1 Samuel 20:12
And Jonathan said to David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not to you, and show it you;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) O Lord God of Israel.—Now that the two friends have come to a remote solitary spot, Jonathan prefaces his reply to David’s piteous request by a very solemn invocation of that God they both loved so well. The vocative, however, “O Lord God,” &c., of the English Version has been generally looked upon as an impossible rendering—“there being no analogy for such a mode of address”—Lange.

The versions avoid it by supplying different words. So the Syriac and Arabic render “The Lord of Israel is my witness”; the LXX., “The Lord God of Israel knows.” Others have supplied a word which they find in two Hebrew MSS., “As the Lord God of Israel liveth.” The meaning, however, is perfectly clear.

Or the third day.—This statement of time on the part of Jonathan evidently assumes that the festival was continued the day after the “new moon” by a royal banquet. The time is thus reckoned: the present day; the morrow, which was the new moon festival; and the day after, which would reckon as the third day.

Behold, if there be good toward David.—In the event of the news being good—that is, if Saul, contrary to David’s expectation, spoke kindly of him—then Jonathan would send to him a special messenger; if, on the other hand, the king displayed enmity, in that case Jonathan would come himself and see David (for the last time). This sad message should be brought by no messenger.

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!The new moon, or beginning of each month, was celebrated with especial sacrifices and blowing of trumpets (marginal references.) The feast was kept with great solemnity as "a day of gladness," and we may presume that the "peace offerings" offered on the occasion furnished the tables of those that offered. 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.

O Lord God of Israel, do thou hear and judge between us. It is an abrupt speech, which is usual in great passions. And Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God of Israel,.... Or by the Lord God of Israel, I swear unto thee; for this is the form of the oath, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe:

when I have sounded my father about tomorrow any time, or the third day; searched, inquired, and found out how his disposition is:

and, behold, if there be good toward David; if he is well disposed to him, as may appear by speaking respectfully of him, or kindly inquiring after him, and by being satisfied with the account given him:

and I then send not unto thee, and show it thee; then let the vengeance of God fall upon me in some remarkable manner or another, as follows; or "shall I not then send unto thee, and show it thee" (t)? certainly I will; that is, I will send a messenger to thee to acquaint thee with it, who shall tell it, and cause thee to hear it, as from myself.

(t) "an non tune mitterem?" Junius & Tremellius; "nonne tunc mittam ad te?" so some in Vatablus.

And Jonathan said unto David, O LORD God of Israel, when I have sounded my father about to morrow any time, or the third day, and, behold, if there be good toward David, and I then send not unto thee, and show it thee;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. O Lord God] Jonathan begins by addressing Jehovah, but afterwards instead of putting the verb in the second person (so mayest Thou do) he repeats the divine Name.

about to-morrow any time, or the third day] About this time to-morrow or the day after."If thy father should miss me, then say, David hath asked permission of me to hasten to Bethlehem, his native town; for there is a yearly sacrifice for the whole family there." This ground of excuse shows that families and households were accustomed to keep united sacrificial feasts once a year. According to the law in Deuteronomy 12:5., they ought to have been kept at the tabernacle; but at this time, when the central sanctuary had fallen into disuse, they were held in different places, wherever there were altars of Jehovah - as, for example, at Bethlehem (cf. 1 Samuel 16:2.). We see from these words that David did not look upon prevarication as a sin.
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