DAVID AND JONATHAN UNDERSTOOD THE NEW MOON
This dramatic covenant love story between David and Jonathan begins on the LAST DAY OF A LUNAR MONTH.
1 Samuel 20 (HRB)
“And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he is seeking my life? 2 And he said to him, Far be it! You shall not die. Behold, my father shall not do anything great or small, and not reveal it to my ear. And why should my father hide this thing from me? It is not so. 3 And David again swore and said, Your father has certainly known that I have found grace in your eyes; and he said, Do not let Jonathan know this, that he not be grieved. And yet, as YAHWEH lives, and your soul lives, there is only a step between me and death. 4 And Jonathan said to David, What your soul may say, I also will do for you. 5 And David said to Jonathan [on the last day of the month], Behold, the new moon [chodesh, conjunction, day 1 of the new month] is tomorrow [day 1 of new month, beginning at sunset]. And sitting I should certainly sit with the king to eat. And you shall send me away, and I shall be hidden in the field until the third evening [sunset beginning day 3 of the month]. [The sighting of the New Moon Crescent by the third night would tell them the new month had already begun.] 6 If looking your father looks for me, then you shall say, David asked earnestly of me to run to his city Beth-Lehem; for the yearly sacrifice is there for all the family. 7 If he shall say so, Good! Peace shall be for your servant. But if it burns him greatly, know that evil has been determined by him. 8 And you shall do kindness to your servant, for you have brought your servant with you into a covenant of YAHWEH. And if there is iniquity in me, you kill me. For why is this, that you bring me to your father? 9 And Jonathan said, Far be it from you! For if I knew with certainty that evil was determined by my father to come on you, would I not tell it to you? 10 Then David said to Jonathan, Who shall tell me? Or what if your father answers harshly? 11 And Jonathan said to David, Come, and we shall go out to the field; and both of them went out to the field. 12 And Jonathan said to David, YAHWEH the Elohim of Israel be witness when I search my father about this time tomorrow [conjunction, day 1 of new month], or the third day [day 3 of new month. Notice how Jonathan just assumes the dark days after the last crescent of the old month to the sighting of the crescent of the new month. As Pastor Dowell stated, the conjunction can be calculated from the full moon of the previous month!], and behold, there is good toward David and I do not send to you and do not reveal it in your ear, 13 so may YAHWEH do to Jonathan and do much more than this. If it should seem good to my father to do evil to you, then I will reveal it in your ear and send you away. And you shall go in peace; and may YAHWEH be with you, as He was with my father. 14 And not only while I live, even you shall do with me the kindness of YAHWEH, that I not die, 15 but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, not even when YAHWEH cuts off the enemies of David, each one from off the face of the earth. 16 And Jonathan covenanted with the house of David, that YAHWEH should seek it from the hand of David’s enemies. 17 And Jonathan again made David swear, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul. 18 And Jonathan said to him, Tomorrow [sunset of conjunction day] is the new moon [day 1 of new month], and you shall be expected, for your seat will be empty. 19 And on the third day [day 3 of the new month] you shall quickly come down, and shall come there to the place where you were hidden in the day of the deed. And you shall remain near the stone Ezel. 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side, shooting at a mark for myself. 21 And, behold, I shall send a boy, saying, Find the arrows! If I expressly say to the boy, Behold, the arrows are on this side of you, take them; then you come, for peace shall be to you, and there is nothing, as YAHWEH lives. 22 But if I say to the young man, Behold, the arrows are away from you and onwards; go, for YAHWEH has sent you away. 23 As to the thing which we have spoken, you and I; behold, YAHWEH is between you and me forever. 24 And David was hidden in the field. And it was the new moon [chodesh, conjunction, day 1 of the new month]. And the king sat down by the food to eat. 25 And the king sat on his seat, as from time to time, on the seat by the wall. And Jonathan rose up, and Abner sat at Saul’s side. And David’s place was empty. 26 But Saul did not say anything on that day [conjunction, day 1 of new month], for he said, It is an accident; he is not clean; he is surely not clean. 27 And it happened on the day after the new moon [day 2 of the new month, which began at sunset], David’s place was empty. And Saul said to his son Jonathan, Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday [conjunction, day 1 of new month] or today [day 2 of new month]? 28 And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 And he said, Please send me away, for we have a family sacrifice in the city, and my brother commanded me. And now, if I have found favor in your eyes, please let me be released, and to see my brothers. So he has not come to the table of the king. 30 And the anger of Saul glowed against Jonathan. And he said to him, Son of a perverse rebelliousness! Do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your shame, and to the shame of the nakedness of your mother (in Saul’s eyes, the perverse rebelliousness!!)? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on earth you shall not be established, you and your kingdom. And now send and bring him to me, for he is a son of death. 32 And Jonathan answered his father Saul, and said to him, Why should he die? What has he done? 33 And Saul threw the spear at him, to strike him. And Jonathan knew that it had been determined by his father to kill David. 34 And Jonathan rose up from the table in the heat of anger. And he did not eat food on the second day of the new moon [which began at sunset], for he was grieved for David. For his father had put him to shame. 35 And it happened in the morning [the morning of day 3 of the month, which had begun at sunset the night before, David and Jonathan’s agreed upon meeting day. By sunset that began day 3, the new crescent moon would have been sighted, telling the Israelites that the NEW MONTH HAD BEGUN AT CONJUNCTION, on day 1!! The sighting of the crescent moon was a sign that ended the New Moon Festival; it did not start the new month!] that Jonathan went out in the field for the meeting with David. And a little boy was with him. 36 And he said to the boy, Now run and find the arrow which I am shooting. The boy ran, and he shot the arrow, causing it to pass over him. 37 And the boy came to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot. And Jonathan called after the boy and said, Is the arrow not away from you and onwards? 38 And Jonathan called after the boy, Hurry, make haste, do not stand! And Jonathan’s boy gathered the arrow and came to his master. 39 And the boy did not know anything. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy with him, and said to him, Go, bring them to the city. 41 The boy left, and David rose up from the south side. And he fell on his face to the ground. And he bowed three times. And they each one kissed his friend. And they each wept on his friend, until David was overcome. 42 And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, because we have sworn, the two of us, in the name of YAHWEH, saying, YAHWEH shall be between you and me, and between my seed and your seed forever. And he rose up and went. And Jonathan went into the city.”
This covenant love story shows that the Israelites, just 500 years after Moses learned the Hebrew biblical calendar from the mouth of Yahweh, understood that the new month begins at conjunction, not at the sighting of the crescent moon. The sighting of the New Moon crescent ended their new moon festivities, it did not begin the new month. I cannot tell from this story whether or not they ate during the night time hours or during the daylight hours. Saul’s reference to the possibility that David was unclean seems to indicate that they were eating during the daylight hours, because most uncleanness was over at sunset, the beginning of a new day. But they apparently partied until the new moon crescent was sighted, which confirmed to them that the new month had already begun!
Hope this helps.
Gene Benjamin II
July 6, 2013 CE