Bible Book List

1 Samuel 23 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

23 David was told, “The P’lishtim are fighting Ke‘ilah and plundering the threshing-floors.” David consulted Adonai, asking, “Should I go and attack these P’lishtim?” Adonai answered David, “Go, and attack the P’lishtim, and save Ke‘ilah.” David’s men said to him, “Look, we’re already afraid here in Y’hudah. How much more, then, if we go to Ke‘ilah to fight the armies of the P’lishtim!” David consulted Adonai again; and Adonai answered him, “Set out, and go down to Ke‘ilah, because I will hand the P’lishtim over to you.” David and his men went to Ke‘ilah and fought the P’lishtim. They defeated them in a great slaughter and led away their livestock. Thus David saved the inhabitants of Ke‘ilah.

When Avyatar the son of Achimelekh fled to David in Ke‘ilah, he had brought a ritual vest with him. Now Sha’ul, on being informed that David had gone to Ke‘ilah, had said, “God has put him into my hands. He’s trapped himself by entering a town with gates and bars.” So Sha’ul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Ke‘ilah and besiege David and his men. David knew that Sha’ul was plotting something against him, so he told Avyatar the cohen, “Bring the ritual vest here.” 10 Then David said, “Adonai God of Isra’el, your servant has certainly heard that Sha’ul intends to come to Ke‘ilah and destroy the city just to get me. 11 Will the men of Ke‘ilah turn me over to him? Will Sha’ul come down, as your servant has heard? Adonai God of Isra’el, please tell your servant!” Adonai said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David asked, “Will the men of Ke‘ilah hand me and my men over to Sha’ul?” Adonai said, “They will hand you over.” 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 New King James Version (NKJV)

David Saves the City of Keilah

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

Therefore David 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 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 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, 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 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, 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 the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul 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, “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. Even my father Saul knows that.” 18 So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house.

19 Then the Ziphites 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 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 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. So David made haste to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were encircling David and his men to take them.

27 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 En Gedi.


  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
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Viewing of
Cross references