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1 Samuel 20

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Read 1 Samuel 19:18-24

I. Protected by Prophecy vs. 18-24

vs. 18 David and Samuel go and LIVE in Naioth
The word naioth means “dwellings” and was probably a section in Ramah where the “school of the prophets” assembled.
There Samuel and David could worship and pray and ask God for wisdom, and the prophets would pray with them.
But Saul’s spies were everywhere and they reported to Saul where he could find David.
The king sent three different groups of soldiers to capture David, but when they arrived at the place where the prophets had assembled, they were immediately possessed by the Spirit and began to praise and worship God!
The Hebrew word translated “prophesy” can mean “to sing songs and praise God” as well as “to foretell events.” Saul’s soldiers didn’t become prophets; they only uttered words inspired by the Spirit of God.
God protected David and Samuel, not by sending an army but by sending the Holy Spirit to turn warriors into worshipers
2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
vs. 22 Then Saul went to Ramah
Three groups of soldiers had failed, so Saul decided to go to Ramah himself.
David’s presence in Ramah was no secret because the people at the great cistern knew where he and Samuel were and they told Saul.
Perhaps the entire town knew that some kind of “spiritual revival” was taking place at the school of the prophets.
Saul hastened to the place only to be met by the Spirit of God and made to praise the Lord
vs 23-24 Saul goes to Naioth, gets naked, and prophesies
He took off his outer royal garments and became like any other man, and he lay on the floor before Samuel.
This would be their last meeting
But Saul had had a similar experience after Samuel had anointed him king
1 Samuel 10:9–13 ESV
When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” And a man of the place answered, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.
From it came the proverbial saying, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
After Saul’s experience at Ramah, the proverb was resurrected.
These two events prove that a person can have a remarkable religious experience and yet have no change in character
Special religious manifestations aren’t evidences that a person is even saved
Matthew 7:21–23 ESV
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
David knew that Saul’s ecstatic experience would soon end and would leave his heart unchanged.
Saul had promised Jonathan that he wouldn’t try to kill David (19:6), but he had already broken that promise four times (vv. 20–24), so the wisest course for David was to get away from Saul and go into hiding.
He heads to meet with Jonathan

II. What Am I Guilty of? vs. 1-17

vs. 1 What have I done?
David and Jonathan stand out as examples of devoted friends.
Jonathan had the more difficult situation because he wanted to be loyal to his father while at the same time being a friend to the next king of Israel.
David met Jonathan somewhere near Gibeah and wasted no time confronting his beloved friend with the key question: “What have I done that is so evil that your father wants to kill me?”
David hadn’t disobeyed any royal commands, incited any rebellion against the throne, or broken God’s law, yet Saul was bent on destroying him.
David knew that Saul was an envious man who wanted to keep the throne for himself and hand it on to his descendants, but David had faith that the Lord would remove Saul from the scene in His good time and in His own way
vs. 2 My father does nothing without letting me know
Jonathan’s reply sounds rather naïve, especially in the light of Saul’s statement in 19:1 and his behavior at Ramah.
Saul had thrown his spear at David at least three times (10–11; 19:9–10), and he had sent three groups of soldiers to capture him, and Saul finally went to Ramah himself to do the job (vv. 20–24).
How much evidence did Jonathan need that his father was a disturbed man out to destroy God’s anointed king?
Jonathan mistakenly thought that his own relationship to his father was closer than it really was and that Saul would confide in him, but subsequent events proved him wrong, for Saul would even try to kill Jonathan!
vs. 3 Your father knows I have favor in your eyes
David refuted Jonathan’s argument by stating that the logical thing for Saul to do was to keep his eldest son in the dark.
Saul knew that David and Jonathan were devoted friends and that Jonathan would be pained if he knew Saul’s real intentions.
The matter was so serious that David couldn’t put his faith in what Saul told Jonathan.
vs. 3“There is but a step between me and death”
This was true both metaphorically and literally, for three times David had dodged the king’s spear.
vs. 4-7 Tell if your Father is angry
Jonathan offered to help in any way his friend suggested, and David proposed a simple test of Saul’s true feelings.
It was customary for each Jewish family to hold a feast at the new moon
Psalm 81:3 ESV
Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.
Saul would expect David to attend.
If Saul’s son-in-law and leading military hero didn’t attend the feast, it would be an insult to the king as well as the family, so David’s absence would help reveal Saul’s genuine attitude toward David.
If Saul became angry, then David’s assessment was correct, but if Saul excused David and didn’t press the matter, then Jonathan was correct.
vs. 8-11 Deal kindly because of our covenant
How would Jonathan safely get the message to David? (1 Sam. 20:10)
He couldn’t trust one of the servants to carry the word, so, in spite of the danger, he would have to do it himself.
He devised a simple plan involving shooting three arrows out in the field where David was hiding (v. 20).
Jonathan would call to the lad who was helping him and in this way signal David and tell him what to do.
Even if some of Saul’s spies were present, they wouldn’t understand what was going on.
vs. 12-17 Renewed the covenant so
From verse 11 to verse 23, David is silent while Jonathan reviews the covenant they had made with each other (18:1–4).
Jonathan even took an oath and promised to give David the correct message on the third day of the feast, so he would know whether the king was friendly or angry.
Jonathan went beyond the immediate crisis to deal with future events.
He knew that David would one day become king, and he prayed that the Lord would bless his reign.
In their covenant, they agreed that Jonathan would serve next to David as second in command (23:16–18), and now Jonathan asked that if anything happened to him, David would promise not to wipe out his household, and David agreed.
The phrase “the kindness of the Lord” (20:14) shows up in 2 Samuel 9 where David’s compassionate care of Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth, is described.
Jonathan reaffirmed his oath and included the whole house of David (1 Sam. 20:16), and he asked David to repeat his covenant oath as well.
There’s no mention of the offering of a covenant sacrifice (Gen. 15) or the signing of a covenant document, because the love the two men had for the Lord and each other was sufficient to make the agreement binding.
Jonathan had brought much joy and encouragement to David during those difficult years, but it wasn’t God’s will that David permanently join himself to Saul and his family, for they belonged to the wrong tribe

