

41 After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together – but David wept the most.

42 Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, “The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants for ever.”’ Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town.[b]

David at Nob

21 [c]David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, ‘Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?’

David answered Ahimelek the priest, ‘The king sent me on a mission and said to me, “No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.” As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. Now then, what have you to hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.’

But the priest answered David, ‘I don’t have any ordinary bread to hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here – provided the men have kept themselves from women.’

David replied, ‘Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever[d] I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!’ So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.

Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd.

David asked Ahimelek, ‘Don’t you have a spear or sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.’

The priest replied, ‘The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.’

David said, ‘There is none like it; give it to me.’

David at Gath

10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, ‘Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances:

‘“Saul has slain his thousands,
    and David his tens of thousands”?’

12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he feigned insanity in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

14 Achish said to his servants, ‘Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?’

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 20:25 Septuagint; Hebrew wall. Jonathan arose
  2. 1 Samuel 20:42 In Hebrew texts this sentence (20:42b) is numbered 21:1.
  3. 1 Samuel 21:1 In Hebrew texts 21:1-15 is numbered 21:2-16.
  4. 1 Samuel 21:5 Or from us in the past few days since
New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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