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Poole on 1 Samuel 19:1-7: Jonathan's Intercession



Verse 1:[1] And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.


[And he spoke to Jonathan] Although he knew that he was allied to David. For, he was thinking that Jonathan would have a great regard to his own advantage, than to his covenant (Martyr).


Saul spake to Jonathan; whom, though lately engaged in a league of friendship with David, he thought to oblige to it by sense of his own interest, as being the ext heir of the crown, and likely to suffer most by David’s advancement.


[And to his servants] Yet not one of those interposes. See here the perfidy of courtiers (Martyr).


And to all his servants: what before he secretly designed, now he openly and impudently avowed.


Verse 2:[2] But Jonathan Saul’s son (1 Sam. 18:1) delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself…


Take heed to thyself, etc.: Lest he kill thee before I discourse with him, and endeavour to reconcile him to thee; which I think not fit to attempt as yet, whilst he is in the fit of rage against thee; but I intend to do in the morning, when I may hope to find him in a better temper.


Verse 3:[3] And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where thou art, and I will commune with my father of thee; and what I see, that I will tell thee.


[Going forth] Hebrew: I will go out,[4] understanding, tomorrow in the morning (Vatablus).


[Next to my father, לְיַד־אָבִי] At the side of my father (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius). At the hand of my father (Pagnine, Vatablus). That is, on which he is wont to lean when he walks (Vatablus). In my father’s place; that is, to which my father is wont to go forth for his emotions’ sake (Hebrews in Vatablus).


In the field where thou art; in the field where my father useth to walk, where also I would have thee to hide thyself, that I may know where to find thee at hand, to acquaint thee with the success of my endeavours, that thou mayst accordingly either return to court, or speedily depart.


[And I will speak of thee (thus the Syriac, Arabic, Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius), בְּךָ] On thee (Montanus), on thy behalf (Septuagint, Tigurinus).


[And whatever I will have seen, I will report to thee (similarly Munster, Tigurinus), וְרָאִ֥יתִי מָ֖ה וְהִגַּ֥דְתִּי לָֽךְ׃] And I will see what, and I will tell thee[5] (Montanus). And I will see what I will tell thee (Jonathan). And I will see (search out [Syriac, Arabic]) what (understanding either, is [Castalio], or he answers [Pagnine], or he has in mind [Syriac, Arabic]), and I will report to thee (Pagnine). In the holy tongue an ellipsis of a word frequently occurs. Thus in Genesis 25:28, because his venison in his mouth, understanding, יִנְעַם, was sweet, or pleasant; in Numbers 16:28, and not of my own mind, understanding, have I devised; or, not from myself, that is, have I come. Thus in 2 Samuel 4:10, who, that is, had come, so that I might give to him the reward of his tidings (Glassius’ “Grammar” 702). And, when I will have learned something, I will report it to thee (Junius and Tremellius).


Verse 4:[6] And Jonathan (Prov. 31:8, 9) spake good of David unto Saul his father, and said unto him, Let not the king (Gen. 42:22; Ps. 35:12; 109:5; Prov. 17:13; Jer. 18:20) sin against his servant, against David; because he hath not sinned against thee, and because his works have been to thee-ward very good…


Jonathan spake good of David, which he could not do without hazard to himself. Herein therefore he performed the duty of a true friend, and of a valiant man.


Verse 5:[7] For he did put his (Judg. 9:17; 12:3; 1 Sam. 28:21; Ps. 119:109) life in his hand, and (1 Sam. 17:49, 50) slew the Philistine, and (1 Sam. 11:13; 1 Chron. 11:14) the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: (1 Sam. 20:32) wherefore then wilt thou (Matt. 27:4) sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?


He did put his life in his hand, that is, he exposed his life to eminent hazard. See the notes on Judges 12:3.


Verse 6:[8] And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain.


[Kindly disposed] The change in Saul is great, but only πρόσκαιρος/ temporary (Martyr): Such are the virtues of the impious. They do indeed shine forth now and then, but more quickly pass than a word. With the occasion presented, Saul immediately reverts to his nature (Martyr on verse 9).


Saul hearkened, etc.: This great change is not to be ascribed to any true repentance for his sin against David, or any better affection which he now had to him; but merely to his own worldly interest, because he was convinced by Jonathan’s discourse that he could not kill him without great inconvenience and shame to himself.


[He swore] We see how much confidence is to be placed in the swearing of the impious (Martyr). He swore from the heart, not feignedly; for he was kindly disposed (Menochius).


