David Saves the City of Keilah

23 Then they told David, saying, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against (A)Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors.”

Therefore David (B)inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and [a]attack these Philistines?”

And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.”

But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the Lord once again.

And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and (C)fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

Now it happened, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech (D)fled to David at Keilah, that he went down with an ephod in his hand.

And Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. So Saul said, “God has delivered him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” Then Saul called all the people together for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.

When David knew that Saul plotted evil against him, (E)he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah (F)to destroy the city for my sake. 11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.”

And the Lord said, “He will come down.”

12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah [b]deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul?”

And the Lord said, “They will deliver you.

13 So David and his men, (G)about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah and went wherever they could go. Then it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah; so he halted the expedition.

David in Wilderness Strongholds

14 And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness, and remained in (H)the mountains in the Wilderness of (I)Ziph. Saul (J)sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand. 15 So David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. And David was in the Wilderness of Ziph [c]in a forest. 16 Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and [d]strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, (K)“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. (L)Even my father Saul knows that.” 18 So the two of them (M)made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house.

19 Then the Ziphites (N)came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding with us in strongholds in the woods, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and (O)our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hand.”

21 And Saul said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, for you have compassion on me. 22 Please go and find out for sure, and see the place where his hideout is, and who has seen him there. For I am told he is very crafty. 23 See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides; and come back to me with certainty, and I will go with you. And it shall be, if he is in the land, that I will search for him throughout all the [e]clans of Judah.”

24 So they arose and went to Ziph before Saul. But David and his men were in the Wilderness (P)of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. 25 When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David. Therefore he went down [f]to the rock, and stayed in the Wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued David in the Wilderness of Maon. 26 Then Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. (Q)So David made haste to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men (R)were encircling David and his men to take them.

27 (S)But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land!” 28 Therefore Saul returned from pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; so they called that place [g]the Rock of Escape. 29 Then David went up from there and dwelt in strongholds at (T)En Gedi.

David Spares Saul

24 Now it happened, (U)when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and (V)went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and (W)Saul went in to (X)attend to his needs. ((Y)David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) (Z)Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that (AA)David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, (AB)“The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David (AC)restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.

David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down. And David said to Saul: (AD)“Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? 10 Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is (AE)neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you (AF)hunt my life to take it. 12 (AG)Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, (AH)‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? (AI)A dead dog? (AJ)A flea? 15 (AK)Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and (AL)see and (AM)plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.”

16 So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, (AN)Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 (AO)Then he said to David: “You are (AP)more righteous than I; for (AQ)you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. 18 And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when (AR)the Lord delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now (AS)I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 (AT)Therefore swear now to me by the Lord (AU)that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s house.”

22 So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to (AV)the stronghold.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 23:2 Lit. strike
  2. 1 Samuel 23:12 Lit. shut up
  3. 1 Samuel 23:15 Or in Horesh
  4. 1 Samuel 23:16 encouraged him
  5. 1 Samuel 23:23 Lit. thousands
  6. 1 Samuel 23:25 Or from the rock
  7. 1 Samuel 23:28 Heb. Sela Hammahlekoth