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.
The Death of Samuel
David and Abigail
Then David rose and went down to ythe wilderness of Paran. 2 And there was a man in zMaon whose business was in aCarmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. bHe was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; che was a Calebite. 4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal bwas shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men. And David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal and greet him in my name. 6 And thus you shall greet him: d‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, eand they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come fon a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”
9 When David’s young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David, and then they waited. 10 And Nabal answered David’s servants, g“Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? hThere are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. 11 Shall I take imy bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to jmen who come from I do not know where?” 12 So David’s young men turned away and came back and told him all this. 13 And David said to his men, “Every man strap on his sword!” And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And kabout four hundred men went up after David, kwhile two hundred lremained with the baggage.
14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them. 15 Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, nand we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. 16 They were oa wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, pfor harm is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is such qa worthless man that one cannot speak to him.”
18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs1 of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. 19 And she said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 And as she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, behold, David and his men came down toward her, and she met them. 21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, rso that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has sreturned me evil for good. 22 tGod do so to the enemies of David2 and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.”
23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried uand got down from the donkey vand fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, w“On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 25 Let not my lord regard qthis worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal3 is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. 26 Now then, my lord, xas the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because ythe Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from zsaving with your own hand, now then alet your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now let this bpresent that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the Lord will certainly make my lord ca sure house, because my lord dis fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. 29 If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the Lord your God. And the lives of your enemies ehe shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30 And when the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you and has appointed you prince4 over Israel, 31 my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord zworking salvation himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”
32 And David said to Abigail, f“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, ywho have kept me this day from bloodguilt zand from working salvation with my own hand! 34 For as surely gas the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, ywho has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male.” 35 Then David received from her hand what she had brought him. And he said to her, h“Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition.”
36 And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, ihe was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart jwas merry within him, for he was very drunk. So she told him nothing kat all until the morning light. 37 In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 38 And about ten days later lthe Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, f“Blessed be the Lord who has mavenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, nand has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. oThe Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and pspoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife. 40 When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.” 41 And she rose qand bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42 And Abigail hurried and rose and mounted a donkey, and her five young women attended her. She followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
David Spares Saul Again
26 tThen the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding himself on the hill of Hachilah, which is on the east of Jeshimon?” 2 So Saul arose and went down to uthe wilderness of Ziph with vthree thousand chosen men of Israel to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul encamped on the hill of Hachilah, which is beside the road on the east of Jeshimon. But David remained in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness, 4 David sent out spies and learned that Saul had indeed come. 5 Then David rose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, with wAbner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Saul was lying within xthe encampment, while the army was encamped around him.
6 Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Joab’s brother yAbishai the son of Zeruiah, z“Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.” 7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night. And there lay Saul sleeping within xthe encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground aat his head, and Abner and the army lay around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, b“God has given your enemy into your hand this day. Now please let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.” 9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand cagainst the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?” 10 And David said, d“As the Lord lives, ethe Lord will strike him, or fhis day will come to die, gor he will go down into battle and perish. 11 hThe Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. But take now the spear that is iat his head and the jar of water, and let us go.” 12 So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head, and they went away. No man saw it or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because ja deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.
13 Then David went over to the other side and stood far off on the top of the hill, with a great space between them. 14 And David called to the army, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Will you not answer, Abner?” Then Abner answered, “Who are you who calls to the king?” 15 And David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept watch over your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy the king your lord. 16 This thing that you have done is not good. kAs the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not kept watch over your lord, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is and the jar of water that was lat his head.”
17 Saul recognized David’s voice and said, m“Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” 18 And he said, n“Why does my lord pursue after his servant? For what have I done? What evil is on my hands? 19 Now therefore let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is the Lord who has stirred you up against me, may he accept an offering, but if it is men, may they be cursed before the Lord, ofor they have driven me out this day that I should have no share in pthe heritage of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the Lord, for the king of Israel has come out to seek qa single flea like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Then Saul said, r“I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.” 22 And David answered and said, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and take it. 23 sThe Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. 24 Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will tsucceed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.
David Flees to the Philistines
27 Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.” 2 So David arose and went over, he and uthe six hundred men who were with him, vto Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3 And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with whis two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. 4 And when it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer sought him.
5 Then David said to Achish, “If xI have found favor in your eyes, let a place be given me in one of the country towns, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?” 6 So that day Achish gave him yZiklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. 7 zAnd the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
8 Now David aand his men went up and made raids against bthe Geshurites, cthe Girzites, and dthe Amalekites, for these were the inhabitants of the land from of old, eas far as Shur, to the land of Egypt. 9 And David would strike the land and would leave neither man nor woman alive, but would take away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the garments, and come back to Achish. 10 When Achish asked, “Where have you fmade a raid today?” David would say, “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or, “Against the Negeb of gthe Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of hthe Kenites.” 11 And David would leave neither man nor woman alive to bring news to Gath, thinking, “lest they should tell about us and say, ‘So David has done.’” Such was his custom all the while he lived in the country of the Philistines. 12 And Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant.”
Saul and the Medium of En-dor
28 In those days ithe Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. And Achish said to David, “Understand that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.” 2 David said to Achish, “Very well, you shall know what your servant can do.” And Achish said to David, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”
3 Now jSamuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him kin Ramah, his own city. And Saul had put lthe mediums and the necromancers out of the land. 4 The Philistines assembled and came and encamped mat Shunem. And Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped nat Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. 6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, othe Lord did not answer him, either pby dreams, or qby Urim, or by prophets. 7 Then Saul said to his servants, r“Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at sEn-dor.”
8 So Saul tdisguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, u“Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.” 9 The woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done, lhow he has cut off the mediums and the necromancers from the land. Why then are you laying a trap for my life to bring about my death?” 10 But Saul swore to her by the Lord, v“As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.” 11 Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul.” 13 The king said to her, “Do not be afraid. What do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” 14 He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped win a robe.” And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid homage.
15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and xGod has turned away from me and yanswers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for zthe Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 aBecause you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you band your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.”
20 Then Saul fell at once full length on the ground, filled with fear because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. 21 And the woman came to Saul, and when she saw that he was terrified, she said to him, “Behold, your servant has obeyed you. cI have taken my life in my hand and have listened to what you have said to me. 22 Now therefore, you also obey your servant. Let me set a morsel of bread before you; and eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way.” 23 He refused and said, “I will not eat.” But his servants, together with the woman, urged him, and he listened to their words. So he arose from the earth and sat on the bed. 24 Now the woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly killed it, and she took flour and kneaded it and baked unleavened bread of it, 25 and she put it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night.