Verse 7:[9] And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan shewed him all those things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence, (1 Sam. 16:21; 18:2, 3) as in times past (Heb. yesterday third day[10]).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר שָׁא֗וּל אֶל־יוֹנָתָ֤ן בְּנוֹ֙ וְאֶל־כָּל־עֲבָדָ֔יו לְהָמִ֖ית אֶת־דָּוִ֑ד וִיהֽוֹנָתָן֙ בֶּן־שָׁא֔וּל חָפֵ֥ץ בְּדָוִ֖ד מְאֹֽד׃ [2] Hebrew: וַיַּגֵּ֤ד יְהוֹנָתָן֙ לְדָוִ֣ד לֵאמֹ֔ר מְבַקֵּ֛שׁ שָׁא֥וּל אָבִ֖י לַהֲמִיתֶ֑ךָ וְעַתָּה֙ הִשָּֽׁמֶר־נָ֣א בַבֹּ֔קֶר וְיָשַׁבְתָּ֥ בַסֵּ֖תֶר וְנַחְבֵּֽאתָ׃ [3] Hebrew: וַאֲנִ֙י אֵצֵ֜א וְעָמַדְתִּ֣י לְיַד־אָבִ֗י בַּשָּׂדֶה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַתָּ֣ה שָׁ֔ם וַאֲנִ֕י אֲדַבֵּ֥ר בְּךָ֖ אֶל־אָבִ֑י וְרָאִ֥יתִי מָ֖ה וְהִגַּ֥דְתִּי לָֽךְ׃ [4] Hebrew: אֵצֵא. [5] A woodenly literalistic rendering. [6] Hebrew: וַיְדַבֵּ֙ר יְהוֹנָתָ֤ן בְּדָוִד֙ ט֔וֹב אֶל־שָׁא֖וּל אָבִ֑יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵ֠לָיו אַל־יֶחֱטָ֙א הַמֶּ֜לֶךְ בְּעַבְדּ֣וֹ בְדָוִ֗ד כִּ֣י ל֤וֹא חָטָא֙ לָ֔ךְ וְכִ֥י מַעֲשָׂ֖יו טוֹב־לְךָ֥ מְאֹֽד׃ [7] Hebrew: וַיָּשֶׂם֩ אֶת־נַפְשׁ֙וֹ בְכַפּ֜וֹ וַיַּ֣ךְ אֶת־הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֗י וַיַּ֙עַשׂ יְהוָ֜ה תְּשׁוּעָ֤ה גְדוֹלָה֙ לְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל רָאִ֖יתָ וַתִּשְׂמָ֑ח וְלָ֤מָּה תֶֽחֱטָא֙ בְּדָ֣ם נָקִ֔י לְהָמִ֥ית אֶת־דָּוִ֖ד חִנָּֽם׃ [8] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע שָׁא֖וּל בְּק֣וֹל יְהוֹנָתָ֑ן וַיִּשָּׁבַ֣ע שָׁא֔וּל חַי־יְהוָ֖ה אִם־יוּמָֽת׃ [9] Hebrew: וַיִּקְרָ֤א יְהוֹנָתָן֙ לְדָוִ֔ד וַיַּגֶּד־לוֹ֙ יְה֣וֹנָתָ֔ן אֵ֥ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים הָאֵ֑לֶּה וַיָּבֵ֙א יְהוֹנָתָ֤ן אֶת־דָּוִד֙ אֶל־שָׁא֔וּל וַיְהִ֥י לְפָנָ֖יו כְּאֶתְמ֥וֹל שִׁלְשֽׁוֹם׃ [10] Hebrew: כְּאֶתְמ֥וֹל שִׁלְשֽׁוֹם׃.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
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4. By observing a fit opportunity: as when parents are not seriously busied, or in company, or in passion. When Saul was out of passion, [1 Samuel 19:6] how well did he accept Jonathan's apology for David? but in his passion, [1 Samuel 20:30] how…


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Westminster Larger Catechism 144: What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?


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Westminster Larger Catechism 135: What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?


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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
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Matthew Henry: 'Saul and Jonathan appear here in their different characters, with reference to David.


I. Never was enemy so unreasonably cruel as Saul. He spoke to his son and all his servants that they should kill David, 1 Samuel 19:1. His projects to take him off had failed, and therefore he proclaims him an outlaw, and charges all about him, upon their allegiance, to take the first opportunity to kill David. It is strange that he was not ashamed thus to avow his malice when he could give no reason for it, and that knowing all his servants loved David (for so he had said himself, 1 Samuel 18:22), he was not afraid of provoking them to rebel by…


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Dr. Dilday
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Study 1 Samuel in detail with the Illustrious Matthew Poole! www.fromreformationtoreformation.com/1-samuel

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