Bible Book List

1 Samuel 18-31 Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Jonathan’s Covenant Love for David

18 Now it came to pass, when David had finished speaking to Saul, Jonathan’s soul was knit to David’s soul, and Jonathan loved him as himself. Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan cut a covenant with David, because he loved him as himself. Jonathan stripped off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, along with his armor: his sword, bow and belt.

Saul’s Jealousy

So David went out wherever Saul sent him and had success, so Saul set him over the men of war. It was pleasing in the eyes of all the people as well as in the eyes of Saul’s courtiers. Upon their coming back, upon David’s return from killing the Philistine, the women came out of all the towns of Israel, singing and dancing in circles to greet King Saul, with timbrels, with joy and with three-stringed instruments. So the women sang one to another, as they were dancing saying,

“Saul has slain his thousands,
    and David his ten thousands!”

Then Saul became very angry—this saying was evil in his eyes—and he commented, “They’ve ascribed to David ten thousands and to me they’ve ascribed thousands. Now what more does he lack but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day on.

10 It came about the next day that an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul, so that he was raving within the palace. While David was playing music with his hand, as he did day by day, Saul had his spear in his hand, 11 and Saul hurled the spear, thinking, “I’ll pin David to the wall!” But David eluded him—twice.

12 Now Saul became afraid of David, because Adonai was with him but had departed from Saul. 13 Therefore Saul removed him from his entourage by appointing him as a captain of a thousand. So David went out and came in before the troops. 14 David had success in all his undertakings, since Adonai was with him. 15 When Saul saw that he had great success, he dreaded him. 16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them.

17 Then Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab—I give her to you as a wife. Only continue to be my son of valor and fight Adonai’s battles.” For Saul thought, “My hand needn’t be against him—let the hand of the Philistines be against him.”

18 But David replied to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 19 But when it was time to give Saul’s daughter Merab to David in marriage, she was given as wife to Adriel the Meholathite instead.

Michal’s Love for David

20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. When they told Saul, the matter pleased him. 21 Saul thought, “I will give her to him, so that she may become a snare to him—and the hand of the Philistines will be against him.” So Saul said to David, “You can still become my son-in-law, even today, with the second one.”

22 Then Saul commanded his courtiers, “Speak with David privately and say, ‘Behold, the king delights in you and all his courtiers love you. So now, become the king’s son-in-law!’” 23 So Saul’s courtiers whispered these words in David’s ears.

But David said, “Is it a light thing to you becoming the king’s son-in-law, considering that I am a poor man and of little account?” 24 Saul’s courtiers reported back to him what David had said.

25 Then Saul said, “Thus you will say to David, ‘The king desires no bridal dowry except 100 foreskins of the Philistines—to take vengeance on the king’s enemies.’” So Saul schemed to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.

26 When his courtiers told David these words, the word seemed right in David’s eyes to become the king’s son-in-law. Before the days were fulfilled, 27 David had risen, gone with his men and killed 200 Philistine men. Then David brought their foreskins and gave them in full number to the king—to become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him Michal his daughter as a wife. 28 When Saul saw and realized that Adonai was with David and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, 29 Saul grew even more afraid of David. Thus Saul became David’s enemy for all days.

30 When the chiefs of the Philistines marched out, as often as they came out, David proved more successful than all of Saul’s officers. So his name became highly esteemed.

Saul Tries to Kill David

19 Now Saul told his son Jonathan and all his courtiers to kill David. But Saul’s son Jonathan delighted much in David. So Jonathan informed David saying, “My father Saul is seeking to kill you. So now, please be on guard in the morning, and stay in a secret place and hide yourself. I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you will be, and I will speak with my father about you. If I notice anything, I will tell you.” So Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul and said to him, “May the king not sin against his servant David, since he has not sinned against you, and since his deeds have been very beneficial for you; For he put his life in his hand and killed the Philistine, and Adonai won a great victory for all Israel—you saw it and rejoiced. So why would you sin against innocent blood by killing David without a cause?”

Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As Adonai lives, he will not be put to death.” So Jonathan called David, and Jonathan told him all these things. Jonathan brought David to Saul and in his presence as before.

Once again war broke out, and David marched out and fought the Philistines, and inflicted a great slaughter on them and they fled before him. Yet once again an evil spirit from Adonai came upon Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, as David was playing music with his hand. 10 Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s face, so that he drove the spear into the wall. That night David fled and got away.

