|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:11-23 Jonathan faithfully promises that he would let David know how he found his father affected towards him. It will be kindness to ourselves and to ours, to secure an interest in those whom God favours, and to make his friends ours. True friendship rests on a firm basis, and is able to silence ambition, self-love, and undue regard for others. But who can fully understand the love of Jesus, who gave himself as a sacrifice for rebellious, polluted sinners! how great then ought to be the force and effects of our love to him, to his cause, and his people!
Verses 11-13. - Let us go out into the field. David's question had shown Jonathan that there were grave difficulties in their way, and so he proposes that they should walk into the country, to be able to talk with one another more freely, and concert measures for the future. And there Jonathan binds himself with a solemn oath, if Saul's intentions be good, to send a trusty messenger to inform David, but if there be danger, then to come and tell David himself. O Lord God. With a few MSS. we must supply the usual formula of an oath: "As Jehovah the God of Israel liveth." About tomorrow any time, or the third day. This cumbrous translation arose out of the mistaken idea that the word rendered tomorrow could only be used in that limited sense. Strictly it signifies the morning, and is applicable to any morrow. Jonathan fixes one time, and one only, and the passage should be rendered, "By this time on the third morrow." The meeting was to be on the morrow after the second day of the festival, and so on the third morrow after the conversation. The whole may be translated, "As Jehovah the God of Israel liveth, when by this time on the third morrow I have searched my father, and, behold, there be good for David, if then I send not to thee, and uncover thy ear, Jehovah do so and much more to Jonathan." The alternative case is then put, and if the news be evil, Jonathan undertakes himself to be the messenger, and David is to provide for his safety by flight. The concluding prayer that Jehovah might be with David as he had been with Saul contains the same presentiment of David attaining to great power and dignity which is more directly expressed in the following verses.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jonathan said unto David, come, and let us go out into the field,.... That they might more fully, and freely, and familiarly talk of this affair between them, without any danger of being overheard by the servants of Saul, as they were in his palace, where they now were:
and they went out both of them into the field; which belonged to Gibeah.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
1Sa 20:11-23. Their Covenant Renewed by Oath.
11. Jonathan said to David, Come, let us go into the field—The private dialogue, which is here detailed at full length, presents a most beautiful exhibition of these two amiable and noble-minded friends. Jonathan was led, in the circumstances, to be the chief speaker. The strength of his attachment, his pure disinterestedness, his warm piety, his invocation to God (consisting of a prayer and a solemn oath combined), the calm and full expression he gave of his conviction that his own family were, by the divine will, to be disinherited, and David elevated to the possession of the throne, the covenant entered into with David on behalf of his descendants, and the imprecation (1Sa 20:16) denounced on any of them who should violate his part of the conditions, the reiteration of this covenant on both sides (1Sa 20:17) to make it indissoluble—all this indicates such a power of mutual affection, such magnetic attractiveness in the character of David, such susceptibility and elevation of feeling in the heart of Jonathan, that this interview for dramatic interest and moral beauty stands unrivalled in the records of human friendship.
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