Saul ordered his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. But Saul's son Jonathan liked David very much,
so he told him: "My father Saul intends to kill you. Be on your guard in the morning and hide in a secret place and stay there.
I'll go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are and talk to him about you. When I see what [he says], I'll tell you."
Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul. He said to him: "The king should not sin against his servant David. He hasn't sinned against you; in fact, his actions have been a great advantage to you.
He took his life in his hands when he struck down the Philistine, and the LORD brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced, so why would you sin against innocent blood by killing David for no reason?"
Saul listened to Jonathan's advice and swore an oath: "As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be killed."
So Jonathan summoned David and told him all these words. Then Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he served him as [he did] before.
When war broke out again, David went out and fought against the Philistines. He defeated them with such a great force that they fled from him.
Now an evil spirit from the LORD came on Saul as he was sitting in his palace holding a spear. David was playing [the harp],
and Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear. As the spear struck the wall, David eluded Saul and escaped. That night he ran away.
Saul sent agents to David's house to watch for him and kill him in the morning. But his wife Michal warned David: "If you don't escape tonight, you will be dead tomorrow!"
So she lowered David from the window, and he fled and escaped.
Then Michal took the household idol and put it on the bed, placed some goats' hair on its head, and covered it with a garment.
When Saul sent agents to seize David, Michal said, "He's sick."
Saul sent the agents [back] to see David and said, "Bring him on his bed so I can kill him."
When the messengers arrived, to their surprise, the household idol was on the bed with some goats' hair on its head.
Saul asked Michal, "Why did you deceive me like this? You sent my enemy away, and he has escaped!" She answered him, "He said to me, 'Let me go! Why should I kill you?'"
So David fled and escaped and went to Samuel at Ramah and told him everything Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel left and stayed at Naioth.
When it was reported to Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah,
Saul sent agents to seize David. However, when they saw the group of prophets prophesying with Samuel leading them, the Spirit of God came on Saul's agents, and they also started prophesying.
When they reported to Saul, he sent other agents, and they also began prophesying. So Saul tried again and sent a third group of agents, and even they began prophesying.
Then Saul himself went to Ramah. He came to the large cistern at Secu, looked around, and asked, "Where are Samuel and David?" "At Naioth in Ramah," someone said.
So he went to Naioth in Ramah. The Spirit of God also came on him, and as he walked along, he prophesied until he entered Naioth in Ramah.
Saul then removed his clothes and also prophesied before Samuel; he collapsed [and lay] naked all that day and all that night. That is why they say, "Is Saul also among the prophets?"
David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came to Jonathan and asked, "What have I done? What did I do wrong? How have I sinned against your father so that he wants to take my life?"
Jonathan said to him, "No, you won't die. Listen, my father doesn't do anything, great or small, without telling me. So why would he hide this matter from me? This can't be [true]."
But David said, "Your father certainly knows that you have come to look favorably on me. He has said, 'Jonathan must not know of this, or else he will be grieved.' " David also swore, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you yourself live, there is but a step between me and death."
Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you say, I will do for you."
So David told him, "Look, tomorrow is the New Moon, and I'm supposed to sit down and eat with the king. Instead, let me go, and I'll hide in the field until the third night.
If your father misses me at all, say, 'David urgently requested my permission to quickly go to his town Bethlehem for an annual sacrifice there involving the whole clan.'
If he says, 'Good,' then your servant is safe, but if he becomes angry, you will know he has evil intentions.
Deal faithfully with your servant, for you have brought me into a covenant before the LORD with you. If I have done anything wrong, then kill me yourself; why take me to your father?"
"No!" Jonathan responded. "If I ever find out my father has evil intentions against you, wouldn't I tell you about it?"
So David asked Jonathan, "Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?"
He answered David, "Come on, let's go out to the field." So both of them went out to the field.
"By the LORD, the God of Israel, if I sound out my father by this time tomorrow or the next day and I find out that he is favorable toward you, and if I do not send for you and tell you,
then may God punish Jonathan and do so severely. If my father intends to bring evil on you, then I will tell you, and I will send you away, and you will go in peace. May the LORD be with you, just as He was with my father.
If I continue to live, treat me with the LORD's faithful love, but if I die,
don't ever withdraw your faithful love from my household-- not even when the LORD cuts off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth."
Then Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "May the LORD hold David's enemies accountable."
