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1 Samuel 23:13-28 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

13 So David and his men, now around six hundred, got up, left Ke‘ilah and went wherever they could. It was told Sha’ul that David had escaped from Ke‘ilah, so he called off the expedition. 14 David stayed in the desert strongholds, remaining in the hills of the Zif Desert. Sha’ul kept trying to find him, but God did not hand him over to him.

15 David saw that Sha’ul had mounted another expedition to seek his life. David was then at Horesh in the Zif Desert. 16 Y’honatan Sha’ul’s son set out and went to David at Horesh to encourage him in God. 17 He said to him, “Don’t be afraid, because my father’s forces will not find you; you will be king over Isra’el, and I will be second to you. Sha’ul my father knows this, too.” 18 Then the two of them made a covenant in the presence of Adonai, after which David stayed at Horesh and Y’honatan returned home.

19 The people of Zif came to Sha’ul in Giv‘ah and said, “David is hiding himself with us in the strongholds at Horesh, on Hakhilah Hill, south of Yeshimon. 20 So now, king, since you’ve wanted so much to come down, come down! Our part will be to turn him over to you.” 21 Sha’ul said, “May Adonai bless you for showing me compassion! 22 Please go and make still more certain exactly where he is and who has seen him there, because I’ve been told that he’s very tricky. 23 So look closely, find out where all his hiding-places are, and come back when you’re sure. Then I will go with you, and if he is there in that territory, I’ll search till I find him among all the thousands of Y’hudah.”

24 They set out and went to Zif before Sha’ul. But David and his men had gone on to the Ma‘on Desert, in the ‘Aravah south of Yeshimon. 25 Sha’ul and his men went searching for him. David was told, so he came down to the rock and stayed in the Ma‘on Desert. When Sha’ul heard that, he pursued David in the Ma‘on Desert. 26 Sha’ul went along one side of the mountain, while David and his men went along the other. David was hurrying to get away from Sha’ul, while Sha’ul and his men were trying to surround David and his men in order to capture them. 27 But then a messenger came to Sha’ul, saying, “Hurry, come, because the P’lishtim are invading the country!” 28 So Sha’ul stopped chasing David and went to fight the P’lishtim. Therefore they called that place Sela-Hamachlekot [rock of divisions].

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

1 Samuel 23:13-28 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

13 So David and his men, numbering about six hundred, left Keilah at once and moved from place to place. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he called off the expedition. 14 David then stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand David over to him.

A Renewed Covenant

15 David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in Horesh when he saw that Saul had come out to take his life. 16 Then Saul’s son Jonathan came to David in Horesh and encouraged him in his faith[a] in God, 17 saying, “Don’t be afraid, for my father Saul will never lay a hand on you. You yourself will be king over Israel, and I’ll be your second-in-command. Even my father Saul knows it is true.” 18 Then the two of them made a covenant in the Lord’s presence. Afterward, David remained in Horesh, while Jonathan went home.

David’s Narrow Escape

19 Some Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “David is[b] hiding among us in the strongholds in Horesh on the hill of Hachilah south of Jeshimon. 20 Now, whenever the king wants to come down, let him come down. Our part will be to hand him over to the king.”

21 “May you be blessed by the Lord,” replied Saul, “for you have shown concern for me. 22 Go and check again. Investigate[c] where he goes[d] and who has seen him there; they tell me he is extremely cunning. 23 Investigate[e] all the places where he hides. Then come back to me with accurate information, and I’ll go with you. If it turns out he really is in the region, I’ll search for him among all the clans[f] of Judah.” 24 So they went to Ziph ahead of Saul.

Now David and his men were in the wilderness near Maon in the Arabah south of Jeshimon, 25 and Saul and his men went to look for him. When David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Wilderness of Maon. Saul heard of this and pursued David there.

26 Saul went along one side of the mountain and David and his men went along the other side. Even though David was hurrying to get away from Saul, Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them. 27 Then a messenger came to Saul saying, “Come quickly, because the Philistines have raided the land!” 28 So Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to engage the Philistines. Therefore, that place was named the Rock of Separation.


  1. 23:16 Lit and strengthened his hand
  2. 23:19 Lit “Is David not... Jeshimon?
  3. 23:22 Lit Know and see
  4. 23:22 Lit watch his place where his foot will be
  5. 23:23 Lit See and know
  6. 23:23 Or thousands
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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