11 Then Saul sent agents to David’s house to watch him, in order to kill him in the morning. But David’s wife Michal warned him saying, “If you don’t escape for your life tonight, tomorrow you will be dead!” 12 So Michal lowered David down through the window, and thus he went, fled and escaped. 13 Then Michal took a household idol, laid it in the bed, put a quilt of goats’ hair at the head and covered it with a cloth. 14 When Saul sent messengers to arrest David, she said, “He’s sick.”

15 So Saul sent the agents back to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed so I may put him to death.” 16 When the messengers came in, behold, the household idol was in the bed with the quilt of goats’ hair at its head. 17 Saul then said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this and let my enemy get away, so that he escaped?”

Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go or I’ll kill you!’”

18 So David fled and escaped, went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went and stayed at Naioth. 19 Saul was told, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20 So Saul sent agents to seize David, but they saw a band of prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing and presiding over them. Then the Ruach of God came upon Saul’s agents and they too prophesied. 21 When Saul was told, he sent other agents and they too prophesied. Then Saul sent a third group of messengers, and they too prophesied. 22 Then he himself went to Ramah, and when he arrived at the great cistern in Secu, he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”

Someone answered, “Look, they are at Naioth at Ramah.” 23 So he proceeded there, to Naioth at Ramah, and the Ruach of God came upon him as well, and he prophesied as he kept walking until he arrived to Naioth at Ramah. 24 Then he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. That is why people were saying, “Is Saul too among the prophets?”

Reaffirming Covenant Loyalty

20 Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah, came before Jonathan and said, “What have I done? What is my crime? What is my sin against your father that he should be seeking my life?”

“Never!” he said to him. “You will not die! Behold, my father does nothing great or small without disclosing it to me. So why should my father hide this matter from me? It cannot be.”

Then David swore again saying, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes. So he must have thought, ‘Let’s not let Jonathan know about this, else he will be grieved.’ But truly as Adonai lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.”

Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you!”

So David said to Jonathan, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon, when I am supposed to sit down with the king to eat. Instead, let me go hide myself in the countryside until the third evening. If your father misses me at all, then say: ‘David earnestly asked my permission to run to Beth-lehem, his town, for it is the annual sacrifice there for the whole family.’ If he says thus, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe; but if he becomes very angry, then know that he is determined to harm me. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, for you have brought your servant into a covenant of Adonai with you. But if there is any iniquity in me, then kill me yourself! Why should you bring me to your father?”

Jonathan replied, “Far be it from you! For if I know for sure that my father has determined evil to come on you, then wouldn’t I tell you about it?”

10 Then David asked Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”

11 Jonathan said to David, “Come, let’s go out to the field.” So they both went out to the field. 12 Then Jonathan said to David, “By Adonai, God of Israel, I will sound out my father about this time tomorrow or the day after. Look, if it is good toward David, wouldn’t I then send word to you and disclose it to you? 13 May Adonai do so to Jonathan and even worse, should my father intend to do you evil, if I don’t disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in shalom. So may Adonai be with you as He has been with my father.

14 “Now if I am still alive, wouldn’t you show me the loyal love of Adonai so I wouldn’t die? 15 Yet also, don’t cut off your loyal love from my household ever—not even when Adonai cuts off all of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” 16 So Jonathan cut a covenant with the house of David, “So may Adonai requite David’s enemies.” 17 Jonathan made David swear again because of the love he had for him, for he loved him as he loved himself.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the New Moon. You’ll be missed because your seat will be empty. 19 On the third day, you must go down quickly and come to the place where you hid as you did on that day, and remain close to the stone Ezel. 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Now look, I will send a lad saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I specifically say to the lad, ‘See, the arrows are on this side of you—get them,’ then come; for it is safe for you and no danger, as Adonai lives. 22 But if I say to the boy: ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go your way, for Adonai has released you. 23 But as for the matter which I and you have spoken about, behold, Adonai is between me and you forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field, and when the New Moon came, the king sat down to eat a meal. 25 So the king sat on his seat—as usual, the seat by the wall—Jonathan stood up and Abner sat down by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Nevertheless, Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “It must be an accident; he must be ceremonially unclean—yes, that’s it, he’s unclean.”

