Attention!
Tired of seeing ads while studying? Now you can enjoy an "Ads Free" version of the site for as little as 10¢ a day and support a great cause!
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Samuel 20

Verse 5

1 Samuel 20:5. To-morrow is the new moon Every new moon they offered sacrifices, which were accompanied with a solemn feast. Numbers 10:10; Numbers 28:11. David being one of the king's family, by marrying his daughter, used to eat with him at these festival times. He thought that, notwithstanding what had passed, Saul possibly might be conciliated towards him by the Spirit of God coming upon him at Naioth, and that this might be a favourable opportunity of discovering his disposition. "Instead therefore (says he to Jonathan) of imprudently exposing myself to new dangers, I will absent myself till the third day at even, and so give you an opportunity of observing Saul's mind."

Verses 12-13

1 Samuel 20:12-13. Jonathan said unto David, O Lord God, &c.— Houbigant, after the Syriac, renders these verses thus: Then Jonathan said unto David, The Lord God of Israel is witness, that I will sound my father to-morrow, and until the evening of the third day; and that if there be good towards David, I will send unto thee, and inform thee; 1 Samuel 20:13. So may the Lord be gracious to Jonathan! If my father is determined that thou shouldst perish, I will shew that to thee, &c. It is plain, from the last words of the 13th verse, that Jonathan was no stranger to the rejection of Saul, and to the divine appointment of David to the crown. See ch. 1 Samuel 23:17.

Verse 14

1 Samuel 20:14. And thou shalt not only while yet I live "But thou, if I shall then survive, [i.e. when the Lord is with thee, and thou art made king,] shalt perform towards me the same kindness—which the Lord hath shewn thee; 1 Samuel 20:15. But if I die, thou shalt not withdraw thy kindness from my house for ever: no, not when, &c." Houbigant:—who observes, that the plain meaning of the passage is, "If I live when thou art king, thou shalt spare me; if I die, thou shalt spare my family." Thus making with David, not a personal covenant only, but one which reached to their posterity.

Verses 16-17

1 Samuel 20:16-17. Jonathan made a covenant, &c.— Jonathan, therefore, made a covenant with the house of David, and said, May the Lord grant that the enemies of David may not go unpunished! 1 Samuel 20:17. Moreover, Jonathan required an oath from David, for his great love to him, because he loved him as his own soul. Houb.

Verse 19

1 Samuel 20:19. And when thou hast stayed three days, &c.— But on the third day thou shalt come quickly to that place, in which thou shalt hide thyself on the feast day; and thou shalt sit by the stone Ezel: Houbigant. Ezel is supposed to have been a stone erected to shew men the road, for the word signifies going or travelling. The Syriac and Greek render it, by this stone.

Verse 21

1 Samuel 20:21. And behold, I will send a lad, &c.— Moreover, I will send a lad, commanding him to go, and find out the arrows. If, therefore, I shall say to the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee; take thou them, and come; for there is peace to thee, &c. Houb.

Verse 25

1 Samuel 20:25. And the king sat upon his seat The Hebrews, as well as the Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, and the first people of Italy, sat at table. See Genesis 37:25; Genesis 43:33.Proverbs 23:1; Proverbs 23:1. It appears however, that, after Saul's time, they began to eat seated upon beds at low tables. Since that epocha, we find divers examples of it in Scripture: though other instances give room to think that the women often continued to be seated upon seats. Saul sat against the wall, which was the place of honour, at a table made in the form of a C, which was to be placed so that the convexity of the circle was next to the wall, and the concavity opposite to the door for the convenience of serving. And Jonathan arose: Houbigant reads, after the Syriac, And Jonathan arose and sat down; but Abner sat by the king's side; observing, that it is extraordinary to find Jonathan, the king's son, standing, and Abner, his general, sitting.

Verse 26

1 Samuel 20:26. He is not clean; surely he is not clean See Leviticus 15:16. Houbigant renders this; because, possibly, being unclean, he hath not purified himself: following the LXX. The other versions vary greatly.

Verse 31

1 Samuel 20:31. As long as the son of Jesse liveth, &c.— But how did Saul know, that, as long as the son of Jesse lived, Jonathan should not be established, nor his kingdom? If it was all jealousy and surmise, his ordering him to be brought to be put to death was unreasonable and wicked, and can be justified upon no principles of justice and humanity. If Saul knew that as himself was rejected, David was really anointed to succeed him by Samuel, at God's command, his ordering him to be put to death was both impertinent and wicked: for he knew that David had then as good a right to succeed him, in preference to Jonathan, as he himself had of obtaining the throne in preference to every other man of Israel; and, therefore, that he ought not to destroy the man whom God had appointed to succeed him, and with all his endeavours would not be able to do it if God had determined to make him captain over Israel. So that in whatever view we consider this reply of Saul, fetch him,—for he shall surely die, it will appear to be absolutely improper, and that it could proceed from nothing but the incurable inveteracy of a disordered mind, agitated by ambition, jealousy, and an implacable desire of revenge. He shall surely die, is, in the Hebrew הוא בןאּמות ben muvet hu, he is the son of death; a Hebrew form of speaking, which denotes either a man worthy of death, or devoted to death.

Verse 41

1 Samuel 20:41. David arose out of a place, &c.— David, coming from the south, fell on his face. Houbigant. From the south of the stone Ezel. David fell on his face, in reverence to his friend, as the king's son. They kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded. So that there was great lamentation. Houbigant. Their separation could not be made without many tears on both sides. David must have been affected in an especial manner. He lost all: friend, wife, parents, country; and, that which to a heart like his was the severest stroke, he was banished from the altar and service of his God. See ch. 1 Samuel 26:19. There cannot be any thing more pathetic and tender, than this simple and unaffected relation of the parting of these friends.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 20". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/1-samuel-20.html. 1801-1803.