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.
21 David went to Ahimelech the priest in Nob. Ahimelech was shaking with fear when he met 1 David, and said to him, “Why are you by yourself with no one accompanying you?” 2 David replied to Ahimelech the priest, “The king instructed me to do something, but he said to me, ‘Don’t let anyone know the reason I am sending you or the instructions I have given you.’ 2 I have told my soldiers 3 to wait at a certain place. 4 3 Now what do you have at your disposal? 5 Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.”
4 The priest replied to David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread at my disposal. Only holy bread is available, and then only if your soldiers 6 have abstained from sexual relations with women.” 7 5 David said to the priest, “Certainly women have been kept away from us, just as on previous occasions when I have set out. The soldiers’ 8 equipment is holy, even on an ordinary journey. How much more so will they be holy today, along with their equipment!”
6 So the priest gave him holy bread, for there was no bread there other than the bread of the Presence. It had been removed from before the Lord in order to replace it with hot bread on the day it had been taken away. 7 (One of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, who was in charge of Saul’s shepherds.) 8 David said to Ahimelech, “Is there no sword or spear here at your disposal? I don’t have my own sword or equipment in hand due to the urgency of the king’s instructions.”
9 The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the valley of Elah, is wrapped in a garment behind the ephod. If you wish, take it for yourself. Other than that, there’s nothing here.” David said, “There’s nothing like it! Give it to me!” 10 So on that day David arose and fled from Saul. He went to King Achish of Gath. 11 The servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one that they sing about when they dance, saying,
‘Saul struck down his thousands,
But David his tens of thousands’?”
12 David thought about what they said 9 and was very afraid of King Achish of Gath. 13 He altered his behavior in their presence. 10 Since he was in their power, 11 he pretended to be insane, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting his saliva run down his beard.
14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at this madman! Why did you bring him to me? 15 Do I have a shortage of fools, that you have brought me this man to display his insanity in front of me? Should this man enter my house?”
22 So David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of his father’s family 1 learned about it, they went down there to him. 2 All those who were in trouble or owed someone money or were discontented 2 gathered around 3 him, and he became their leader. He had about four hundred men with him.
3 Then David went from there to Mizpah in Moab, where he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother stay 4 with you until I know what God is going to do for me.” 4 So he had them stay with the king of Moab; they stayed with him the whole time 5 that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then Gad the prophet said to David, “Don’t stay in the stronghold. Go to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
6 But Saul found out the whereabouts of David and the men who were with him. 6 Now Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree at an elevated location with his spear in hand and all his servants stationed around him. 7 Saul said to his servants who were stationed around him, “Listen up, you Benjaminites! Is Jesse’s son giving fields and vineyards to all of you? Or is he making all of you 7 commanders and officers? 8 8 For all of you have conspired against me! No one informs me 9 when my own son makes an agreement with this son of Jesse! Not one of you feels sorry for me or informs me that my own son has commissioned my own servant to hide in ambush against me, as is the case today!”
9 But Doeg the Edomite, who had stationed himself with the servants of Saul, replied, “I saw this son of Jesse come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. 10 He inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions. He also gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11 Then the king arranged for a meeting with the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and all the priests of his father’s house who were at Nob. They all came to the king. 12 Then Saul said, “Listen, son of Ahitub.” He replied, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and this son of Jesse? You gave 10 him bread and a sword and inquired of God on his behalf, so that he opposes 11 me and waits in ambush, as is the case today!”
14 Ahimelech replied to the king, “Who among all your servants is faithful like David? He is the king’s son-in-law, the leader of your bodyguard, and honored in your house! 15 Was it just today that I began to inquire of God on his behalf? Far be it from me! The king should not accuse 12 his servant or any of my father’s house. For your servant is not aware of all this – not in whole or in part!” 13
16 But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house! 17 Then the king said to the messengers 14 who were stationed beside him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, for they too have sided 15 with David! They knew he was fleeing, but they did not inform me.” But the king’s servants refused to harm 16 the priests of the Lord.
18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests. He killed on that day eighty-five 17 men who wore the linen ephod. 19 As for Nob, the city of the priests, he struck down with the sword men and women, children and infants, oxen, donkeys, and sheep – all with the sword.
20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub escaped and fled to David. His name was Abiathar. 21 Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew that day when Doeg the Edomite was there that he would certainly tell Saul! I am guilty 18 of all the deaths in your father’s house! 23 Stay with me. Don’t be afraid! Whoever 19 seeks my life is seeking your life as well. You are secure with me.”