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David and Jonathan

After a while David came back to the house of Saul, and again was received in his household and sat among the king's servants. One day David said to Jonathan: "What have I done, and what is my sin, that your father seeks continually to kill me? Truly, as the Lord lives, there is always but one step between me and death."

They agreed that David was to hide himself in a field, for three days, and if Saul missed him then Jonathan was to say: "David asked leave to go to

Bethlehem, for there is a yearly sacrifice there by his family."

If Saul should say it was well, then they were to know that he intended no evil against David, but if Saul was angry then they were to know that David was in danger of the king's wrath. Then they both went into the field and swore eternal love to each other, before that David should hide himself.

"Who shall tell me and how shall I know if your father, the king, be angry with me?" asked David of Jonathan.

Then Jonathan told him: "At the end of three days, come to a certain place and I will shoot three arrows as though I shot at a mark. And I will send a lad after the arrows. If I tell this lad that these arrows are on this side of him you may know there is peace and the king means you no harm; but if I tell the lad the arrows are beyond him, then you will have to go your way, for the king's anger will be against you."

So David hid himself in the field, and when the morrow was come the king sat down to eat. David's place among the king's household was empty, but Saul said nothing, thinking that something had befallen him.

On the next day David's place was still empty, and Saul said to Jonathan: "Why does not the son of Jesse come to his meat, neither yesterday, nor today? "

"David asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. His family has a yearly sacrifice there, and his brothers sent him word to come, and I let him go, as he asked of me," replied Jonathan to the king.

At this Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan. He arose from his seat in wrath and said to his son: "You have chosen this son of Jesse to your confusion. So long as he lives you shall never be established king. Send at once and bring him to me, for again I swear he shall surely die."

"Why shall he be slain; and what has he done?" asked Jonathan of the king, ready to defend his friend from the wrath of his father. Saul gave no answer to his son, but seized his javelin and cast it at him with all his might, as if he would slay Jonathan along with David. But Jonathan escaped from the wrath of the king and arose from the table in fierce anger and would not eat with his father and the rest of the household.

The next morning Jonathan went into the field at the time appointed with David and took a little lad with him. He said to the lad: "Run, find the arrows which I shoot." And as the lad ran he shot an arrow beyond him.

When the lad had come to the place where the arrow was which Jonathan had shot, he called out to him: "Is not the arrow beyond you? Make haste and stay not." And the lad gathered up the arrows and came back to Jonathan, not knowing why he had been sent, or the meaning of the words which Jonathan had spoken.

Then Jonathan gave his bow and arrow to the lad and said to him: "Go, carry them back to the city." And the lad departed, leaving Jonathan alone in the field.

As soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of his place and bowed himself three times to the ground. Then he and Jonathan kissed each other, knowing that they must be separated, for the king's wrath was now known to David. Then Jonathan said to his friend: "Go in peace, for we have sworn, both of us in the name of the Lord, that he shall be between us and our children forever." And David rose and departed and Jonathan went back into the city.