By Reuben Ebrahimoff – The Haftorahman
This week’s Haftorah is read when Rosh Chodesh falls out on Sunday Night. It is called Machar Chodesh, or tomorrow is the new month.
The Haftorah is read from the Book of Samuel 1 Chapter 20 verses 18 through 42. The connection to this week’s Parasha is that the Haftorah takes place on the day before the royal Rosh Chodesh (New Month) festival took place in King Saul’s time.
The Haftorah: David and Jonathan devise a plan to see how King Saul was feeling regarding David. Rosh Chodesh was coming the next day and it was customary to have a big seudah to celebrate the New Month.
David was to hide in the field for three days. At the seudah, if King Saul was to inquire about David, Jonathan was to explain that David was spending this Rosh Chodesh with his family. Jonathan would then hear his father’s feeling regarding David.
David and Jonathan devised a special signal to communicate Saul’s reaction without putting David at risk. David asked Jonathan to promise him that if anything were ever to happen to David, Jonathan would provide for his family. Jonathan agreed and requested the same of his friend David.
The special signal that devised was as follows. David would be hiding out in the field. In those days the royalty enjoyed playing a game of arrows. They would pick a target and try to hit it. Sometimes the arrow would go long and sometimes to would go short. There were arrow boys (Biblical “ball boys”) who would retrieve the arrows for the archer.
If King Saul were angry with David, Jonathan would shoot the arrow “far” and yell at the arrow boy to “run” for it. That would be a signal to David who was hiding behind a rock that it wasn’t safe for him near Saul and that he should flee.
If King Saul wasn’t upset with David, Jonathan would shoot the arrow “short” and tell the runner boy “come back, you ran too far.” That would be the signal for David to come out of hiding and to join them for the festivities.
Rosh Chodesh was two days long. On the first day when King Saul noticed that David wasn’t there, he didn’t say anything. On the second day, King Saul noticed that David was missing and asked his son Jonathan of David’s whereabouts.
When Jonathan explained that he had given permission to David to spend Rosh Chodesh with his family, King Saul exploded with anger and even went as far as to throw a spear at his son Jonathan.
Jonathan challenged his father asking him “What, are you trying to kill him? What has he done wrong to you?”
Jonathan stormed out of the banquet and ran into the field. David was hiding being the rock. Was it going to be a “long shot?”
Jonathan raised his hand with the bow and arrow and pulled on it really hard, launching the arrow way past the rock. He then yelled at the arrow boy to quickly run far out. That was the signal for David to evacuate the area.
After the runner returned with the arrows Jonathan sent him inside. Before David had a chance to leave Jonathan went over to him to say goodbye. They kissed each other and cried. In his parting words to David, Jonathan said: “Go in Peace, we have promised each other in the name of Hashem, that we will be connected souls forever.”