Jonathan once again swore to David in his love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.
Then Jonathan said to him, "Tomorrow is the New Moon; you'll be missed because your seat will be empty.
The following day hurry down and go to the place where you hid on the day this incident began and stay beside the rock Ezel.
I will shoot three arrows beside it as if I'm aiming at a target.
Then I will send the young man [and say], 'Go and find the arrows!' Now, if I expressly say to the young man, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you-- get them,' then come, because as the LORD lives, it is safe for you and there is no problem.
But if I say this to the youth: 'Look, the arrows are beyond you!' then go, for the LORD is sending you away.
As for the matter you and I have spoken about, the LORD will be a witness between you and me forever."
So David hid in the field. At the New Moon, the king sat down to eat the meal.
He sat at his usual place on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat facing him and Abner took his place beside Saul, but David's place was empty.
Saul did not say anything that day because he thought, "Something unexpected has happened; he must be ceremonially unclean-- yes, that's it, he is unclean."
However, the day after the New Moon, the second day, David's place was [still] empty, and Saul asked his son Jonathan, "Why didn't Jesse's son come to the meal either yesterday or today?"
Jonathan answered, "David asked for my permission to go to Bethlehem.
He said, 'Please let me go because our clan is holding a sacrifice in the town, and my brother has told me to be there. So now, if you are pleased with me, let me go so I can see my brothers.' That's why he didn't come to the king's table."
Then Saul became angry with Jonathan and shouted, "You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don't I know that you are siding with Jesse's son to your own shame and to the disgrace of your mother?
Every day Jesse's son lives on earth you and your kingship are not secure. Now send for him and bring him to me-- he deserves to die."
Jonathan answered his father back: "Why is he to be killed? What has he done?"
Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan to kill him, so he knew that his father was determined to kill David.
He got up from the table in fierce anger and did not eat any food that second day of the New Moon, for he was grieved because of his father's shameful behavior toward David.
In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for the appointed meeting with David. A small young man was with him.
He said to the young man, "Run and find the arrows I'm shooting." As the young man ran, Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him.
He came to the location of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, but Jonathan called to him and said, "The arrow is beyond you, isn't it?"
Then Jonathan called to him, "Hurry up and don't stop!" Jonathan's young man picked up the arrow and returned to his master.
He did not know anything; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement.
Then Jonathan gave his equipment to the young man who was with him and said, "Go, take it back to the city."
When the young man had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone Ezel, fell with his face to the ground, and bowed three times. Then he and Jonathan kissed each other and wept with each other, though David wept more.
Jonathan then said to David, "Go in the assurance the two of us pledged in the name of the LORD when we said: The LORD will be [a witness] between you and me and between my offspring and your offspring forever." Then David left, and Jonathan went into the city.
David went to Ahimelech the priest at Nob. Ahimelech was afraid to meet David, so he said to him, "Why are you alone and no one is with you?"
David answered Ahimelech the priest, "The king gave me a mission, but he told me, 'Don't let anyone know anything about the mission I'm sending you on or what I have ordered you [to do].' I have stationed [my] young men at a certain place.
Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever can be found."
The priest told him, "There is no ordinary bread on hand. However, there is consecrated bread, but the young men may eat it only if they have kept themselves from women."
David answered him, "I swear that women are being kept from us, as always when I go out [to battle]. The young men's bodies are consecrated even on an ordinary mission, so of course their bodies are consecrated today."
So the priest gave him the consecrated [bread], for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD. When the bread was removed, it had been replaced with warm bread.
One of Saul's servants, detained before the LORD, was there that day. His name was Doeg the Edomite, chief of Saul's shepherds.
David said to Ahimelech, "Do you have a spear or sword on hand? I didn't even bring my sword or my weapons since the king's mission was urgent."
The priest replied, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it, for there isn't another one here." "There's none like it!" David said. "Give it to me."
David fled that day from Saul's presence and went to King Achish of Gath.
But Achish's servants said to him, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Don't they sing about him during their dances: Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands?"
David took this to heart and became very afraid of King Achish of Gath,
so he pretended to be insane in their presence. He acted like a madman around them,scribbling on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.
"Look! You can see the man is crazy," Achish said to his servants. "Why did you bring him to me?
Do I have such a shortage of crazy people that you brought this one to act crazy around me? Is this one going to come into my house?"