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May 3, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: 1 Chronicles 7-8
Audio: 1 Chronicles 7-8

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

1 Samuel 20 (ESV)

Then David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” And 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. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. If your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run to Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly sacrifice there for all the clan.’ If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant, but if he is angry, then know that harm is determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. But if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that it was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.

12 And 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 he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you?13 But should it please my father to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the Lord, that I may not die; 15 and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19 On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap. 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21 And behold, I will send the boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the youth, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 And as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, the Lord is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty.

26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen 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 shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.”32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.

35 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, “Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39 But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most.42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.

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Next: 1 Samuel 21

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This Post Has One Comment
  1. Friends, Not Lovers

    There are some who mistakenly look at the relationship between Jonathan and David as "proof" the Bible affirms homosexual relationships (despite David marrying Jonathan's sister Michal and the many Scriptures stating homosexuality is a sin and an abomination to the Lord). Why do people think this (including some commentators)? One of the reasons is the terminology used in Scripture to describe the love Jonathan had for David. 

    1 Samuel 18:1-4 says, "As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt."

    In today's chapter, we read again, "And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul" (1 Samuel 20:17).

    Towards the end of today's chapter we read, "And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most" (1 Samuel 20:41).

    Finally, when David mourns the death of Jonathan in the opening chapter of 2 Samuel, he said, "I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women" (2 Samuel 1:26). 

    Although I rarely share technical commentaries, in this case I believe it's important so we look at the actual words used (in the Hebrew). 

    In his commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel, Ralph Younblood writes:

    "Some time after David’s conversation with Saul that concludes 1 Samuel chapter 17, Saul’s son Jonathan entered into a covenant with David (v.3). The ambiguous verb 'loved' describes the relationship (vv.1, 3). Tom Horner (Jonathan Loved David: Homosexuality in Biblical Times [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978]) asserts that the relationship between David and Jonathan was homosexual (cf. esp. pp. 20, 26–28, 31–39). But the verb ʾāhēḇ (“love”) is not used elsewhere to express homosexual desire or activity, for which the OT employs yāḏaʿ ('know'), in the sense of 'have sex with' (Genesis 19:5; Judges 19:22). The latter verb is never used of David’s relationship with Jonathan. Rather, as conveniently summarized by Thompson ('The Significance of the Verb Love' pp. 334–38), 'love' has political overtones in diplomatic and commercial contexts. Indeed, we may suspect that already in 1 Samuel 16:21 [NIV, 'Saul liked (David)'] the narrator is preparing us for the later political use of the term (p. 335). A clear example of the treaty/covenant use of 'love' is 1 Kings 5:1, which says that Hiram king of Tyre had always ‘loved’ David (appropriately rendered in the NIV as 'had always been on friendly terms with David'). To summarize: In vv.1, 3 the narrator probably uses 'the ambiguous word love ʾāheḇ because it denoted more than natural affection however deep and genuine this may have been' (ibid., p. 336; cf. also vv.16, 20, 22 [NIV, 'like'], 28; 20:17; 2 Sam 1:26).

    Youngblood, R. F. (1992). 1, 2 Samuel. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel (Vol. 3, pp. 706–707). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

    On this subject, Pastor and Author Kevin DeYoung writes, "The fact of the matter is that homosexual behavior was almost unheard of within Israel and even revisionist scholars have argued that in ancient Judaism and in early Christianity it would have been completely forbidden and not at all even a matter of controversy that homosexual activity was forbidden by Scripture.

    "So clearly in Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20 there is already there in the Torah a proscription against a man lying with a man as with a woman. Homosexuality is listed as one of the types of sexual sin there in the holiness code. So it’s really unthinkable that David and Jonathan would have had a homosexual relationship and that there wouldn’t have been the most extreme form of outrage and judgment either upon them or upon the biblical authors for suggesting at such.

    "It makes more much sense to say the only reason that David and Jonathan can be presented with this intense male friendship is because it was so assumed and so understood that a same-sex intimacy between two men would have been severely frowned upon, to say the least. I think of one anecdote I heard one time that at some point in Abraham Lincoln’s life as a lawyer and traveling around the circuit, he would sleep in the same bed with one of his assistants or one of his male secretaries or companions, which was not at all strange. It’s only because of our position in our culture and the things that we are wrestling with that some of these expressions of male friendship or camaraderie seem unusual."

    I pray this would be a lesson for all of us on the importance of doing word studies from Scripture and not simply reading the English translation and assuming we understand what we are reading. 

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