1 Samuel 19-20:   “David’s Period Of Wanderings Begins As God Begins To Knock Out From Under Him All Of His Props


Jim Bomkamp

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1.     INTRO:


1.1.     In our last study, we looked at chapter 18 and the incredible bond of friendship that began between David and Jonathan, the son of king Saul.


1.1.1.  We saw that Jonathan’s soul became knit to the soul of David and that Jonathan made a lifelong commitment to David to serve under him when the Lord made David king over Israel.


1.1.2.  We saw that from the hand of the Lord that David began to gain favor with people throughout Israel after his conquest of Goliath, however this led Saul to become angry and jealous of David, and ultimately Saul attempted to murder David with a spear a couple of times.


1.1.3.  We contrasted two different lives in our story, the life of Saul and the life of David.      Saul, because he was not following the Lord any more, became more and more self-centered and egotistical, and this led him to become jealous to the point of attempting to murder David.      David, who followed the Lord, sought to diligently serve king Saul and perform every duty and all that he did as unto the Lord, serving the Lord with all of his might.


1.1.4.  We saw then the reason that Saul and David were heading in two different directions had everything to do with their “private life.”      Saul, in his “private life” was constantly scheming and seeking to establish and preserve his own kingdom (he was building his own kingdom at this point not the Lord’s kingdom).           Because of his “private life” Saul succumbed to outbursts of anger, jealousy, and ultimately murder.      David, in his “private life” worshipped and sought after the Lord.  He was always spending time with the Lord and inquiring of the Lord concerning any decision that he made.           Because of his “private life,” David carried out all of his duties with diligence and all of his might, and though he could have sought to retaliate against Saul and somehow seek his own revenge for the way that Saul sought to treat him, David refrained from this and constantly just kept his eyes upon his Lord whom he served.           We saw then that what a man or woman does in his/her “private life” spills over into every action and decision he/she makes in life.           We see also that though David had been anointed as king by Samuel, David determined to let the Lord bring that reality to pass.  He didn’t now try to manipulate the situation, plot some sort of an insurrection to make himself king, etc.


1.2.                     In our study today, we are going to look at chapters 19 and 20 of the book and we will see that these chapters make the transition into the period of David’s wanderings, and it is during this time of David’s wanderings that the Lord begins to work into his heart the character traits that would make him the king over God’s people that the Lord intended.


1.2.1.  This period of David’s wanderings which these chapters transition us into occupy a period of at least 10 years.  During this time of wanderings, David is forced to constantly flee for his life from King Saul who is always hunting him like an animal.  David is forced during this time to roam about the country side, live in caves and the forest, and protect and provide for himself.


1.2.2.  It is during this time of David’s wanderings that the Lord begins to kick out from under David every single prop that he might rely upon for protection and help.  The Lord is teaching David that his reliance needs to be upon the Lord and Him alone, and that David is to walk by faith in the promises of God for his life, and not take matters into his own hands and plot and scheme to bring about God’s plans and purposes.


1.2.3.  Sometimes during this period of David’s wanderings we see David living by faith and trusting in the Lord, but as is the habit really with all of God’s people, at other times David’s faith wavers and he does go and take matters into his own hands. 


1.2.4.  In the Psalms which David wrote we see many times inferences to this time of David’s wanderings when he was praying for the Lord to smite his enemies and protect him and also where he felt the Lord’s hand of chastening heavy upon his life.  David knew that much of what he suffered in his trials came about as the result of his own sins before the Lord.      The Lord only chastises His children out of love we must remember.  These times of discipline of us are never the result of God’s anger and wrath poured out upon His children.  God’s anger is reserved for the defiant and unrepentant, His enemies.


1.2.5.  The end result of the Lord’s dealings with David is that he becomes the best of God’s kings to ever rule over Israel.  In fact, as J. Vernon McGee points out, David becomes the best king period to reign upon the earth.


1.2.6.  King David serves as a type of Christ in the scriptures and all of the things which he endures in his suffering and chastening by the Lord parallels what our Lord Jesus suffered so that He might qualify to become the Lamb without spot or blemish who would take away the sins of the world.


1.2.7.  In this story, we will see that Saul becomes yet more and more jealous of David as he sees the Lord prospering David and giving David favor in the people’s eyes, and he determines to kill David.