27 Yet it came to pass on the day following the New Moon, the second day, that David’s place was still empty. So Saul asked his son Jonathan, “Why didn’t Jesse’s son come to the meal yesterday or today?”

28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Beth-lehem, 29 as he said, ‘Please let me go, for we are going to have a family feast in the town, and my brother has commanded me. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me go, please, to see my brothers. That’s why he hasn’t come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s rage blazed against Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have chosen the son of Jesse—to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on earth, neither you nor your kingship will be secure. Now, send word and bring him to me, for he is a son of death!”

32 But Jonathan answered his father Saul, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?”

33 Then Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him down. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 So Jonathan rose up from the table in fierce anger, and did not eat food the second day of the new month, for he was grieved over David, because his father had dishonored him.

35 It came to pass in the morning that Jonathan went out to the field at the time appointed with David, and a little lad was with him. 36 He said to his lad, “Run, find now the arrows that I am about to shoot.” Now as the lad was running, he shot an arrow past him. 37 When the lad reached the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried out after the lad and said, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38 Then Jonathan called out after the lad, “Quick, hurry! Don’t stand there!” So Jonathan’s lad picked up the arrow and came to his master. 39 But the lad knew nothing; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. 40 Then Jonathan gave his weapons to his lad and said to him, “Go, take them back to the town.”

41 As soon as the lad was gone, David emerged from the south side and fell on his face to the ground and bowed down three times. Then they kissed each other and wept together, though David wept more. 42 Then Jonathan said to David, “Go in the shalom that we both have sworn to each other in the Name of Adonai saying: ‘May Adonai be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’”

Eating Consecrated Bread

21 Then David got up and left, while Jonathan returned to the town. David went to Nob to Ahimelech the kohen. Ahimelech was afraid to meet David, so he said to him, “Why are you alone and no one with you?”

David said to Ahimelech the kohen, “The king has commissioned me with a matter, and told me: ‘Let no one know anything about the mission on which I am sending you, or with what I have commissioned you.’ So, I have directed the young men to such and such a place. So now, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever can be found.”

The kohen answered David saying, “There is no common bread on hand, but there is consecrated bread[a]—so long as the young men have kept themselves from women.”

“Of course women have been kept from us, as on previous campaigns,” David answered the kohen. “So the young men’s vessels were holy, though it was an ordinary mission—how much more so will their vessels be holy today!” So the kohen gave him consecrated bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which was taken out from the presence of Adonai in order to replace it with hot bread on the day it was taken away.[b]

Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before Adonai. His name was Doeg the Edomite, chief of Saul’s shepherds.

Then David said to Ahimelech, “Isn’t there a spear or sword on hand? For I did not take my sword or my weapons with me, because the king’s mission was urgent.”

10 The kohen said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine whom you killed in the valley of Elah—it’s here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, take it. For there’s nothing else here.”

“There’s nothing like it!” David said. “Give it to me.”

David Pretends Insanity

11 Then David got up and fled that day from Saul, and went to Achish, king of Gath. 12 But Achish’s courtiers said to him, “Isn’t this David king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?’”

13 David took these words to heart, and he became so afraid of King Achish of Gath 14 that he changed his demeanor before them and acted like a mad man while in their hands—scribbling on the doors of the gate and letting his saliva run down his beard. 15 Then Achish said to his courtiers, “Look, you can see the man is insane. Why did you bring him to me? 16 Do I have a shortage of crazy people that you’ve brought this fellow to go crazy on me? Is this one going to come into my house?”

Flight to a Cave and to Moab

22 So David walked from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and all his father’s house heard about it, they went down there to him. Anyone who was in distress, anyone in debt, and anyone embittered rallied around him, and he became their leader. There were about 400 men with him.

Then David left from there to Mizpah of Moab, and he said to the king of Moab, “Please, let my father and my mother come and stay with you until I know what God will do for me.” Then he brought them to the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.

But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; depart, and go to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

Then Saul heard that David and the men with him were located. Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree on the height, spear in his hand, and all his courtiers were attending him. Saul said to his courtiers standing about him, “Listen now, Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you captains of thousands and captains of hundreds? Yet all of you have conspired against me, and there was nobody disclosing to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse! None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush—as is the case today?”

Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing among Saul’s courtiers, answered and said, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob—to Ahimelech son of Ahitub— 10 and he inquired of Adonai for him, gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11 Then the king sent word to summon the kohen Ahimelech son of Ahitub and all the kohanim of his father’s house who were in Nob. So they all came to the king. 12 “Listen now, son of Ahitub,” Saul said.

