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Song of Solomon
1 Samuel 20 COMMENTARY (Matthew Henry)
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1 Samuel 20
Matthew Henry's Commentary
1 Samuel 20:1
And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what
mine iniquity? and what
my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life?
20:1-10 The trials David met with, prepared him for future advancement. Thus the Lord deals with those whom he prepares unto glory. He does not put them into immediate possession of the kingdom, but leads them to it through much tribulation, which he makes the means of fitting them for it. Let them not murmur at his gracious appointment, nor distrust his care; but let them look forward with joyful expectation to the crown which is laid up for them. Sometimes it appears to us that there is but a step between us and death; at all times it may be so, and we should prepare for the event. But though dangers appear most threatening, we cannot die till the purpose of God concerning us is accomplished; nor till we have served our generation according to his will, if we are believers. Jonathan generously offers David his services. This is true friendship. Thus Christ testifies his love to us, Ask, and it shall be done for you; and we must testify our love to him, by keeping his commandments.
1 Samuel 20:2
And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it
1 Samuel 20:3
And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly
the LORD liveth, and
thy soul liveth,
but a step between me and death.
1 Samuel 20:4
Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do
1 Samuel 20:5
And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow
the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third
1 Samuel 20:6
If thy father at all miss me, then say, David earnestly asked
of me that he might run to Bethlehem his city: for
a yearly sacrifice there for all the family.
1 Samuel 20:7
If he say thus,
well; thy servant shall have peace: but if he be very wroth,
be sure that evil is determined by him.
1 Samuel 20:8
Therefore thou shalt deal kindly with thy servant; for thou hast brought thy servant into a covenant of the LORD with thee: notwithstanding, if there be in me iniquity, slay me thyself; for why shouldest thou bring me to thy father?
1 Samuel 20:9
And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?
1 Samuel 20:10
Then said David to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? or what
thy father answer thee roughly?
1 Samuel 20:11
And Jonathan said unto David, Come, and let us go out into the field. And they went out both of them into the field.
20:11-23 Jonathan faithfully promises that he would let David know how he found his father affected towards him. It will be kindness to ourselves and to ours, to secure an interest in those whom God favours, and to make his friends ours. True friendship rests on a firm basis, and is able to silence ambition, self-love, and undue regard for others. But who can fully understand the love of Jesus, who gave himself as a sacrifice for rebellious, polluted sinners! how great then ought to be the force and effects of our love to him, to his cause, and his people!
1 Samuel 20:12
And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time,
, and, behold,
if there be
good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and shew it thee;
1 Samuel 20:13
The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father
thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father.
1 Samuel 20:14
And thou shalt not only while yet I live shew me the kindness of the LORD, that I die not:
1 Samuel 20:15
thou shalt not cut off thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when the LORD hath cut off the enemies of David every one from the face of the earth.
1 Samuel 20:16
So Jonathan made
with the house of David,
, Let the LORD even require
at the hand of David's enemies.
1 Samuel 20:17
And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
1 Samuel 20:18
Then Jonathan said to David, To morrow
the new moon: and thou shalt be missed, because thy seat will be empty.
1 Samuel 20:19
thou hast stayed three days,
thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was
, and shalt remain by the stone Ezel.
1 Samuel 20:20
And I will shoot three arrows on the side
, as though I shot at a mark.
1 Samuel 20:21
And, behold, I will send a lad,
, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows
on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for
peace to thee, and no hurt;
the LORD liveth.
1 Samuel 20:22
But if I say thus unto the young man, Behold, the arrows
beyond thee; go thy way: for the LORD hath sent thee away.
1 Samuel 20:23
the matter which thou and I have spoken of, behold, the LORD
between thee and me for ever.
1 Samuel 20:24
So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.
20:24-34 None were more constant than David in attending holy duties; nor had he been absent, but self-preservation obliged him to withdraw. In great peril present opportunities for Divine ordinances may be waved. But it is bad for us, except in case of necessity, to omit any opportunity of statedly attending on them. Jonathan did wisely and well for himself and family, to secure an interest in David, yet for this he is blamed. It is good to take God's people for our people. It will prove to our advantage at last, however it may now be thought against our interest. Saul was outrageous. What savage beasts, and worse, does anger make men!
1 Samuel 20:25
And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times,
upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul's side, and David's place was empty.
1 Samuel 20:26
Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he
not clean; surely he
1 Samuel 20:27
And it came to pass on the morrow,
of the month, that David's place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor to day?
1 Samuel 20:28
And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked
1 Samuel 20:29
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
to be there
: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king's table.
1 Samuel 20:30
Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious
, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother's nakedness?
1 Samuel 20:31
For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die.
1 Samuel 20:32
And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done?
1 Samuel 20:33
And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David.
1 Samuel 20:34
So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.
1 Samuel 20:35
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.
20:35-42 The separation of two such faithful friends was grievous to both, but David's case was the more deplorable, for David was leaving all his comforts, even those of God's sanctuary. Christians need not sorrow, as men without hope; but being one with Christ, they are one with each other, and will meet in his presence ere long, to part no more; to meet where all tears shall be wiped from their eyes.
1 Samuel 20:36
And he said unto his lad, Run, find out now the arrows which I shoot.
as the lad ran, he shot an arrow beyond him.
1 Samuel 20:37
And when the lad was come to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad, and said,
not the arrow beyond thee?
1 Samuel 20:38
And Jonathan cried after the lad, Make speed, haste, stay not. And Jonathan's lad gathered up the arrows, and came to his master.
1 Samuel 20:39
But the lad knew not any thing: only Jonathan and David knew the matter.
1 Samuel 20:40
And Jonathan gave his artillery unto his lad, and said unto him, Go, carry
to the city.
1 Samuel 20:41
as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of
toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times: and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.
1 Samuel 20:42
And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, The LORD 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.
Courtesy of Open Bible
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