1.2.8.  Jonathan, the son of Saul, whom we saw in our last study became the “friend” of David (they made a lifelong commitment to each other there), now begins to come to David’s aid to protect him from his father, as Saul attempted to find a way to kill David.


1.2.9.  We will see in our study that King Saul tells his son Jonathan and his servants to put David to death.  Then, his son Jonathan determines to intercede with his father on David’s behalf, and he talks his father into vowing not to kill David.  However, before long Saul again becomes jealous of David as he sees the Lord’s hand on David’s life when David has a great victory over the Philistines.  After this victory, Saul again attempts to kill David with the spear as David is playing the harp for him.  Next, David’s wife Michal, Saul’s daughter, tells David of a plot by Saul to kill him and she helps David to escape from his assassins out of a window during the night.  Finally, David comes to Jonathan to find out why his father is trying to kill him.  David tells Jonathan a plan he wants him to follow to determine whether or not Saul is now planning to kill David.  The plan involves having David missing during the monthly feast of the New Moon and Jonathan telling Saul that David had asked permission from him to go and to be with his family.  If Saul got angry about David’s being missing from the feast then David would know that Saul intended to kill David.  Jonathan tells David that when he finds out if Saul intends to kill David that he will come to a certain valley and if Saul is planning to kill David that Jonathan will shoot his arrows beyond the lad carrying his equipment.  However, if it is safe for David to return to the palace because his father isn’t planning to kill David, then Jonathan will shoot the arrows beside the lad.


1.2.10.                     The shooting of the arrows in our story symbolizes for us the fact that for us as God’s children the Lord’s plan is to kick all of the props out from under our life when He places us in situations where everything is out of our control.  Sometimes we end up suffering innocently or as a result of nothing we have done.  During those times we begin to realize that our fate is in the hands of the Lord alone, and that the Lord wants us to trust in Him alone to protect, provide, and help us.  These arrows fly in our lives in so many ways. I can think of numerous incidents in my own life where the Lord has controlled the arrows that determined my fate, and in doing so He has been molding my character and bringing me to the end of myself and to utter and complete reliance upon Him:          I remember in my wife’s and my life in 1984 when the Lord opened up a door for us to move from Phoenix to Seattle.  We prayed a lot about whether or not to walk through that door and it seemed like the Lord was opening that door.  However, in leaving Phoenix we were leaving both of our families, our church that we had loved and been involved with for 6 ˝ years, all of our friends from high school and college, etc.  But, after we had moved to Seattle we suddenly found ourselves isolated and having to trust in the Lord alone, for we had no people locally for us to lean upon or look to for help.  We had to learn to have our family be the people from the church that we began attending.  The Lord worked phenomenally in our lives during that time.  However, after we began to have kids we realized that it was suddenly hard to be so far away from all family.  We had no family to baby-sit our kids, and our kids wouldn’t be able to spend much time with their grandparents outside of our almost yearly visits to Phoenix.  We had to rely upon the Lord alone.          In 1994, feeling the Lord’s leading I quit my job and left my career as a software engineer and moved our family to a small town in Montana (they are all small in Montana) because we felt that the Lord was calling us to plant a church in that city.  It was fun at first but soon we realized that again we were very isolated, and no one had ever heard of Calvary Chapel, and few cared to hear about it.  Again we had to learn to lean upon the Lord alone as we labored to plant this church, and just to be a family.          Again, in 1999 when we moved to Green Bay to plant the church here we were isolated from family and all that we had known both in Phoenix, Seattle, and Montana, and we had to learn again to trust the Lord in all things and look to Him alone for help.  Many things that we have experienced here in this church plant have also caused us to realize that we cannot rely upon the arm of the flesh, trust in people, and we have had to trust in the Lord alone.          This past April when my dad passed away I again found myself having the props pulled out from under my life.  Having my dad in my life I always knew in the back of my mind that if everything fell apart in our lives that dad would be there to bail us out.  However, now he was no longer there, and this has produced a very unsettling feeling in me.  My hope and trust again has had to be in the Lord alone.          I was even thinking this week about my job outside of the church in driving a bus and how the Lord was teaching me lessons through the job.  In the first place, I have this job because the high-tech job market that I have worked in and built my career in for the past 20 years is so bad that I couldn’t find a job for going on two years.  It is a scary thing to have left your career for this long of a period of time, but I realize that my life is in the Lord’s hands.  


