18 When David 1 had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan and David became bound together in close friendship. 2 Jonathan loved David as much as he did his own life. 3 2 Saul retained David 4 on that day and did not allow him to return to his father’s house. 3 Jonathan made a covenant with David, for he loved him as much as he did his own life. 5 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with the rest of his gear, including his sword, his bow, and even his belt.
5 On every mission on which Saul sent him, David achieved success. So Saul appointed him over the men of war. This pleased not only all the army, but also Saul’s servants. 6
6 When the men 7 arrived after David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women from all the cities of Israel came out singing and dancing to meet King Saul. They were happy as they played their tambourines and three-stringed instruments. 8 7 The women who were playing the music sang,
“Saul has struck down his thousands,
but David his tens of thousands!”
8 This made Saul very angry. The statement displeased him and he thought, 9 “They have attributed to David tens of thousands, but to me they have attributed only thousands. What does he lack, except the kingdom?” 9 So Saul was keeping an eye on David from that day onward.
10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul and he prophesied within his house. Now David was playing the lyre 10 that day. There was a spear in Saul’s hand, 11 and Saul threw the spear, thinking, “I’ll nail David to the wall!” But David escaped from him on two different occasions.
12 So Saul feared David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 Saul removed David 11 from his presence and made him a commanding officer. 12 David led the army out to battle and back. 13 14 Now David achieved success in all he did, 14 for the Lord was with him. 15 When Saul saw how very successful he was, he was afraid of him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he was the one leading them out to battle and back. 17 15
Then Saul said to David, “Here’s my oldest daughter, Merab. I want to give her to you in marriage. Only be a brave warrior 16 for me and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul thought, “There’s no need for me to raise my hand against him. Let it be the hand of the Philistines!”
18 David said to Saul, “Who am I? Who are my relatives or the clan of my father 17 in Israel that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 19 When the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she instead was given in marriage to Adriel, who was from Meholah.
20 Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul about this, it 18 pleased him. 21 Saul said, “I will give her to him so that she may become a snare to him and the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Today is the second time for you to become my son-in-law.” 19
22 Then Saul instructed his servants, “Tell David secretly, ‘The king is pleased with you, and all his servants like you. So now become the king’s son-in-law.” 23 So Saul’s servants spoke these words privately 20 to David. David replied, “Is becoming the king’s son-in-law something insignificant to you? I’m just a poor and lightly-esteemed man!”
24 When Saul’s servants reported what David had said, 25 Saul replied, “Here is what you should say to David: ‘There is nothing that the king wants as a price for the bride except a hundred Philistine foreskins, so that he can be avenged of his 21 enemies.’” (Now Saul was thinking that he could kill David by the hand of the Philistines.)
26 So his servants told David these things and David agreed 22 to become the king’s son-in-law. Now the specified time had not yet expired 23 27 when David, along with his men, went out 24 and struck down two hundred Philistine men. David brought their foreskins and presented all of them to the king so he could become the king’s son-in-law. Saul then gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.
28 When Saul realized 25 that the Lord was with David and that his 26 daughter Michal loved David, 27 29 Saul became even more afraid of him. 28 Saul continued to be at odds with David from then on. 29 30 30 Then the leaders of the Philistines would march out, and as often as they did so, David achieved more success than all of Saul’s servants. His name was held in high esteem.
19 Then Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. But Saul’s son Jonathan liked David very much. 1 2 So Jonathan told David, “My father Saul is trying 2 to kill you. So be careful tomorrow morning. Find 3 a hiding place and stay in seclusion. 4 3 I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are. I will speak about you to my father. When I find out what the problem is, 5 I will let you know.”
4 So Jonathan spoke on David’s behalf 6 to his father Saul. He said to him, “The king should not sin against his servant David, for he has not sinned against you. On the contrary, his actions have been very beneficial 7 for you. 5 He risked his life 8 when he struck down the Philistine and the Lord gave all Israel a great victory. When you saw it, you were happy. So why would you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death for no reason?”
6 Saul accepted Jonathan’s advice 9 and took an oath, “As surely as the Lord lives, he will not be put to death.” 7 Then Jonathan called David and told him all these things. Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he served him as he had done formerly. 10
8 Now once again there was war. So David went out to fight the Philistines. He defeated them thoroughly 11 and they ran away from him. 9 Then an evil spirit from the Lord came upon 12 Saul. He was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, while David was playing the lyre. 13 10 Saul tried to nail David to the wall with the spear, but he escaped from Saul’s presence and the spear drove into the wall. 14 David escaped quickly 15 that night.
11 Saul sent messengers to David’s house to guard it and to kill him in the morning. Then David’s wife Michal told him, “If you do not save yourself 16 tonight, tomorrow you will be dead!” 12 So Michal lowered David through the window, and he ran away and escaped.
13 Then Michal took a household idol 17 and put it on the bed. She put a quilt 18 made of goat’s hair over its head 19 and then covered the idol with a garment. 14 When Saul sent messengers to arrest David, she said, “He’s sick.”
15 Then Saul sent the messengers back to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me on his bed so I can kill him.” 16 When the messengers came, they found only the idol on the bed and the quilt made of goat’s hair at its head.
17 Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me this way by sending my enemy away? Now he has escaped!” Michal replied to Saul, “He said to me, ‘Help me get away or else I will kill you!’” 20
18 Now David had run away and escaped. He went to Samuel in Ramah and told him everything that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went and stayed at Naioth. 19 It was reported to Saul saying, “David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 So Saul sent messengers to capture David. When they saw a company of prophets prophesying with Samuel standing there as their leader, the spirit of God came upon Saul’s messengers, and they also prophesied. 21 When it was reported to Saul, he sent more messengers, but they prophesied too. So Saul sent messengers a third time, but they also prophesied. 22 Finally Saul 21 himself went to Ramah. When he arrived at the large cistern that is in Secu, he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” They said, “At Naioth in Ramah.”