“Here I am, my lord,” he said.

13 Then Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me—you and the son of Jesse—by giving him bread and a sword, and by inquiring of God for him, that he should rise against me by lying in ambush, as is the case today?”

14 Then Ahimelech answered the king saying, “Who among all your servants is as trusted as David, the king’s son-in-law, a captain of the royal guard, and honored in your house? 15 Just today I began to inquire of God for him? Far be it from the king to accuse his servant or to anyone of my father’s house. For your servant knows nothing of all this, whether little or much.”

16 But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house.” 17 Then the king ordered the guards attending him, “Turn around and kill the kohanim of Adonai, for they are in cahoots with David, for they knew that he was running away but did not inform me.” But the servants of the king were not willing to raise their hand to assault the kohanim of Adonai. 18 So the king said to Doeg, “You, turn around and kill the kohanim!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and fell upon the kohanim and on that day killed 85 men who wore the linen ephod. 19 Nob, the town of the kohanim, he struck with the edge of the sword: men and women, children and infants, oxen, asses, and sheep with the edge of the sword.

20 Yet one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to David. 21 Abiathar told David that Saul had slain Adonai’s kohanim. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have brought about the death of all the people of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me, and fear not; for the one who is seeking my life is seeking your life too—but with me you will be safe.”

David Hides and Saul Seeks

23 Then they reported to David saying, “Look, the Philistines are raiding Keilah and they are plundering the threshing floors.” So David inquired of Adonai saying, “Shall I go and attack those Philistines?”

Adonai said to David, “Go, attack the Philistines and deliver Keilah.”

But David’s fellow men said to him, “Look, we’re afraid here in Judah; how much more so if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces?”

Once again David inquired of Adonai, and Adonai answered him saying, “Arise! Go to Keilah, for I am going to deliver the Philistines into your hand.” So David and his fellow men went to Keilah and fought against the Philistines, drove off their livestock and inflicted a great slaughter on them. Thus David rescued the inhabitants of Keilah. It came about, when Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, he came down with an ephod in his hand.

Now when Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, Saul said, “God has delivered him into my hand! For he shut himself in by entering a town with barred gates.” So Saul summoned all the troops for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his fellow men.

Now David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him, so he said to Abiathar the kohen, “Bring the ephod.” 10 Then David said, “Adonai, God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul intends to come to Keilah to destroy the town because of me. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? Adonai God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.”

“He will come down,” Adonai said.

12 Then David asked, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my fellow men into the hand of Saul?”

“They will surrender,” Adonai said.

13 Then David and his fellow men, about 600, got up and left Keilah, and went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he stopped the pursuit. 14 So David stayed in the strongholds of the wilderness, remaining in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.

15 By now David was aware that Saul would come out to seek his life while David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Choresh. 16 Then Saul’s son Jonathan arose and went to David at Choresh and strengthened him in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” he said to him, “because my father Saul will never find you. You will be king over Israel and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul recognizes that.” 18 Again they cut a covenant before Adonai. David remained at Choresh, but Jonathan went home.

19 Then some of the Ziphites went up to Saul in Gibeah, saying, “Isn’t David hiding with us in the strongholds at Choresh, in the hill of Hachilah which is south of Jeshimon? 20 Now therefore, O king, come down whenever it is a desire of your soul to come down—our part will be to deliver him into the king’s hand.”

21 “May you be blessed of Adonai,” Saul said, “for you have taken pity on me. 22 Go now, make more sure, investigate and scout out his place where he usually goes and who has seen him there. For I have been told that he is very cunning. 23 Look around and see in which of all the hiding places he has been hiding, and return to me with certainty, and I will go with you. If he is in the area, I will search him out among all the clans of Judah.” 24 Then they got up and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.

But David and his men were then in the wilderness of Maon in the Arabah, to the south of Jeshimon. 25 So when Saul and his men began the search, David was informed. Then he went down to the rocky area and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. On hearing this, Saul pursued David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Then, while Saul was advancing on one side of the mountain, David and his men were on the other side of the mountain. David was hurrying to elude Saul. Meanwhile Saul and his men were closing-in on David and his men to seize them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have invaded the land!” 28 So Saul had to return from chasing after David, and go to engage the Philistines. Therefore they called that place the Rock of Separation. 29 From there David went up and stayed in the strongholds of En-gedi.

