1 David now fled from Naioth in Ramah and found Jonathan. "What have I done?" he exclaimed. "What is my crime? How have I offended your father that he is so determined to kill me?"
2 "That's not true!" Jonathan protested. "I'm sure he's not planning any such thing, for he always tells me everything he's going to do, even the little things. I know he wouldn't hide something like this from me. It just isn't so!"
3 Then David took an oath before Jonathan and said, "Your father knows perfectly well about our friendship, so he has said to himself, `I won't tell Jonathan--why should I hurt him?' But I swear to you that I am only a step away from death! I swear it by the LORD and by your own soul!"
4 "Tell me what I can do!" Jonathan exclaimed.
5 David replied, "Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. I've always eaten with your father on this occasion, but tomorrow I'll hide in the field and stay there until the evening of the third day.
6 If your father asks where I am, tell him I asked permission to go home to Bethlehem for an annual family sacrifice.
7 If he says, `Fine!' then you will know all is well. But if he is angry and loses his temper, then you will know he was planning to kill me.
8 Show me this kindness as my sworn friend--for we made a covenant together before the LORD--or kill me yourself if I have sinned against your father. But please don't betray me to him!"
9 "Never!" Jonathan exclaimed. "You know that if I had the slightest notion my father was planning to kill you, I would tell you at once."
10 Then David asked, "How will I know whether or not your father is angry?"
11 "Come out to the field with me," Jonathan replied. And they went out there together.
12 Then Jonathan told David, "I promise by the LORD, the God of Israel, that by this time tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, I will talk to my father and let you know at once how he feels about you. If he speaks favorably about you, I will let you know.
13 But if he is angry and wants you killed, may the LORD kill me if I don't warn you so you can escape and live. May the LORD be with you as he used to be with my father.
14 And may you treat me with the faithful love of the LORD as long as I live. But if I die,
15 treat my family with this faithful love, even when the LORD destroys all your enemies."
16 So Jonathan made a covenant with David,* saying, "May the LORD destroy all your enemies!"1
17 And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as much as he loved himself.
18 Then Jonathan said, "Tomorrow we celebrate the new moon festival. You will be missed when your place at the table is empty.
19 The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid before, and wait there by the stone pile.*2
20 I will come out and shoot three arrows to the side of the stone pile as though I were shooting at a target.
21 Then I will send a boy to bring the arrows back. If you hear me tell him, `They're on this side,' then you will know, as surely as the LORD lives, that all is well, and there is no trouble.
22 But if I tell him, `Go farther--the arrows are still ahead of you,' then it will mean that you must leave immediately, for the LORD is sending you away.
23 And may the LORD make us keep our promises to each other, for he has witnessed them."
24 So David hid himself in the field, and when the new moon festival began, the king sat down to eat.
25 He sat at his usual place against the wall, with Jonathan sitting opposite him* and Abner beside him. But David's place was empty.3
26 Saul didn't say anything about it that day, for he said to himself, "Something must have made David ceremonially unclean. Yes, that must be why he's not here."
27 But when David's place was empty again the next day, Saul asked Jonathan, "Why hasn't the son of Jesse been here for dinner either yesterday or today?"