In the day to day activities of bus driving God is using this to teach me to rely completely upon Him.  Monday through Friday I drive bus routes to three schools.  Everyday when I get to the afternoon middle school route that I drive to my day turns sour because there are some kids that are obnoxious and defiant and I have to yell and discipline kids several times within the 45 minute route.  The Lord has shown me that He is using this situation to mold me and that I have to get to the place where I trust the Lord completely with my bus routes and don’t let myself get bitter and caustic towards these kids when they are just acting like middle school age kids.      Sometimes our health can be affected, or we end up with a terrible boss or fellow workers, or a child that is rebellious, etc., etc.  In all of our lives the arrows are constantly flying in every direction and the Lord is placing us in situations that are outside of our comfort zone which stretch us beyond what we would like to be stretched, and in these ways He is also teaching us that we have to look to Him and Him alone to be our help and our hope.          Prov. 3:5-6 tells us about the attitude we ought to have towards all of those arrows that fly over us in our life, “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.


2.     VS 19:1-7  - 1 Now Saul told Jonathan his son and all his servants to put David to death. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, greatly delighted in David. 2 So Jonathan told David saying, “Saul my father is seeking to put you to death. Now therefore, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 “I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak with my father about you; if I find out anything, then I will tell you.” 4 Then Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Do not let the king sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial to you. 5 “For he took his life in his hand and struck the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great deliverance for all Israel; you saw it and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death without a cause?” 6 Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul vowed, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7 Then Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these words. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as formerly. -  Jonathan intercedes to his father, King Saul, on behalf of David


2.1.                     In these verses we see that king Saul has now become so obsessively jealousy towards David that he has given himself over to murderous thoughts about David, and he asks his son Jonathan and all of his servants to put David to death.


2.2.                     Saul was concerned that his kingly dynasty continue even in spite of the fact that he had been told already that the Lord had taken the kingdom away from him.  In reality then, King Saul was now fighting the Lord’s will in his life and his attacks against David are being inspired by Satan himself, the enemy of all of our souls.


2.2.1.  Satan knew that David was a man after God’s own heart and that the Lord would use David greatly in many ways and establish God’s kingdom through David, ultimately bringing the Messiah into the earth through his descendants.  Therefore, if Satan could kill David then he knew that he could thwart God’s plan of bringing the Messiah to the earth for the salvation of mankind.


2.3.                     Jonathan we see here goes to his father and tells him that he should not put David to death for David had not sinned against Saul, and that he had actually been very useful to him. 


2.4.                     After Jonathan’s intercession with his father for David, Saul vows before the Lord that he will not put David to the death. 


2.4.1.  We will see that Saul’s vows mean nothing for over and over again he breaks every one of them.  Saul will soon try to kill David yet again, and then he will continue to seek ways to kill David from then on.


2.5.                     Jonathan tells David that his father has vowed not to kill David, and thus David now goes back into the king’s presence in the palace as he had done before.


3.     VS 19:8-10  - 8 When there was war again, David went out and fought with the Philistines and defeated them with great slaughter, so that they fled before him. 9 Now there was an evil spirit from the Lord on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, and David was playing the harp with his hand. 10 Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, so that he stuck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night. -  David goes out and fights with the Philistines and has a great slaughter of them, however this leads Saul to again become jealous of him and he attempts to kill David


3.1.                     Saul was deeply backslidden at this point in time and his life has just been getting more and more selfish and self-centered.  He is now building his own kingdom, not the Lord’s kingdom.


3.2.                     As we have mentioned previously in the study of this book, Saul was threatened with anyone else’s successes in battle.  He also couldn’t handle anyone else getting popular acclaim and praise.


3.3.                     Here the fact that David has great success in battle causes Saul to again become filled with jealous hatred of David. 


3.4.                     As David is playing the harp for Saul an evil spirit from the Lord was tormenting Saul with thoughts of jealously and murder, and suddenly the spear which Saul had been playing with in his hand he throws at David trying to nail him to the wall.


3.5.                     David senses the situation and flees before the spear could hit him, and now David flees from the king’s presence into the dark of night.


