The Bible in Its Traditions

1 Samuel 20:1–21:1

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And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan: 'What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?'

Then David fled from Naioth, which is in Ramah, and he went and said before Jonathan: “What have I done? What is my iniquity, or what is my sin, against your father, so that he would seek my life?”

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And he said unto him: 'Far from it; thou shalt not die; behold, my father doeth nothing either great or small, but that he discloseth it unto me; and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.'

And Jonathan said to him, Far be it from thee: thou shalt not die: behold, my father will not do any thing great or small without discovering it to me; and why should my father hide this matter from me? This thing is not so.

And he said to him: “May this not be! You shall not die. For my father will not do anything, great or small, without first revealing it to me. Therefore, has my father concealed this word solely from me? By no means shall this be!”

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And David swore moreover, and said: 'Thy father knoweth well that I have found favour in thine eyes; and he saith: Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved; but truly as YHWH liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.'

And David answered Jonathan, and said, Thy father knows surely that I have found grace in thy sight, and he said, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he refuse his consent: but as the Lord lives and thy soul lives, as I said, the space is filled up between me and death.

And he swore again to David. And David said: “Your father certainly knows that I have found favor in your sight, and so he will say, ‘Let Jonathan not know this, lest he be saddened.’ So truly, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, there is only one step (if I may say it) separating me from death.”

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Then said Jonathan unto David: 'What doth thy soul desire, that I should do it for thee?'

And Jonathan said to David, What does thy soul desire, and what shall I do for thee.

Then Jonathan said to David, Whatever you desire, I will do for you.

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And David said unto Jonathan: 'Behold, to-morrow is the new moon, when I should sit with the king to eat; so let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.

And David said to Jonathan, Behold, to-morrow is the new moon, and I shall not on any account sit down to eat, but thou shalt let me go, and I will hide in the plain till the evening.

Then David said to Jonathan: “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I am accustomed to sit in a seat beside the king to eat. Therefore, permit me that I may be hidden in the field, until the evening of the third day.

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If thy father miss me at all, then say: David earnestly asked leave of me that he might run to Beth-lehem his city; for it is the yearly sacrifice there for all the family.

And if thy father do in anywise enquire for me, then shalt thou say, David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethleem his city, for there is there, a yearly sacrifice for all the family.

If your father, looking around, will seek me, you shall respond to him: ‘David asked me if he may hurry to Bethlehem, his own city. For there are solemn sacrifices in that place for all of his tribe together.’

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If he say thus: It is well; thy servant shall have peace; but if he be wroth, then know that evil is determined by him.

If he will say, ‘It is well,’ then your servant will have peace. But if he will be angry, know that his malice has reached its height.

Therefore deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of YHWH with thee; but if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?'

Therefore, show mercy to your servant. For you have brought me, your servant, into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is any iniquity in me, you may kill me, and you shall not lead me in to your father.”

And Jonathan said: 'Far be it from thee; for if I should at all know that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?

And Jonathan said: “May this be far from you. For certainly, if I ever realized that any wickedness was determined by my father against you, I would not be able to do anything other than report it to you.”

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10  Then said David to Jonathan: 'Who shall tell me if perchance thy father answer thee roughly?'

10  And David said to Jonathan, Who can tell me if thy father should answer roughly?

10  And David responded to Jonathan, “Who will repeat it to me, if your father may perhaps answer you harshly about me?”

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11  And Jonathan said unto David: 'Come and let us go out into the field.' And they went out both of them into the field.

11  And Jonathan said to David, Go, and abide in the field. And they went out both into the field.

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12  And Jonathan said unto David: 'YHWH, the God of Israel--when I have sounded my father about this time to-morrow, or the third day, behold, if there be good toward David, shall I not then send unto thee, and disclose it unto thee?

12  And Jonathan said to David, the Lord God of Israel knows that I will sound my father as I have an opportunity, three several times, and, behold, if good should be determined concerning David, and I do not send to thee to the field,

12  Jonathan said before David: “O Lord, God of Israel, if I will discover a decision by my father, tomorrow, or the day after, and if there will be anything good concerning David, and yet I do not immediately send to you and make it known to you,

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13  YHWH do so to Jonathan, and more also, should it please my father to do thee evil, if I disclose it not unto thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace; and YHWH be with thee, as He hath been with my father.

13  may the Lord do these things to Jonathan, and may he add these other things. But if my father will have persevered in malice against you, I will reveal it to your ear, and I will send you away, so that you may go in peace, and so that the Lord may be with you, just as he was with my father.

