1 Samuel 20:24
So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Sat him down.—The LXX. paraphrases here, “came to the table.”

1 Samuel 20:24-26. David hid himself in the field — Namely, at the time appointed: for it seems probable that he went first to Beth-lehem, and thence returned to the field, when the occasion required. Jonathan arose — He rose from his seat where he had sat next the king, and stood up at Abner’s coming, to do honour to him, who was his father’s cousin, and the general of the army. Something hath befallen him — Some accident, which has rendered him unclean, and so unfit to partake of this feast, which consisted in part of the remainders of the peace-offerings, according to the law; (Leviticus 7:20;) unfit also to come into any company, much more, into the king’s company, lest he should pollute them also.

20:24-34 None were more constant than David in attending holy duties; nor had he been absent, but self-preservation obliged him to withdraw. In great peril present opportunities for Divine ordinances may be waved. But it is bad for us, except in case of necessity, to omit any opportunity of statedly attending on them. Jonathan did wisely and well for himself and family, to secure an interest in David, yet for this he is blamed. It is good to take God's people for our people. It will prove to our advantage at last, however it may now be thought against our interest. Saul was outrageous. What savage beasts, and worse, does anger make men!The stone Ezel - It is not mentioned elsewhere, except possibly in 1 Samuel 20:41, where see the note. 1Sa 20:24-40. Saul, Missing David, Seeks to Kill Jonahan. David hid himself, to wit, at the time appointed; for it seems probable that he went first to Bethlehem, as he bade Jonathan tell his father, 1 Samuel 20:6, and thence returned to the field, when the occasion required; else we must charge him with a downright lie, which ought not to be imagined (without any apparent cause) concerning so good a man, especially in so distressed and dangerous a condition. And why should he hide himself there so long before the time when Jonathan was to come thither to inform him? Nor were there any need of appointing a certain time to meet, if David were there all the while.

So David hid himself in the field,.... Not directly, but at the time appointed; for he went to Bethlehem, and returned from thence before that time:

and when the new moon was come; the first clay of the month, which was a solemn festival:

the king sat him down to eat meat; Saul sat down at his table to eat of the provisions that were set upon it; which it is very probable were the peace offerings for that day, which he, his family, and nobles, feasted on together; it is in the Hebrew, "he sat down at the bread" (b), which is put for all the food on the table, and the provisions of it.

(b) "ad vel juxta panem", Pagninus, Montanus.

So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24–34. Saul’s intention tested by Jonathan

24. meat] Lit. bread. “Meat” in the E. V. signifies food in general, and is nowhere limited to the modem meaning flesh. This usage survives in some provincial dialects.

Verses 24-26. - The king sat him down to eat meat. Hebrew, "the king sat down at the bread to eat." On sitting at table see 1 Samuel 16:11. And Jonathan arose. When the king had taken his usual place, that of honour, next the wall, and therefore farthest from the door, Jonathan arose and took his place on one side of the king, while Abner sat on the other. David's place below them was left empty. The omission of the statement that Jonathan sat down makes the passage obscure, and the versions bungle in rendering it, but there can be little doubt that these words ought to be supplied. He is not clean. Saul supposed that some ceremonial defilement (see Leviticus 15:2-16) had befallen David, and as the new moon was a religious festival, this would necessarily prevent his attendance. 1 Samuel 20:24David thereupon concealed himself in the field, whilst Jonathan, as agreed upon, endeavoured to apologize for his absence from the king's table.

1 Samuel 20:24-25

On the new moon's day Saul sat at table, and as always, at his seat by the wall, i.e., at the top, just as, in eastern lands at the present day, the place of honour is the seat in the corner (see Harmar Beobachtungen ii. pp. 66ff.). "And Jonathan rose up, and Abner seated himself by the side of Saul, and David's place remained empty." The difficult passage, "And Jonathan rose up," etc., can hardly be understood in any other way than as signifying that, when Abner entered, Jonathan rose from his seat by the side of Saul, and gave up the place to Abner, in which case all that is wanting is an account of the place to which Jonathan moved. Every other attempted explanation is exposed to much graver difficulties. The suggestion made by Gesenius, that the cop. ו should be supplied before אבנר, and ויּשׁב referred to Jonathan ("and Jonathan rose up and sat down, and Abner [sat down] by the side of Saul"), as in the Syriac, is open to this objection, that in addition to the necessity of supplying ו, it is impossible to see why Jonathan should have risen up for the purpose of sitting down again. The rendering "and Jonathan came," which is the one adopted by Maurer and De Wette, cannot be philologically sustained; inasmuch as, although קוּם is used to signify rise up, in the sense of the occurrence of important events, or the appearance of celebrated of persons, it never means simply "to come." And lastly, the conjecture of Thenius, that ויּקם should be altered into ויקדּם, according to the senseless rendering of the lxx, προέφθασε τὸν Ἰονάθαν, is overthrown by the fact, that whilst קדּם does indeed mean to anticipate or come to meet, it never means to sit in front of, i.e., opposite to a person.

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