4.     VS 19:11-17  - 11 Then Saul sent messengers to David’s house to watch him, in order to put him to death in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, told him, saying, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be put to death.” 12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he went out and fled and escaped. 13 Michal took the household idol and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with clothes. 14 When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me on his bed, that I may put him to death.” 16 When the messengers entered, behold, the household idol was on the bed with the quilt of goats’ hair at its head. 17 So Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal said to Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go! Why should I put you to death?’ ” -  Saul sends messengers to David’s house to put him to death in the morning but David’s wife Michal (the daughter of king Saul) warns him and helps him to escape out a window


4.1.                     It is interesting to see in this chapter both the son and the daughter of King Saul working to protect the life of the man who would replace their father as king of Israel.


4.2.                     When David comes to his home, his wife Michal first warns him that the king’s men will kill him in the morning, then she helps him to escape out a window (much like the spies at Jericho escaped from Rahab’s window and the disciples in Damascus (Acts 9) let the apostle Paul down through a window in a basket).  Finally, Michal comes up with a scheme to give David time to escape the king’s men.  She makes it look like David is in bed by placing a household idol in David’s bed and putting covers under and over the idol.  Michal however breaks one of the Ten Commandments by tellings a lie to protect David.  She says that David is sick.


4.3.                     Finally, Saul tells his men to go and to bring David bed and all to him.  However, when the men again come to David’s house they discover the idol in David’s bed instead of David and they bring this news to the king.


4.4.                     King Saul chides his daughter for protecting her husband David, calling David his enemy.  Michal tells her second lie however, and this time she does this to protect herself.  She tells King Saul that David promised to kill her if she didn’t help him escape.


4.5.                     In Psalm 59 David wrote about this experience of the men lying in wait for him at his house and how that he had trusted in the Lord to deliver him, “1 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; Set me securely on high away from those who rise up against me. 2 Deliver me from those who do iniquity And save me from men of bloodshed. 3 For behold, they have set an ambush for my life; Fierce men launch an attack against me, Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord, 4 For no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me. Arouse Yourself to help me, and see! 5 You, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to punish all the nations; Do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity.Selah. 6 They return at evening, they howl like a dog, And go around the city. 7 Behold, they belch forth with their mouth; Swords are in their lips, For, they say, “Who hears?” 8 But You, O Lord, laugh at them; You scoff at all the nations. 9 Because of his strength I will watch for You, For God is my stronghold. 10 My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes. 11 Do not slay them, or my people will forget; Scatter them by Your power, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield. 12 On account of the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, Let them even be caught in their pride, And on account of curses and lies which they utter. 13 Destroy them in wrath, destroy them that they may be no more; That men may know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth.Selah. 14 They return at evening, they howl like a dog, And go around the city. 15 They wander about for food And growl if they are not satisfied. 16 But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress. 17 O my strength, I will sing praises to You; For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.


4.6.                     It is interesting to note that the scripture tells us here that King David has a household idol.  One of the proofs of the inspiration of the scripture by the Lord is that the scripture never hides from us details that defame its heroes.  This detail about David’s household idol shows that at this point in David’s life that he had allowed some compromise to enter in. 


4.6.1.  Through the next ten years of David’s wandering, the Lord is going to use trials in his life to purify his heart and motives, preparing him to be the king over Israel.


5.     VS 19:18-24  - 18 Now David fled and escaped and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth. 19 It was told Saul, saying, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. 21 When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. So Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Then he himself went to Ramah and came as far as the large well that is in Secu; and he asked and said, “Where are Samuel and David?” And someone said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23 He proceeded there to Naioth in Ramah; and the Spirit of God came upon him also, so that he went along prophesying continually until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24 He also stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Therefore they say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” -  David flees to Naioth where the prophet Samuel was staying and there the Lord Himself, through the workings of the Holy Spirit, intervenes to keep three parties of men and King Saul himself from being able to put David to death


5.1.                     David fled to be with the man who had anointed him to be king in the first place.  We don’t know what his motives may have been for going there: 


5.1.1.  Perhaps he wanted to tell Samuel to go and anoint someone else to be king because this “king thing” wasn’t working real well for him right now.


5.1.2.  Perhaps he wanted Samuel to seek the Lord’s will for him as to where he should go to escape King Saul’s attempts on his life.


