1 Samuel 20 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of 1 Samuel 20)
20:1 And David a 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?

(a) For Saul was detained, and prophesied a day and a night by God's providence, that David might have time to escape.

20:3 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 b step between me and death.

(b) I am in great danger of death.

20:5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow [is] the c 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.

(c) At what time there would be a solemn sacrifice, (
Numbers 28:11), to which they added peace offerings and feasts.

20:6 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 d yearly sacrifice there for all the family.

(d) Read (
1 Samuel 1:21).

20:9 And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were e determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?

(e) That he were fully determined.

20:10 Then said David to Jonathan, Who f shall tell me? or what [if] thy father answer thee roughly?

(f) If your father favours me.

20:13 The LORD g 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.

(g) The Lord punish me most grievously.

20:14 And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, h that I die not:

(h) I know that if you were given the kingdom now, you would not destroy me, but show yourself friendly to my posterity.

20:22 But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows [are] beyond thee; go thy way: for the i LORD hath sent thee away.

(i) The Lord is the author of your departure.

20:26 Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he [is] not k clean; surely he [is] not clean.

(k) Yet he might have some business to let him.

20:27 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 l the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day?

(l) Thus he speaks contemptuously of David.

20:29 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 n brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king's table.

(n) Meaning, all his kinsfolk.

20:30 Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou o 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?

(o) You are always contrary to me as your mother is.

20:32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be p slain? what hath he done?

(p) For it was too great tyranny to put one to death and not to give a reason why.

20:35 And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field q at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him.

(q) For this was the third day, as it was agreed on in (
1 Samuel 20:5).

20:38 And Jonathan cried after the lad, r Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.

(r) By these words be admonished David what he should do.

20:41 [And] as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of [a place] toward the s 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.

(s) It seems that he shot on the north side of the stone, least the boy should have seen David.

20:42 And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have t 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.

(t) Which oath he calls the covenant of the Lord in (
1 Samuel 20:8).