23 So Saul went to Naioth in Ramah. The Spirit of God came upon him as well, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 He even stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel. He lay there 22 naked all that day and night. (For that reason it is asked, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”)
20 David fled from Naioth in Ramah. He came to Jonathan and asked, 1 “What have I done? What is my offense? 2 How have I sinned before your father? For he is seeking my life!”
2 Jonathan 3 said to him, “By no means are you going to die! My father does nothing 4 large or small without making me aware of it. 5 Why would my father hide this matter from me? It just won’t happen!”
3 Taking an oath, David again 6 said, “Your father is very much aware of the fact 7 that I have found favor with you, and he has thought, 8 ‘Don’t let Jonathan know about this, or he will be upset.’ But as surely as the Lord lives and you live, there is about one step between me and death!” 4 Jonathan replied to David, “Tell me what I can do for you.” 9
5 David said to Jonathan, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and I am certainly expected to join the king for a meal. 10 You must send me away so I can hide in the field until the third evening from now. 6 If your father happens to miss me, you should say, ‘David urgently requested me to let him go 11 to his city Bethlehem, 12 for there is an annual sacrifice there for his entire family.’ 7 If he should then say, ‘That’s fine,’ 13 then your servant is safe. But if he becomes very angry, be assured that he has decided to harm me. 14 8 You must be loyal 15 to your servant, for you have made a covenant with your servant in the Lord’s name. 16 If I am guilty, 17 you yourself kill me! Why bother taking me to your father?”
9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from you to suggest this! If I were at all aware that my father had decided to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you about it?” 10 David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11 Jonathan said to David, “Come on. Let’s go out to the field.”
When the two of them had gone out into the field, 12 Jonathan said to David, “The Lord God of Israel is my witness. 18 I will feel out my father about this time the day after tomorrow. If he is favorably inclined toward David, will I not then send word to you and let you know? 19 13 But if my father intends to do you harm, may the Lord do all this and more to Jonathan, if I don’t let you know 20 and send word to you so you can go safely on your way. 21 May the Lord be with you, as he was with my father. 14 While I am still alive, extend to me the loyalty of the Lord, or else I will die! 15 Don’t ever cut off your loyalty to my family, not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth 16 and called David’s enemies to account.” So Jonathan made a covenant 22 with the house of David. 23 17 Jonathan once again took an oath with David, because he loved him. In fact Jonathan loved him as much as he did his own life. 24 18 Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, for your seat will be empty. 19 On the third day 25 you should go down quickly 26 and come to the place where you hid yourself the day this all started. 27 Stay near the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows near it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 When I send a boy after them, I will say, “Go and find the arrows.” If I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; 28 get them,’ then come back. For as surely as the Lord lives, you will be safe and there will no problem. 22 But if I say to the boy, “Look, the arrows are on the other side of you,’ 29 get away. For in that case the Lord has sent you away. 23 With regard to the matter that you and I discussed, the Lord is the witness between us forever!” 30
24 So David hid in the field. When the new moon came, the king sat down to eat his meal. 25 The king sat down in his usual place by the wall, with Jonathan opposite him 31 and Abner at his side. 32 But David’s place was vacant. 26 However, Saul said nothing about it 33 that day, for he thought, 34 “Something has happened to make him ceremonially unclean. Yes, he must be unclean.” 27 But the next morning, the second day of the new moon, David’s place was still vacant. So Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why has Jesse’s son not come to the meal yesterday or today?”
28 Jonathan replied to Saul, “David urgently requested that he be allowed to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Permit me to go, 35 for we are having a family sacrifice in the city, and my brother urged 36 me to be there. So now, if I have found favor with you, let me go 37 to see my brothers.’ For that reason he has not come to the king’s table.”
30 Saul became angry with Jonathan 38 and said to him, “You stupid traitor! 39 Don’t I realize that to your own disgrace and to the disgrace of your mother’s nakedness you have chosen this son of Jesse? 31 For as long as 40 this son of Jesse is alive on the earth, you and your kingdom will not be established. Now, send some men 41 and bring him to me. For he is as good as dead!” 42
32 Jonathan responded to his father Saul, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan 43 in order to strike him down. So Jonathan was convinced 44 that his father had decided to kill David. 34 Jonathan got up from the table enraged. He did not eat any food on that second day of the new moon, for he was upset that his father had humiliated David. 45
35 The next morning Jonathan, along with a young servant, went out to the field to meet David. 36 He said to his servant, “Run, find the arrows that I am about to shoot.” As the servant ran, Jonathan 46 shot the arrow beyond him. 37 When the servant came to the place where Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan called out to 47 the servant, “Isn’t the arrow further beyond you?” 38 Jonathan called out to the servant, “Hurry! Go faster! Don’t delay!” Jonathan’s servant retrieved the arrow and came back to his master. 39 (Now the servant did not understand any of this. Only Jonathan and David knew what was going on.) 48 40 Then Jonathan gave his equipment to the servant who was with him. He said to him, “Go, take these things back to the city.”
41 When the servant had left, David got up from beside the mound, 49 knelt 50 with his face to the ground, and bowed three times. Then they kissed each other and they both wept, especially David. 42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for the two of us have sworn together in the name of the Lord saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’” 51
Then David 52 got up and left, while Jonathan went back to the city.