5.1.3.  Perhaps he just sought Samuel’s prayers for him.


5.2.                     We see from these verses that David did not need to scheme in order to protect himself from King Saul’s murderous attempts on his life, for it is true of all of God’s people that we are immortal until we have fulfilled that which the Lord has called us to fulfill.  David had been anointed before the Lord, and at the Lord’s direction, to be the next king of Israel, therefore in reality he did not need to worry about threats against his life.  David should not tempt the Lord, but at the same time he need not worry about being killed by King Saul.


5.3.                     Three companies of assassins (messengers) came to the prophets at Naioth in Ramah seeking to murder David.  However, the Holy Spirit comes upon them and instead of murdering David they ended up prophesying and then returning to the king.


5.3.1.  This reminds me of when the Pharisees sent officers to arrest Jesus but they returned saying that a man never spoke as this man spoke (John 7:46). 


5.4.                     This word used for “prophesied” in these verses can also mean to worship and sing praises.  It appears that there was some sort of ecstatic utterance that these prophets and assassins were speaking as well.


5.5.                     Finally, King Saul himself goes to Naioth to muder David, however the Holy Spirit comes upon him as had happened with the previous groups of assassins and Saul takes off all but his under garments and then prophesies with the prophets all night long. 


5.5.1.  Remember, in 1 Sam. 10:10 Saul had prophesied with the prophets previously when he was first anointed by Samuel to be king.  The phrase is, “Is Saul one of the prophets?” was first uttered at that time. 


5.6.                     These verses show that the experiencing the gifts of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life does not necessarily mean that he is saved or that he will have a genuine regeneration of his character, as other places in the scripture also portray: 


5.6.1.  Balaam was another man who experienced the Lord working through spiritual giftings yet who was not considered as one of God’s people.


5.6.2.  Judas, one of the original 12 disciples also preached the word of God and performed miracles, yet the scriptures reveal that he will be spending eternity in hell.


6.     VS 20:1-4  - 1 Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said to Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my iniquity? And what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life?” 2 He said to him, “Far from it, you shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so!” 3 Yet David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your sight, and he has said, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, or he will be grieved.’ But truly as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is hardly a step between me and death.” 4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” -  David comes to Jonathan and asks Jonathan what he has done wrong that his father, King Saul is trying to take his life


6.1.                     Some have criticized David here for fleeing from Naioth and the presence of Samuel the prophet and they have cited that if David truly had the kind of faith that the Lord wanted him to have that he would have remained there.  Others have argued though that David knew that Saul would not forever be under a spell by the Lord and that for David to have remained there with his would-be assassins that he would have been putting the Lord to the test.  Thus, it was wise for David to flee.


6.2.                     We see here that Jonathan is a little naďve concerning the intentions of his father towards David.  Jonathan thought that he knew more than he really did about what his father was capable of, for he thought that his father would not do anything without first informing or consulting him.  However, Jonathan should have known better for Saul had already tried to kill David with a spear at least four times, plus in chapter 19 verse 1 Saul had told Jonathan and his servants to kill David.


6.3.                     David tells Jonathan that he (David) is one step away from death, then he explains to Jonathan that because Saul, Jonathan’s father, knew how much Jonathan cared for David, that Saul would intentionally not tell Jonathan everything that was going on regarding his intentions concerning David.


6.3.1.  All of us as people are really just one step away from death, are we not?  Any one of us could step out of this place we are in and have some kind of an accident and die.  Therefore, it is most important that we know where we are going should we die and that we surrender our lives unreservedly to the Lord and trust Jesus’ death upon the cross alone as having paid our debt of sin.  Then, we shall have no need to fear death should it come for us.


6.4.                     Jonathan finally gives in to David and asks him what he would like him to do to help in his situation.


