The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 20

1Sa 20:1

1Sa 20: The situation created by Saul caused the separation of these two faithful friends. Jonathan chooses affliction with God's beloved rather than the pleasure of sin for a season (Heb 11:25).

"The friendship of David and Jonathan was based upon the common experiences of trial in the court of Saul, and a mutual respect and acceptance of the divine will. Although Jonathan was the king-elect as son of Saul, he willingly submitted to the divine choice of David as Israel's next king, and his soul was thereby knit with his great friend in truth and understanding. David required Jonathan's help in his extremities in the household of Saul. He was in great danger, and the presence of Saul at Ramah showed that the king would not respect the presence of Samuel, and therefore David was not even safe with the prophet. As a member of Saul's household, his duty was to be present at the feast of the new moon about to take place. But knowing full well that Saul was determined on his death, David hastened back before the king to enlist the help of Jonathan. Though Yahweh had promised him the kingdom, it was still necessary to exercise wisdom to attain it faith, courage and patience would not lack its reward. Meanwhile the difficulties David experienced moulded his life, preparing him to assume the exalted position of Shepherd and Ruler of Israel" (GEM).

Background: The Spirit of God seems to have temporarily changed Saul's outlook, so that for a brief time David the fugitive was again welcome at his table (vv 5,25,27). But David seems to have good reason to doubt this extended hospitality.

1Sa 20:3

THERE IS ONLY A STEP BETWEEN ME AND DEATH: David seems unnerved by the nearness of death, seeming to forget (so it seems) that God has promised to be with him.

1Sa 20:6

AN ANNUAL SACRIFICE...: This suggests a sort of disorganization of national religious life at this time.

1Sa 20:11

Cp Gen 4:8.

1Sa 20:13

MAY THE LORD BE WITH YOU AS HE HAS BEEN WITH MY FATHER: Jonathan knew that David was God's choice to be king. See Lesson, Covenant-victim, the.

1Sa 20:15

LXX reads: "If I die, thou shalt not cut off thy kindness..." (cp v 42).

1Sa 20:19

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW: Thus three days absence!

WHEN THIS TROUBLE BEGAN: Where David had hid before, awaiting Jonathan's reconciliation (1Sa 19:2-7).

THE STONE EZEL: Lit "the stone which showed the way": Christ the stone (Psa 118:22). Christ the way (Joh 14:6). "Ezel" sig "departure" -- ie, separation from the world. David's righteousness had alienated him from Saul. Also the separation of two godly men -- who will yet meet in God's Kingdom (cp 1Sa 23:17).

1Sa 20:25

AND ABNER SAT NEXT TO SAUL: Jonathan seems to be falling in the esteem of his father -- due to his love for David (cp v 30).

1Sa 20:27

Prob Saul tries to appear indifferent (hoping to lure David to his table).

1Sa 20:30

Saul's pent-up passions are released all at one time.

YOU SON OF A PERVERSE AND REBELLIOUS WOMAN: Perhaps Jonathan's mother was a worshiper of the one true God, and Jonathan had learned from her. For this reason, she came to be hated by Saul.

1Sa 20:33

Jonathan now suffers the same as did his friend David.

BUT SAUL HURLED HIS SPEAR AT HIM TO KILL HIM: Saul, though placated before (1Sa 19:6), would not be denied this time. Saul, not having David as his target as on two previous occasions (1Sa 18:10-11; 19:9-10), tried to pin David's surrogate Jonathan to the wall with his spear (v 33). Jonathan needed no further convincing that Saul indeed intended to kill David (something David had obviously known much earlier: v 7) and that the spear had really been meant for his covenanted friend. In Saul's eyes, Jonathan and David had momentarily become one.

1Sa 20:35

IN THE MORNING: The third day (cp v 19), the morning of resurrection!

1Sa 20:42

"The concluding verse is a wonderful testimony to spiritual understanding and commitment. Jonathan acknowledges the divine purpose beyond his own opportunities. The compact would be assured, and ultimately both David and Jonathan will be united in glory 'forever' " (GEM).

THE LORD IS WITNESS BETWEEN YOU AND ME: Confidence in the watchful care of God: "I am with you always."

BETWEEN YOUR DESCENDANTS AND MY DESCENDANTS FOREVER: Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth, eats meat at David's table (2Sa 9:7).

THEN DAVID LEFT: When he at last returned, it was to establish the Kingdom. (Cp Christ's departure from his apostles.)

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