Jonathan Warns David
20 Then David fled from Naioth min Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” 2 And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” 3 But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that nI have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, oas the Lord lives and pas your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” 4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” 5 David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is qthe new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, rthat I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. 6 sIf your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run tto Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly usacrifice there for all the clan.’ 7 If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant, but if he is angry, then know that vharm is determined by him. 8 Therefore deal kindly with your servant, wfor you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. xBut if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” 9 And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that vit was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.
12 And Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness!1 When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13 But should it please my father to do you harm, ythe Lord do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. zMay the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the Lord, that I may not die; 15 aand do not cut off2 your steadfast love from my house forever, when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, b“May3 the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, cfor he loved him as he loved his own soul.
18 Then Jonathan said to him, d“Tomorrow is the new moon, and eyou will be missed, because fyour seat will be empty. 19 On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap.4 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21 And behold, I will send the boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, gas the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the youth, h‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 iAnd as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, jthe Lord is between you and me forever.”
24 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite,5 and Abner sat by Saul’s side, kbut David’s place was empty.
26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. lHe is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on mthe second day, the day after the new moon, kDavid’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, n“David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”
30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, o“Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 pBut Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew qthat his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.
35 In the morning Jonathan went out into the field to the appointment with David, and with him a little boy. 36 And he said to his boy, “Run and find the arrows that I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37 And when the boy came to the place of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, Jonathan called after the boy and said, r“Is not the arrow beyond you?” 38 And Jonathan called after the boy, “Hurry! Be quick! Do not stay!” So Jonathan’s boy gathered up the arrows and came to his master. 39 But the boy knew nothing. Only Jonathan and David knew the matter. 40 And Jonathan gave his weapons to his boy and said to him, “Go and carry them to the city.” 41 And as soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap6 and fell on his face to the ground and bowed three times. And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, s“Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, t‘The Lord shall be between me and you, uand between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’” And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.7
David and the Holy Bread
21 1 Then David came to vNob, to wAhimelech the priest. And Ahimelech xcame to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is yholy bread—zif the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him ythe holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, awhich is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.
7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was bDoeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s herdsmen.
8 Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” 9 And the priest said, c“The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in dthe Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”
David Flees to Gath
10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul and went to eAchish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? fDid they not sing to one another of him in dances,
‘Saul has struck down his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”
12 And David gtook these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”
David at the Cave of Adullam
22 David departed from there and escaped to hthe cave of iAdullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 jAnd everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul,1 gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him kabout four hundred men.
3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay2 with you, till I know what God will do for me.” 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet lGad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah.” So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.
Saul Kills the Priests at Nob
6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under mthe tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, “Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse ngive every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me owhen my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you pis sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, qto lie in wait, as at this day.” 9 Then answered rDoeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, “I saw the son of Jesse scoming to Nob, to tAhimelech the son of Ahitub, 10 uand he inquired of the Lord for him and vgave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11 Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, “Hear now, son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and uhave inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, wto lie in wait, as at this day?” 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king’s son-in-law, and captain over3 your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time uthat I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, xmuch or little.” 16 And the king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 And the king said to ythe guard who stood about him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, zand he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; aboth man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.
20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named bAbiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, cwhen Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 dStay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”
David Saves the City of Keilah
23 Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against eKeilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” 2 Therefore David finquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3 But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 Then David finquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, gfor I will give the Philistines into your hand.” 5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
6 hWhen Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. 7 Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, i“Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, j“They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, kwho were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went lwherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. 14 And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country mof the wilderness of nZiph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.
Saul Pursues David
15 David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. oSaul my father also knows this.” 18 pAnd the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
19 qThen the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of rJeshimon? 20 Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down, sand our part shall be to surrender him into the king’s hand.” 21 And Saul said, t“May you be blessed by the Lord, ufor you have had compassion on me. 22 Go, make yet more sure. Know and see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there, for it is told me that he is very cunning. 23 See therefore and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you. And if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.” 24 And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.
Now David and his men were vin the wilderness of Maon, win the Arabah to the south of rJeshimon. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape.1 29 2 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of xEngedi.
David Spares Saul’s Life
24 yWhen Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took zthree thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in ato relieve himself.1 Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts bof the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, c“Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 And afterward dDavid’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, e“The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is fthe Lord’s anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words gand did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. hAnd some told me to kill you, but I spared you.2 I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, ffor he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that ithere is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though jyou hunt my life to take it. 12 kMay the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? lAfter a dead dog! mAfter a flea! 15 kMay the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and nplead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”
16 As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, o“Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, pfor you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18 And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now, behold, qI know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 rSwear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and sthat you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” 22 And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up tto the stronghold.