7.     VS 20:5-23  - 5 So David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I ought to sit down to eat with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field until the third evening. 6 “If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, because it is the yearly sacrifice there for the whole family.’ 7 “If he says, ‘It is good,’ your servant will be safe; but if he is very angry, know that he has decided on evil. 8 “Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is iniquity in me, put me to death yourself; for why then should you bring me to your father?” 9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! For if I should indeed learn that evil has been decided by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you about it?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?” 11 Jonathan said to David, “Come, and let us go out into the field.” So both of them went out to the field. 12 Then Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness! When I have sounded out my father about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if there is good feeling toward David, shall I not then send to you and make it known to you? 13 “If it please my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also, if I do not make it known to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. And may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. 14 “If I am still alive, will you not show me the lovingkindness of the Lord, that I may not die? 15 “You shall not cut off your lovingkindness from my house forever, not even when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord require it at the hands of David’s enemies.” 17 Jonathan made David vow again because of his love for him, because he loved him as he loved his own life. 18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed because your seat will be empty. 19 “When you have stayed for three days, you shall go down quickly and come to the place where you hid yourself on that eventful day, and you shall remain by the stone Ezel. 20 “I will shoot three arrows to the side, as though I shot at a target. 21 “And behold, I will send the lad, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the lad, ‘Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, get them,’ then come; for there is safety for you and no harm, as the Lord lives. 22 “But if I say to the youth, ‘Behold, the arrows are beyond you,’ go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 “As for the agreement of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.” – David tells Jonathan the plan he would like Jonathan to follow to find out and then tell him if the king has determined to kill him


7.1.                     Each month in Israel on the new moon, families would get together for a feast and sacrifice to the Lord.  David tells Jonathan that if his father, King Saul, asks why David is not at the table for dinner that he is to tell Saul that David has been request by his immediate family to eat the feast with them.  David however is telling Jonathan to break one of the 10 commandments and to lie (bear false witness) to Saul concerning why David is not eating at the table with Saul, as was David’s norm.  Thus, David has not yet come to the place of not scheming and trusting in the Lord alone for all of his help.


7.2.                     David realizes that if Saul becomes really angry because David has gone to be with his family, which is what a man normally did during these monthly feasts, then this is because Saul has determined to kill him.


7.3.                     Jonathan asks David to make a deal with him for his helping David out.  Jonathan makes David vow to him that when the Lord had cut off all of David’s enemies from the earth, establishing David’s reign, that David would not cut off his lovingkindness from the house of Jonathan.  It was the custom in olden times for kings to upon taking office kill off all of the descendants of the previous king to prevent any insurrections.  David vowed that he would however not do this to Jonathan’s house.  Later, after Saul and Jonathan are killed in battle and David is made king over Israel, David upheld this vow to his friend Jonathan and he housed and cared for Jonathan’s crippled son Mephibosheth all of his days.


7.4.                     Jonathan finally tells David to wait on the third day by the stone Ezel, and he will come with a lad to do target practice with his arrows.  He will shoot some arrows and if the arrows land beside the lad then David will know that it is safe for him to return to the palace.  However, if the arrows go beyond the lad then Saul has determined that he will kill David, and it will no longer be safe for David to return to the palace and serve Saul as before.


7.4.1.  The word translated “Ezel” means “departure” and this stone where David was to wait would be the place where the Lord would reveal to David that he must now depart from Saul’s presence and begin to flee for his life from the king and the king’s assassins.


8.     VS 20:24-34  - 24 So David hid in the field; and when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat as usual, the seat by the wall; then Jonathan rose up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Nevertheless Saul did not speak anything that day, for he thought, “It is an accident, he is not clean, surely he is not clean.” 27 It came about the next day, the second day of the new moon, that David’s place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan then answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem, 29 for he said, ‘Please let me go, since our family has a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to attend. And now, if I have found favor in your sight, please let me get away that I may see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.” 30 Then Saul’s anger burned against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Do I not know that you are choosing the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 “For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Therefore now, send and bring him to me, for he must surely die.” 32 But Jonathan answered Saul his father and said to him, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down; so Jonathan knew that his father had decided to put David to death. 34 Then Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did not eat food on the second day of the new moon, for he was grieved over David because his father had dishonored him. -  David waits for Jonathan to come and to shoot the arrows which will tell him whether or not he will be able to return to the king’s palace or whether he will now have to wander and run for his life from King Saul


8.1.                     After the first day that David is missing from the king’s table, King Saul thought that David had somehow made himself ceremonially unclean and therefore could not eat of the feast.  However, when David is missing the second evening Saul suspects that Jonathan has warned David to stay away since King Saul is planning to kill David.


