1 Samuel 20:9
And Jonathan said, Far be it from you: for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come on you, then would not I tell it you?
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(9) Far be it from thee.—Vulg., absit hoc a te. This strong expression bears emphatic testimony to Jonathan’s implicit belief in his loved friend’s stainless loyalty. He indignantly refuses to take his life, or even to allow that life to be touched by his father. The sentences here are broken ones; the next one following is left, in the Hebrew, incomplete. They betoken the agitation and deep feeling of the chivalrous, indignant speaker.

1 Samuel 20:9-13. Jonathan said, Far be it from thee — Or, rather, Far be this away; for Jonathan is speaking of himself in this thing. Then said David, Who shall tell me? — Who shall bring me advice how matters stand? They went out both into the field — To take their measures about this matter. Jonathan said, O Lord God of Israel — Do thou hear and judge between us. These first words of the sentence seem to be an exclamation, or an abrupt speech, not usual in great passions, and the rest are as if he had said, Shall I, who love thee so much, be thought capable of breaking my word with thee? In all these verses the words are broken, concise, and interrupted: as the words of lovers are wont to be, especially when they are disturbed. But there are a tenderness and sincerity in this exclamation of Jonathan which are scarcely to be equalled. If there be good toward thee — I will show it thee, that thou mayest be easy. If it please my father to do thee evil — I will send thee away, that thou mayest be safe. Thus he would help to deliver him from evil if it were real, and from the fear of evil if it were but imaginary. The Lord do so and much more to Jonathan — If I speak deceitfully, or break my word with my friend: he expresseth himself thus solemnly that David might be fully assured of his sincerity. And thus God has confirmed his promises to us, that we might have strong consolation, Hebrews 6:17-18. The Lord be with thee — And protect and prosper thee. Thus, to his protestations, Jonathan adds his hearty prayers for David. As he hath been with my father — Formerly, though now he be withdrawn. This intimates his belief that David would be in his father’s place, and his desire that he might prosper in it better than his father now did.20:1-10 The trials David met with, prepared him for future advancement. Thus the Lord deals with those whom he prepares unto glory. He does not put them into immediate possession of the kingdom, but leads them to it through much tribulation, which he makes the means of fitting them for it. Let them not murmur at his gracious appointment, nor distrust his care; but let them look forward with joyful expectation to the crown which is laid up for them. Sometimes it appears to us that there is but a step between us and death; at all times it may be so, and we should prepare for the event. But though dangers appear most threatening, we cannot die till the purpose of God concerning us is accomplished; nor till we have served our generation according to his will, if we are believers. Jonathan generously offers David his services. This is true friendship. Thus Christ testifies his love to us, Ask, and it shall be done for you; and we must testify our love to him, by keeping his commandments.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. 5. David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to-morrow the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat—The beginning of a new month or moon was always celebrated by special sacrifices, followed by feasting, at which the head of a family expected all its members to be present. David, both as the king's son-in-law and a distinguished courtier, dined on such occasions at the royal table, and from its being generally known that David had returned to Gibeah, his presence in the palace would be naturally expected. This occasion was chosen by the two friends for testing the king's state of feeling. As a suitable pretext for David's absence, it was arranged that he should visit his family at Beth-lehem, and thus create an opportunity of ascertaining how his non-appearance would be viewed. The time and place were fixed for Jonathan reporting to David; but as circumstances might render another interview unsafe, it was deemed expedient to communicate by a concerted signal. Far be it from thee; I abhor the thoughts of either killing thee myself, or giving thee up to my father to slay thee. And Jonathan said, far be it from thee,.... To entertain such a thought of me, or to have the least suspicion of me, that I should conceal my father's ill intentions against thee, if known to me:

for if I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, then would I not tell it thee? certainly I would; canst thou doubt of my kindness and fidelity? surely thou hast no reason, when such a covenant of friendship subsists between us, and there has not been the least breach of it on either side.

And Jonathan said, Far be it from thee: for if I knew certainly that evil were {e} determined by my father to come upon thee, then would not I tell it thee?

(e) That he were fully determined.

9. Far be it from thee] i.e. Do not suppose that I could either slay thee myself or give thee up to my father. The same phrase is rendered “God forbid” in 1 Samuel 20:2.Verse 9. - Far be it, the word rendered God forbid in ver. 2. It indignantly rejects the idea of David having committed any crime. The rest of the verse is an incomplete sentence: "If I knew certainly that evil were determined by my father to come upon thee, and did not tell thee -" These broken sentences have great force in the original, as signs of intense feeling (comp. Luke 19:42). We must complete the sentence mentally in some such way as the Syriac: "then Jehovah do so to me, and more also." But David had looked deeper into Saul's heart. He replied with an oath ("he sware again," i.e., a second time), "Thy father knoweth that I have found favour in thine eyes (i.e., that thou art attached to me); and thinketh Jonathan shall not know this, lest he be grieved. But truly, as surely as Jehovah liveth, and thy soul liveth, there is hardly a step (lit. about a step) between me and death." כּי introduces the substance of the oath, as in 1 Samuel 14:44, etc.
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