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David Again Spares Saul

26 Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hachilah which faces Jeshimon?” So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, 3,000 chosen men of Israel with him, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul camped in the hill of Hachilah which faces Jeshimon, by the road. But David was staying in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul had come after him into the wilderness. So David sent out spies and realized that Saul had already arrived. Then David got up and went to the place where Saul had camped. David detected the spot where Saul lay asleep, as well as Abner son of Ner his army commander. Saul was lying inside the barricade and the troops were camped around him.

Then David spoke and asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?”

“I will go down with you,” Abishai answered.

So David and Abishai approached the troops by night. Behold, Saul was lying asleep within the barricade with his spear stuck in the ground at his head, and Abner and the troops were sleeping around him. Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand today. Now let me pin him to the ground with a single thrust of the spear. I will not have to strike him twice.”

But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! For who can lay his hand on Adonai’s anointed and be guiltless?” 10 David added, “As Adonai lives, either Adonai will strike him down, or his day will come to die, or he will go down to battle and be swept away. 11 Adonai forbid that I should lay my hand on Adonai’s anointed! Now, just take the spear that is at his head and the water jar and let’s go.” 12 So David took the spear and the water jar from beside Saul’s head. They got away—and no one saw it, or knew it, or woke up—for all were asleep, for a deep sleep from Adonai had fallen upon them.

13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on the top of a distant hill with a wide space between them. 14 David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner saying, “Aren’t you going to answer, Abner?”

Then Abner answered saying, “Who are you, who called out to the king?”

15 “Aren’t you a man?” David said to Abner. “Indeed, who is like you in Israel? So, why didn’t you guard your lord the king? For one of the troops came in to kill the king your lord. 16 This thing that you’ve done is no good. As Adonai lives, all of you deserve to die, because you have not kept watching over your lord, Adonai’s anointed. So now, look around, where are the king’s spear and the water jar that were at his head?”

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

“It is my voice, my lord the king,” David said, 18 then added, “Yet why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What evil is in my hand? 19 Now please, let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If Adonai has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if men have done so, then cursed are they before Adonai, because they have now driven me out that I would not cling to Adonai’s inheritance, saying: ‘Go, worship other gods.’ 20 So now, let not my blood fall to the ground, away from the presence of Adonai. For the king of Israel has come out to search for but a single flea, just as one hunts for a partridge in the mountains.”

21 Then Saul replied, “I have sinned! Return, David my son, for I will no longer do you harm, since my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I’ve played the fool and erred so seriously.”

22 David then answered and said, “There is the king’s spear! Let one of the young men cross over and take it. 23 Adonai will repay everyone his righteousness and his faithfulness. For Adonai gave you into my hand today, but I refused to lay my hand on Adonai’s anointed. 24 See, just as your life was highly valued in my eyes today, so let my life be highly valued in Adonai’s eyes, and may He deliver me from all trouble.”

25 Then Saul said to David, “Blessed are you, David my son! You will both do mightily and will surely prevail.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.