8.2.                      Notice that when Saul questions Jonathan about why David is missing for the second day and Jonathan tells him the concocted story about David asking permission to attend the feast with his own family, and Saul realizes that Jonathan has sought to protect David, that Saul’s anger burns against Jonathan, his son.  Saul then defames Jonathan calling him in essence “the son of a prostitute.”  Saul tells Jonathan that as long as David is alive that Jonathan will never become king over Israel.  Then, when Jonathan defends David asking King Saul what David had done that deserved his being put to death, that Saul now hurls a spear at Jonathan, attempting to kill his own son.


8.3.                     Notice that Saul tells Jonathan that as long as David is still alive that “Jonathan’s” kingdom would not be established.  Saul wasn’t building God’s kingdom you see.


8.4.                     Jonathan left the king’s table in fierce anger and chose to fast that day rather than eat. 


8.5.                     When we think about Jonathan’s lot in life in the book of 1 Samuel, we realize how that the Lord had placed him in very difficult circumstances.  Because Jonathan was a man of character and principles (unlike his father), he is not willing to take or see taken the innocent blood of David, yet he knows also that David will supplant him as the next king of Israel.  However, Jonathan also serves his father, King Saul, and because of Jonathan’s character and principles he cannot please his father either, and, he knows now that his father is not above the taking of his (Jonathan’s) life.


8.6.                     There are those who question whether Jonathan was truly saved or not, however everything that I read in 1 Samuel about this man Jonathan shows me that he had great faith in God and believed in the promises of God, sometimes even more so than did David.  Jonathan in these chapters is more confident in the word of God of David’s being made the next king of Israel than is David!


9.     VS 20:35-43  - 35 Now it came about in the morning that Jonathan went out into the field for the appointment with David, and a little lad was with him. 36 He said to his lad, “Run, find now the arrows which I am about to shoot.” As the lad was running, he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the lad reached the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the lad and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the lad, “Hurry, be quick, do not stay!” And Jonathan’s lad picked up the arrow and came to his master. 39 But the lad was not aware of anything; only Jonathan and David knew about the matter. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad and said to him, “Go, bring them to the city.” 41 When the lad was gone, David rose from the south side and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed three times. And they kissed each other and wept together, but David wept the more. 42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’ ” Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city. -  Jonathan shoots his arrows and performs the sign for David to tell him that King Saul does intend to kill him, and then David and Jonathan meet and say “good bye.” 


9.1.                     After the lad has collected Jonathan’s arrows, Jonathan sends the lad into the city with his arrows and waits for David to come out of hiding so that the two men can freely talk with each other and say their goodbyes.


9.2.                     Notice here how that when David and Jonathan meet how that David bows three times to Jonathan and then as was the custom in eastern countries they kissed each other and wept together.  However, notice here that the scripture tells us that David wept more.  David was weeping because he knew that now he would have to trust in the Lord and Him alone and that he would no longer have the luxury of serving in the palace and having the comforting friendship and companionship of Jonathan. 


9.2.1.  How our flesh as people rebels against trusting in the Lord and Him alone.  For most people they have to hit rock bottom in their life and really have nowhere else to turn for help before they really begin to trust in and serve the Lord with all of their hearts.


9.3.                     David and Jonathan will now not speak again for about ten years as David begins to continually flee for his life from King Saul who is seeking to kill him.  The two men will meet again shortly just before Jonathan and King Saul are killed in battle.


10.            CONCLUSIONS:


10.1.                As we think about this study and the way that the Lord works in David’s life to kick all of the props out from under his life so that he comes to trust in the Lord and in Him alone for his help, have you noticed in your life that the Lord is also kicking out the props from under you which you have relied upon instead of trusting completely in the Lord?  He does this, does He not?


10.2.                Have you experienced the arrows flying in every direction in your life as your realize that so many things in your life are simply out of your control and that you are suffering many difficulties because of circumstances which are out of your control? 


10.3.                Can you relate to David who wept so long upon the neck of Jonathan as he had to separate from that which was comfortable in his life?


10.4.                The flesh dies hard in our lives, and it is a difficult thing to place none of our trust in the arm of the flesh, in man, but that is where the Lord is taking you and me as God’s people.  Rest in Jesus.  Trust in Him.  Let go and give Him complete control of everything in your life.  Cling to the Lord and Him alone and you too will experience His deliverance and He will be your rock, your fortress, your high tower.


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