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The First Book of Samuel

also called the First Book of the Kings

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Chapter 20

Yes Word (Tyndale-Modern English)


      And David fled from Naioth in Ramath and went and said before Jonathas: What have I done? wherein am I faulty? what is the sin that I have committed before thy father that he seeketh my life? And Jonathas answered him: God forbid, thou shalt not die. For see my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will show it me. For why should my father hide this thing from me? there shall be no such thing. And David sware again and said: thy father knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes and therefore he thinketh, Jonathas shall not know it, lest he be sorry. For in very deed even as truly as the Lord liveth, and as truly as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death. Then said Jonathas unto David, whatsoever thy soul desireth that I will do unto thee. And David said unto Jonathas: Behold, tomorrow is the first day of the month, and I should sit with the king at meat. But let me go that I may hide myself in the fields unto this day three days at evening. If thy father miss me, then say: David asked leave of me, that he might go to Bethlehem to his own city, for there is holden a yearly feast for all his kin. And if thy father say thus: it is well done, then thy servant shall have peace. But and if he be angry: then be sure that wickedness is utterly concluded of him. And then thou shalt show mercy unto thy servant, for thou hast made with me thy servant a bond in the Lord. Notwithstanding if there be in me any trespass, then slay me thyself, for what needeth thee to bring me to thy father?
      And Jonathas answered: God keep that from thee, that I should know, that wickedness were concluded of my father, to come upon thee: and should not tell it thee. Then said David, who shall tell me, if thy father answer cruelly? Then said Jonathas to David, come and let us go out into the fields. And they went out both of them into the fields.
      And Jonathas said unto David: O' Lord God of Israel, when I have groped my fathers mind, one time or other within this three days, that it stand well with David: and I then send not unto thee and shew it thee, the Lord do so and so unto Jonathas. And in like manner, if evil to thee ward please my father, I will show thee and send thee away, that thou mayst go in peace. And the Lord be with thee as he hath been with my father. And thou shalt perform unto me the mercy of the Lord, not only while I live but even when I am dead pluck not thy mercy away from my house forever: No not when the Lord hath destroyed the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
      And so Jonathas made a bond with the house of David, desiring that the Lord should seek out of the hands of Davids enemies their wickedness. And with other words Jonathas adjured David, because he loved him. For as his own soul he loved him.
      Then said Jonathas to David: tomorrow shall be the first day of the moon. And thou shalt be missed, because the place shall appear empty. But this day three days come in any wise unto the place where thou shalt hide thy self, when it is workday: even by the stone Esell. And I will shoot three arrows by the one side thereof, as though I shot at a mark, and will send after a lad, and bid him go seek the arrows. If I say unto the lad: see the arrows are on this side thee, bring them: then come thou: for it is peace and nothing to do, as sure as the Lord liveth. But and if I say thus unto the young fellow, behold, the *Arrows are beyond thee, then go, for the Lord hath sent thee away. And of this which thou and I have spoke: behold the Lord is witness between thee and me for ever. And so David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon was come, the king sat him down at meat, for to eat. And the king sat him down after the old manner, in his seat by the wall. And Jonathas arose, and Abner sat by Sauls side, and Davids place was empty. Nevertheless yet Saul said nothing at all that day. For he thought something had chanced him that he is not clean. But on the morrow which was the second day of the moon, when Davids place appeared empty, Saul said unto Jonathas his son: wherefore cometh not the son of Isai to meat, neither yesterday nor today? And Jonathas answered unto Saul, David asked license of me to go to Bethlehem saying: let me go I pray thee, for our kindred hold an offering in the city, and my brother hath sent for me. Now therefore if I have found favour in thine eyes let me go and see my brother. And therefore he cometh not unto the table of the King. Then was Saul angry with Jonathas and said unto him: O froward and rebellious, thinkest thou I know not how thou hast chosen the son of Isai unto thine own rebuke, and unto the rebuke and shame of thy mother. For as long as the son of Isai lieth upon the earth, thou shalt not be stablished, nor yet thy kingdom, wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he is the child of death.
      But Jonathas answered Saul his father and said to him: wherefore should he die? what hath he done? Then Saul cast a spear at him to hit him, whereby Jonathas knew well, that it was utterly determined of his father, to slay David. And so Jonathas arose from the table in a great anger and did eat no meat the second day of the month, for he was sorry for David, because his father had done him shame. On the next morning Jonathas went out unto the field, at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him. And he said unto the boy: run and find out mine arrows which I shoot. And as the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. And when the lad was come to the place whither Jonathas had shot the arrow, Jonathas cried after him and said: the arrow is beyond thee. And he cried after the lad: haste, make speed and stand not still. And Jonathas lad gathered up the arrow and came to his master. But the lad knew nothing of the matter: Only Jonathas and David knew it. Then Jonathas gave his weapons unto the lad and said unto him: go and carry them to the town. And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place that was toward the south and fell on his face to the ground and bowed himself three times. And they kissed either other and wept together, but David more abundantly. And Jonathas said to David: go in peace which we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord saying: the Lord be between thee and me, and between thy seed and mine for ever. And he rose and departed. And Jonathas went in to the town.

* Cap A as recorded

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