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14  And thou shalt not only while yet I live show me the kindness of YHWH, that I die not;

14  And if indeed I continue to live, then shalt thou deal mercifully with me; and if I indeed die,

15  but also thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever; no, not when YHWH hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.'

15  thou shalt not withdraw thy mercy from my house for ever: and if thou doest not, when the Lord cuts off the enemies of David each from the face of the earth, should it happen that the name of Jonathan be discovered by the house of David, then let the Lord seek out the enemies of David.

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16  So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David: 'YHWH even require it at the hand of David's enemies.'

16  Therefore, Jonathan formed a covenant with the house of David. And the Lord required it from the hands of the enemies of David.

16  So Jonathan's house shall flourish with the house of David; and may the LORD take vengeance on David's enemies.

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17  And Jonathan caused David to swear again, for the love that he had to him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

17  And Jonathan swore yet again to David, because he loved the soul of him that loved him.

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18  And Jonathan said unto him: 'To-morrow is the new moon; and thou wilt be missed, thy seat will be empty.

18  And Jonathan said, To-morrow is the new moon, and thou wilt be enquired for, because thy seat will be observed as vacant.

18  Then Jonathan said to him. Tomorrow is the new moon; and you shall be missed, because your seat will be empty.

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19  And in the third day thou shalt hide thyself well, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself in the day of work, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.

19  And thou shalt stay three days, and watch an opportunity, and shalt come to thy place where thou mayest hide thyself in the day of thy business, and thou shalt wait by that ergab.

19  For your seat will be empty until the day after tomorrow. Therefore, you shall descend quickly, and you shall go to the place where you are to be hidden, on a day when it is lawful to work, and you shall remain beside the stone that is called Ezel.

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20  And I will shoot three arrows to the side-ward, as though I shot at a mark.

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21  And, behold, I will send the lad: Go, find the arrows. If I say unto the lad: Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee; take them, and come; for there is peace to thee and no hurt, as YHWH liveth.

21  And behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go find me the arrow.

21  Also, I will send a boy, saying to him, ‘Go and bring the arrows to me.’

22  But if I say thus unto the boy: Behold, the arrows are beyond thee; go thy way; for YHWH hath sent thee away.

22  If I should expressly say to the lad, The arrow is here, and on this side of thee, take it; then come, for it is well with thee, and there is no reason for fear, as the Lord lives: but if I should say thus to the young man, The arrow is on that side of thee, and beyond; go, for the Lord hath sent thee away.

22  If I will say to the boy, ‘Behold, the arrows are before you, take them up,’ you shall approach before me, because there is peace for you, and there is nothing evil, as the Lord lives. But if I will have spoken to the boy in this way, ‘Behold, the arrows are away from you,’ then you shall go away in peace, for the Lord has released you.

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23  And as touching the matter which I and thou have spoken of, behold, YHWH is between me and thee for ever.'

23  Now about the word that you and I have spoken, may the Lord be between you and me, even forever.”

24  So David hid himself in the field; and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to the meal to eat.

24  Therefore, David was hidden in the field. And the new moon came, and the king sat down to eat bread.

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25  And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon the seat by the wall; and Jonathan stood up, and Abner sat by Saul's side; but David's place was empty.

25  And he sat upon his seat as in former times, even on his seat by the wall, and he went before Jonathan; and Abenner sat on one side of Saul, and the place of David was empty.

25  And when the king had sat down on his chair, (according to custom) which was beside the wall, Jonathan rose up, and Abner sat beside Saul, and David’s place appeared empty.

26  Nevertheless Saul spoke not any thing that day; for he thought: 'Something hath befallen him, he is unclean; surely he is not clean.'

26  And Saul said nothing on that day, for he said, It seems to have fallen out that he is not clean, because he has not purified himself.

26  And Saul did not say anything on that day. For he was thinking that perhaps something happened to him, so that he was not clean, or not purified.

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27  And it came to pass on the morrow after the new moon, which was the second day, that David's place was empty; and Saul said unto Jonathan his son: 'Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to the meal, neither yesterday, nor to-day?'

27  And when the second day after the new moon had begun to dawn, David’s place again appeared empty. And Saul said to Jonathan, his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not arrived to eat, neither yesterday, nor today?”

28  And Jonathan answered Saul: 'David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beth-lehem;

28  And Jonathan responded to Saul, “He petitioned me earnestly that he might go to Bethlehem,

29  and he said: Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me; and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he is not come unto the king's table.'

