1 Samuel 20

Confusion And Help

David fled and sought out Jonathan. The prince knew nothing of the death sentence that Saul issued for David because Saul always discussed his intentions with his son. David explained that Saul was now withholding information from Jonathan because he knew of their friendship. In reality, David knew that he was not far from death. David asked Jonathan to find out for himself whether Saul was still determined to kill him. At the New Moon celebration, if Saul asked about his absence, Jonathan would tell his father that he had gone to Bethlehem for the annual family sacrifice and if Saul became angry about this excuse, it would demonstrate Saul's murderous intentions. Jonathan agreed to convey the information to David whether the news was good or bad and he asked his friend to enter into a covenant. David gladly entered the covenant with Jonathan. The plan was that David would hide in the spot where he previously had hidden. Jonathan would shoot three arrows, and when the servant went to retrieve the arrows, Jonathan would say certain phrases so that David would know what he had discovered. The first set of instructions would indicate danger and the second would indicate that everything was all right with Saul.

The Plan Executed 

On day two of the celebration, Saul inquired about the absence of David. Jonathan gave the prearranged excuse and Saul exploded with anger. He hurled a vicious epithet at his son and made disparaging comments about Jonathan’s mother. He asserted that the kingdom would never be Jonathan’s as long as David lived and he ordered his son to bring David to him so that he might die. Jonathan tried to reason with his father as he had done a few weeks before but Saul hurled his spear, barely missing his son. Jonathan knew now that David would never again be safe in Saul’s presence. He left the room in anger because of the way his mother and his best friend had been treated by Saul. Jonathan fasted in grief over the treatment of David. The next morning under the pretext of archery Jonathan went out into the field to keep his appointment with David. Jonathan carried out the prearranged signal with David because he feared that he might be watched. After the danger signal had been given, Jonathan took a risk. He gave his bow and quiver to the lad and sent him back to the city. David came out of hiding because both friends thought that this might be the last time they would ever see one another. David expressed gratitude to Jonathan by bowing three times to the ground. In eastern style, the friends kissed one another and wept. Jonathan reminded his friend of the covenant which had been made between them earlier. David and Jonathan went their separate ways.

Things To Consider:

  • Why do you think Jonathan tried to dismiss David's charge against his father?
  • Do you think David and Jonathan's plan was wise? Why or why not?
  • Was it okay for Jonathan to lie to his father? Why?
  • Do you think Jonathan was surprised by his father's actions?
  • How painful do you think it was for Jonathan after Saul said such cruel things?
  • Do you think Jonathan will be able to be around his father again? Why?
  • Have you ever had to leave friends? How did you cope?
  • Have you spoken words of grace over your good friends lately? Why not?