IV. Contentious Dinner vs. 18-34

vs. 18-23 Hide behind the stone heap
vs. 24-29 Where is David?
Constantly afraid of personal attack, Saul sat with his back to the wall, his commander Abner next to him, and Jonathan across from his father.
David’s place next to Jonathan was empty, but the king said nothing about it, convinced that David was ceremonially unclean and therefore unable to eat a holy feast that day.
The feast consisted primarily of meat from the new moon fellowship offerings, and anyone ceremonially unclean was prohibited from participating
Perhaps David had touched something unclean, or he may have had intercourse with his wife (15:16–18).
If so, all he had to do was separate himself from other people for that day, bathe his body, and change clothes, and he could come back into society the next day.
But when the men met for their meal the second day, again David was missing, which suggested to Saul that his son-in-law’s absence was caused by something more serious than simple ritual defilement.
An unclean person could remove the defilement in a day, but David had been missing for two days.
Suspicious of anything out of the ordinary in his official staff, Saul asked Jonathan why David was absent, disdainfully calling him “the son of Jesse” rather than by his given name that was now so famous.
vs. 30-34 Father Son Spat
When hateful feelings are in the heart, it doesn’t take much for angry words to come out of the mouth (Matt. 12:34–35).
Saul had probably been brooding over how David had insulted him by refusing to attend the feast, and the longer he brooded, the more the fire raged within.
But instead of attacking David, King Saul attacked his own son!
Had the Lord not intervened back in Ramah, Saul would have killed David in the very presence of the Prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 19:22–24), and now he reviled his own son while eating a holy feast!
The king’s tirade seems to disparage his own wife, but rightly understood, his words describe his son as the lowest of the low.
According to Saul, Jonathan’s treachery in befriending David indicated that he was not Saul’s son at all but the son of some other man, for a son of Saul would never betray his father.
Therefore, Jonathan was slandering his own mother and saying she was a common prostitute
vs. 33 Saul casts a spear at Jonathan
Never good when Dad tries to kill you
Saul’s great concern was the preservation of the kingdom that the Lord had already taken from him

V. Tearful Farewell vs. 35-42

vs. 35-40
As he promised David, he shot three arrows (v. 20), one of which was sent far beyond the boy, making it necessary for Jonathan to shout to the lad.
But his words were meant for David’s ears: “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t linger!”
When the boy came back with the arrows, Jonathan gave him the bow and sent him back to the city, and then he ran out to meet David.
vs. 41-42
This was not their last meeting (23:16–18), but it was certainly a profoundly emotional farewell.
They both wept, but David wept the most.
He didn’t know how many years of exile lay before him, and perhaps he might never see his beloved friend again.
Eastern peoples aren’t ashamed to weep, embrace, and kiss one another
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