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1 Samuel 26 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 26

David Spares Saul Again.[a] Men from Ziph came to Saul in Gibeah, reporting that David was hiding on the hill of Hachilah at the edge of Jeshimon. So Saul went down to the wilderness of Ziph with three thousand of the best warriors of Israel, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul camped beside the road on the hill of Hachilah, at the edge of Jeshimon. David, who was living in the wilderness, saw that Saul had come into the wilderness after him and sent out scouts, who confirmed Saul’s arrival. David then went to the place where Saul was encamped and saw the spot where Saul and his general, Abner, son of Ner, had their sleeping quarters. Saul was lying within the camp, and all his soldiers were bivouacked around him. David asked Ahimelech the Hittite, and Abishai, son of Zeruiah and brother of Joab, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?” Abishai replied, “I will.” So David and Abishai reached Saul’s soldiers by night, and there was Saul lying asleep within the camp, his spear thrust into the ground at his head and Abner and his troops sleeping around him.

Abishai whispered to David: “God has delivered your enemy into your hand today. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need to strike him twice!” But David said to Abishai, “Do not harm him, for who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and remain innocent? 10 As the Lord lives,” David declared, “only the Lord can strike him: either when the time comes for him to die, or when he goes out and perishes in battle.[b] 11 But the Lord forbid that I lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed! Now take the spear at his head and the water jug, and let us be on our way.” 12 So David took the spear and the water jug from their place at Saul’s head, and they withdrew without anyone seeing or knowing or awakening. All remained asleep, because a deep slumber[c] from the Lord had fallen upon them.

David Taunts Abner. 13 Crossing over to an opposite slope, David stood on a distant hilltop. With a great distance between them 14 David called to the army and to Abner, son of Ner, “Will you not answer, Abner?” Then Abner shouted back, “Who is it that calls me?” 15 David said to Abner: “Are you not a man? Who in Israel is your equal? Why were you not guarding your lord the king when one of his subjects came to assassinate the king, your lord? 16 What you have done is not right. As the Lord lives, you people deserve death because you have not guarded your lord, the anointed of the Lord. Go, look: where are the king’s spear and the water jug that was at his head?”

Saul Admits His Guilt. 17 Saul recognized David’s voice and asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?”[d] David answered, “Yes, my lord the king.” 18 He continued: “Why does my lord pursue his servant? What have I done? What evil am I planning? 19 Please, now, let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If the Lord has incited you against me, may an offering please the Lord. But if it is the people who have done so, may they be cursed before the Lord. They have driven me away so that today I have no share in the Lord’s heritage,[e] but am told: ‘Go serve other gods!’ 20 Do not let my blood spill on the ground far from the presence of the Lord. For the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea as if he were hunting partridge[f] in the mountains.” 21 Then Saul said: “I have done wrong. Come back, David, my son! I will not harm you again, because you considered my life precious today even though I have been a fool and have made a serious mistake.” 22 But David answered: “Here is the king’s spear. Let an attendant come over to get it. 23 The Lord repays everyone’s righteousness and faithfulness. Although the Lord delivered you into my hands today, I could not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 Just as I regarded your life as precious today, so may the Lord regard my life as precious and deliver me from all dangers.” 25 Then Saul said to David: “Blessed are you, my son David! You shall certainly succeed in whatever you undertake.” David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.

Footnotes:

  1. 26:1 The second account of David sparing Saul’s life; cf. note on 24:1.
  2. 26:10 Perishes in battle: David’s words foreshadow how Saul will die (31:3–4). They also emphasize that David, unlike Saul, knows his proper place before God. David comes to the kingship innocent of Saul’s blood, although the king pursues him like an enemy and David has had two opportunities to kill him.
  3. 26:12 Deep slumber: as in Gn 2:21; 15:12; Is 29:10. The Lord aids David’s foray into Saul’s camp and allows David to come and go undetected.
  4. 26:17 David my son: Saul’s reference to David as his son, which appears three times in this chapter (vv. 17, 21, 25), alludes to David’s role as his successor.
  5. 26:19 The Lord’s heritage: the land and people of Israel (Dt 32:8–9; Ps 33:12). If driven from the land, David could not take part in worship of Israel’s God; nonetheless, God has blessed David (cf. v. 25).
  6. 26:20 Partridge: lit., “the caller.” The metaphor is built on clever wordplay: in v. 14, David calls out to the army and Abner asks the caller’s identity. David calls out the answer: “the caller” is the object of the king’s pursuit.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 Samuel 26 New International Version (NIV)

David Again Spares Saul’s Life

26 The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?

So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search there for David. Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.

Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.

David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?”

“I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.

So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.

Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

12 So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep.

13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. 14 He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?”

Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?”

15 David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. 16 What you have done is not good. As surely as the Lord lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the Lord’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”

17 Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?”

David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18 And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! They have driven me today from my share in the Lord’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.

21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.”

22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The Lord delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”

25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”

So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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