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King Saul sent for David. “Come and live in the palace,” the king said. “I want you to work for me.”

So David moved to the king’s beautiful palace. David soon met King Saul’s oldest son, Jonathan. David and Jonathan liked each other and became best friends.

“Let’s go shoot arrows!” Jonathan may have called to David.

“Let’s go ride horses,” David may have said to Jonathan.

The people of Israel grew to love David too. And that made King Saul think that the people loved David more than they loved him. King Saul became so angry that he tried to hurt David!

“Your father is trying to hurt me!” David told his friend Jonathan.

“That can’t be true!” Jonathan exclaimed.

“But it is!” David insisted. “Soon a festival will begin, and the king will expect me to be there. I will go to see my brothers. Two days after the festival I will return and hide in the field. When your father sees that I am not at the festival dinner, tell him that I went to visit my family. If he gets very upset, you will know that he is trying to hurt me.”

“All right,” Jonathan answered. “Hide by the stone pile in the field. If my father really is trying to hurt you, I will tell you. Here’s my plan,” Jonathan continued. “I will shoot arrows over by the stone pile. Then I will send my servant boy to get the arrows. If I shout to the boy and say, ‘Go farther—the arrows are ahead of you,’ then you will know that my father really does want to hurt you, and you need to run away to be safe.”

When King Saul sat down for the festival dinner that day, he saw that David’s chair was empty. But he didn’t say anything. The next day at dinnertime the king saw that David’s chair was still empty. He turned to Jonathan. “Where is David?” he asked.

“David went to visit his family during the festival,” Jonathan answered.

King Saul’s face turned red with anger. “Don’t you think I know that you want to protect David? As long as he lives, you will never be king!” he screamed. “Go get David! I want to destroy him!”

Jonathan knew then that his father really wanted to hurt his friend David.

The next morning Jonathan went to the field. He took out an arrow, aimed it near the stone pile, and shot it. Jonathan’s servant boy ran to find the arrow.

“Run farther!” Jonathan called loudly. “The arrow is ahead of you.”

When the boy came back, Jonathan sent him back to town. Then he and David said goodbye. “We may not be able to see each other for a while,” Jonathan said. “But we will still be friends,” he promised. “Yes, we will be friends forever!” said David. And they were.