And he said to him, God forbid; you shall not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will show it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)God forbid; thou shalt not die.—Jonathan even now refuses to believe that his loved father, when he was himself, really wished ill to David; all that had hitherto happened the princely Jonathan put down to his father’s unhappy malady. He urges upon his friend that if the king in good earnest had designs upon David’s life, he would in his calm, lucid days have consulted with him, Jonathan, to whom he ever confided all his State secrets.
Will do nothing.—Here the commentators and the versions—LXX., Vulg., and Cbaldee—all agree to read in the Hebrew text, lo “not,” for lo “to him,” that is, for a vau an aleph must be substituted.1 Samuel 20:2. He said, God forbid: thou shalt not die — It appears by this that Jonathan knew nothing of his father’s design, and that the messengers before named had been sent to seize David without his privity. Hence, from a principle of filial respect to his father, he was very loath to believe that he would do so ill a thing. Behold, my father will do nothing, but he will show it me — In this he was greatly mistaken. Communicative as Saul was to his son Jonathan in other things, he was ashamed to disclose to him the wicked design he had formed against the life of his friend. Why should my father hide this thing from me? — Why? For an obvious reason; because it was too base and shameful to be discovered to any one that had any fear of God before his eyes, or any sense of moral obligation. He was afraid too that if he should disclose his design to Jonathan, he should find means to prevent its execution. It is not so — Jonathan gave credit to his father’s oath, mentioned 1 Samuel 19:6.
1Sa 20:1-10. David Consults with Jonathan for His Safety.
1-3. David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan—He could not remain in Naioth, for he had strong reason to fear that when the religious fit, if we may so call it, was over, Saul would relapse into his usual fell and sanguinary temper. It may be thought that David acted imprudently in directing his flight to Gibeah. But he was evidently prompted to go thither by the most generous feelings—to inform his friend of what had recently occurred, and to obtain that friend's sanction to the course he was compelled to adopt. Jonathan could not be persuaded there was any real danger after the oath his father had taken; at all events, he felt assured his father would do nothing without telling him. Filial attachment naturally blinded the prince to defects in the parental character and made him reluctant to believe his father capable of such atrocity. David repeated his unshaken convictions of Saul's murderous purpose, but in terms delicately chosen (1Sa 20:3), not to wound the filial feelings of his friend; while Jonathan, clinging, it would seem, to a hope that the extraordinary scene enacted at Naioth might have wrought a sanctified improvement on Saul's temper and feelings, undertook to inform David of the result of his observations at home.Thou shalt not die; I will secure thee by my interest with my father; nor doth he design to destroy thee; for what he doth in his frantic fits is not to be imputed to him; and when he comes to himself, I doubt not to reconcile thee to him. For Jonathan gave credit to his father’s oath, 1 Samuel 19:6; and the worthiest minds are least suspicious and most charitable in their opinions of others.
behold, my father will do nothing, either great or small, but that he will show it me; such an interest had he in him, and in his favour, being his son and heir to his crown, and having done many warlike exploits, which had the more endeared him to him, that he made him privy to all his secret designs, and took his opinion in all matters of moment and importance:
and why should my father hide this thing from me? his design of taking away the life of David, if he had really formed one:
it is not so; Jonathan concluded, from his ignorance of it, there was nothing in it, and that it was only a surmise of David's; and yet it is strange that Jonathan should know nothing of the messengers being sent to David's house to take him, and of others sent to Naioth after him, and of Saul's going there himself with such a design; and if he did know anything of the matter, he made the best of it to David, partly to allay his fears, and partly that his father might not appear so black and vile as he really was.And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will show it me: and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. nothing either great or small] i.e. absolutely nothing. Cp. 1 Samuel 22:15, 1 Samuel 25:36.
shew it me] Lit. “uncover mine ear,” and so in 1 Samuel 20:12. See on 1 Samuel 9:15.
it is not so] Bearing in mind Saul’s oath (1 Samuel 19:6), and attributing his recent violence to temporary madness, Jonathan refuses to believe that his father has any deliberate design against David’s life.Verse 2. - God forbid. An exclamation of horror; literally, "Far be it" (see on 1 Samuel 14:45). In spite of the many proofs of Saul's bitter hatred, Jonathan cannot believe that after all that had taken place at Ramah his father would still persist in his murderous purpose. He further assures David that Saul would do nothing without telling him; literally, without uncovering his ear, without telling it him privately (see on 1 Samuel 9:15). The phrase is used again in ver. 12. For will do nothing the written text reads "has done for himself," which the Kri properly corrects. The rashness of Saul's temper, and his frank talk about killing David recorded in 1 Samuel 19:1, confirm Jonathan's statement about the openness of his father's ways, and he therefore assures David that he may take his place in safety.
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