|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!
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when thou hast stayed three days,.... From court, either at Bethlehem, which seems most probable, or in some other place incognito; however, not in the field he proposed to hide himself in, where he could not continue so long for want of food:
then thou shalt go down quickly, and come to the place where thou didst hide thyself; which makes it clear that he did not continue there during that time, but went elsewhere; from whence he was to come in haste at the expiration of three days, to the place he first hid himself in, and which was fixed upon to meet at:
when the business was in hand; when the affair was discoursed of, about getting knowledge how Saul was affected to David, and of informing him of it; or "on the day of work" (x); or business, on a working day, as the Septuagint; and so the Targum, on a common day; when, as the Vulgate Latin, it was lawful to work on it; and such was the day when Jonathan and David conversed together about the above affair; it being the day before the new moon, or first day of the month, on which day they used not to work: Some render it, "thou shalt three times go down" (y) to that place; and the sense is, that he should come on the morrow, and if he found not Jonathan there, he might conclude that as yet he knew nothing of his father's mind, and therefore should come the day following that; and if he found him not then, to come on the third day, that so he might be on the spot, let him come on which day he would:
and shalt remain by the stone Ezel; which, because it signifies "going", the Jewish commentators generally understand it as a sign to direct travellers which way to go; but one would think this should be an improper place for David to be near, since it must be where two or more ways met, and so a public frequented place; others think therefore it had its name from David and Jonathan often going thither, to discourse with each other; the Septuagint calls it Ergab; and so the place where Jonathan, the son of Saul, exercised himself by shooting darts, is called by Jerom (z); it is said by Josephus (a) to be an hundred fifty furlongs (about nineteen miles), from Jerusalem, and from Jordan sixty, (about eight miles).
(x) "in die operis", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "die profesto", Tigurine version. (y) "tertiabis, descendes valde", Montanus; "descendes ter, vel tertiabis descendere", Castalio; so Patrick. (z) De loc. Heb. fol. 91. C. (a) Apud Adrichem. Theatrum T. S. p. 17.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. when thou hast stayed three days—either with your family at Beth-lehem, or wherever you find it convenient.
come to the place where thou didst hide thyself when the business was in hand—Hebrew, "in the day," or "time of the business," when the same matter was under inquiry formerly (1Sa 19:22).
remain by the stone Ezel—Hebrew, "the stone of the way"; a sort of milestone which directed travellers. He was to conceal himself in some cave or hiding-place near that spot.
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