29  and he said: ‘Permit me. For there is a solemn sacrifice in the city. One of my brothers has summoned me. Now therefore, if I have found favor in your eyes, I will go quickly, and I will see my brothers.’ For this reason, he has not come to the table of the king.”

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30  Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him: 'Thou son of perverse rebellion, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own shame, and unto the shame of thy mother's nakedness?

30  And Saul was exceedingly angry with Jonathan, and said to him, Thou son of traitorous damsels! for do I not know that thou art an accomplice with the son of Jessae to thy same, and to the shame of thy mother’s nakedness?

30  Then Saul, becoming angry against Jonathan, said to him: “You son of a woman wantonly seizing a man! Could I be ignorant that you love the son of Jesse, to your own shame, and to the shame of your disgraceful mother?

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31  For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the earth, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he deserveth to die.'

31  For all the days that the son of Jesse moves upon earth, neither you, nor your kingdom, will be secure. And so, send and bring him to me, here and now. For he is a son of death.”

32  And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him: 'Wherefore should he be put to death? what hath he done?'

32  Then Jonathan, answering his father Saul, said: “Why should he die? What has he done?”

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33  And Saul cast his spear at him to smite him; whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to put David to death.

33  And Saul lifted up his spear against Jonathan to slay him: so Jonathan knew that this evil was determined on by his father to slay David.

33  And Saul picked up a lance, so that he might strike him. And Jonathan understood that it had been decided by his father that David be put to death.

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34  So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no food the second day of the month; for he was grieved for David, and because his father had put him to shame.

34  And Jonathan sprang up from the table in great anger, and did not eat bread on the second day of the month, for he grieved bitterly for David, because his father determined on mischief against him.

34  Therefore, Jonathan rose up from the table in a rage of anger. And he did not eat bread on the second day after the new moon. For he was saddened over David, because his father had confounded him.

35  And it came to pass in the morning, that Jonathan went out into the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad with him.

35  And morning came, and Jonathan went out to the field, as he appointed to do for a signal to David, and a little boy was with him.

35  And when the morning had begun to dawn, Jonathan went into the field according to the agreement with David, and a young boy was with him.

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36  And he said unto his lad: 'Run, find now the arrows which I shoot.' And as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.

36  And he said to the boy, Run, find me the arrows which I shoot: and the boy ran, and Jonathan shot an arrow, and sent it beyond him.

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37  And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said: 'Is not the arrow beyond thee?'

37  And the boy came to the place where the arrow was which Jonathan shot; and Jonathan cried out after the lad, and said, The arrow is on that side of thee and beyond thee.

37  And so, the boy went to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot. And Jonathan cried out, from behind the back of boy, and said: “Behold, the arrow is there, farther away from you.”

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38  And Jonathan cried after the lad: 'Make speed, hasten, stay not.' And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.

38  And Jonathan cried out after his boy, saying, Make all speed, and stay not. And Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows, and brought the arrows to his master.

38  And Jonathan cried out again, from behind the back of the boy, saying, “Go quickly! Do not stand still!” Then Jonathan’s boy collected the arrows, and he brought them to his lord.

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39  But the lad knew not any thing; only Jonathan and David knew the matter.

39  And the boy knew nothing, only Jonathan and David knew.

39  And he did not understand at all what was happening. For only Jonathan and David knew the matter.

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40  And Jonathan gave his weapons unto his lad, and said unto him: 'Go, carry them to the city.'

40  Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy, and he said to him, “Go, and carry them into the city.”

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41  And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the South, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed down three times; and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.

41  And when the lad went in, then David arose from the argab, and fell upon his face, and did obeisance to him three times, and they kissed each other, and wept for each other, for a great while.

41  And when the boy had gone away, David rose up from his place, which turned toward the south, and falling prone on the ground, he reverenced three times. And kissing one another, they wept together, but David more so.

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42  And Jonathan said to David: 'Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of YHWH, saying: YHWH shall be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed, for ever.' And he arose and departed; and Jonathan went into the city.

42  Then Jonathan said to David: “Go in peace. And let us both keep all that we have ever sworn in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘May the Lord be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, even forever.’ ”

43  And David rose up and went away. But Jonathan entered into the city.

42  Then Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, inasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD be between me and you and between my descendants and your descendants forever. Then Jonathan arose and went into the city.

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21:1  Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said unto him: 'Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?'

And David comes to Nomba to Abimelech the priest: and Abimelech was amazed at meeting him, and said to him, Why art thou alone, and nobody with thee?

Then David went into Nob, to the priest Ahimelech. And Ahimelech was astonished that David had arrived. And he said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one is with you?”