David Spares Saul at En-gedi

24 Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, they told him saying, “Look, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.” So Saul took 3,000 chosen men from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the mountain goats. When he came across the sheepfolds along the way where there was a cave, Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were already sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. So David’s men said to him, “Look, it’s the day Adonai spoke to you about, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, so you may do to him as seems good in your eyes.’” Then David crept and cut off the corner of Saul’s robe stealthily.

But afterward, David’s conscience bothered him for cutting off the edge of Saul’s robe. So he said to his fellow men, “Adonai forbid that I should do such a thing to my lord, Adonai’s anointed, stretching out my hand against him—for he is Adonai’s anointed.” So David persuaded his fellow men with these words and did not let them rise against Saul. Then Saul left the cave and went on his way.

David also rose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out after Saul saying, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and prostrated himself. Then David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to men’s words saying: ‘Look, David intends you harm’? 10 Look, today your own eyes should see how Adonai delivered you today into my hand, in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but my eye had pity on you, and I said: ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is Adonai’s anointed.’ 11 Moreover, my father, see! Yes, look at the corner of your robe in my hand! For in cutting off the corner of your robe, yet not killing you, you should know and realize that there is no evil or rebellion in my hand. I haven’t sinned against you, even though you are lying in wait for my life, to take it. 12 May Adonai judge between me and you, and may Adonai avenge me of you, but my hand will not be against you. 13 As the old proverb goes, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’—but my hand will never be on you. 14 Whom has the king of Israel come after? Who are you chasing? A dead dog? A single flea? 15 May Adonai be judge and decide between me and you! And may He see and plead my cause and vindicate me against you.”

16 Now when David finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son, David?” Then Saul lifted up his voice and wept aloud. 17 Then he said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have done good to me, while I have done evil to you. 18 You’ve told today how well you’ve dealt with me, for Adonai had delivered me up into your hand, yet you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away on a good road? May Adonai reward you with good in return for what you have done to me today. 20 Now behold, I know for certain that you will be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will rise in your hand. 21 Swear now to me by Adonai that you won’t cut off my descendants after me, and that you won’t wipe out my name from my father’s house.” 22 So David swore to Saul. Then Saul went to his home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

Abigail and Foolish Nabal

25 Then Samuel died, and all Israel gathered and lamented him, and buried him at his house in Ramah. David then arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

Now there was a man in Maon, whose business was in Carmel, and the man was so wealthy, he had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. At that time he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The man’s name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was harsh and evil in his dealings. While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep. So David dispatched ten young men, and said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and when you reach Nabal, greet him in my name. Thus you will say: ‘Long life! And shalom to you, shalom to your house and shalom to all that is yours. Now I hear that you have shearers. When your shepherds were with us, we did them no harm and nothing of theirs was missing all the time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore, let the young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. So please, give to your servants and to your son David, whatever you find at hand.’”

David’s young men went and told Nabal all those words in David’s name, and waited. 10 But Nabal answered David’s servants by saying, “Who is David? And who is Jesse’s son? Nowadays there are many slaves each running away from his master. 11 So should I take my bread, my water and my meat that I have cooked for my shearers, and give it to men whom I don’t know where they come from?”

12 So David’s young men turned around and went back. When they came and reported to him all these words, 13 David said to his men, “Everyone buckle on your sword!” So each man buckled on his sword and David also buckled on his sword. About 400 men went up following David, while 200 stayed with the baggage.

14 But one of the young men told Nabal’s wife Abigail saying, “Look, David had sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he spurned them. 15 Yet the men were very good to us. We were not harmed, nor were we missing anything as long as we went about with them while we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time that we were with them tending the sheep. 17 Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for evil is determined against our master and against all his household. But he is such a worthless fellow that no one can speak to him.”

18 Then Abigail hurried and took 200 loaves, two bottles of wine, five dressed sheep, five measures of roasted corn, 100 cakes of raisins, and 200 cakes of figs, and put them on donkeys. 19 Then she said to her young men, “Go on ahead of me—see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 As she was riding on the donkey and going down by the hidden pass of the mountain, behold, David and his men were coming down towards her, so she met them.

21 Now David had been saying, “Surely in vain I’ve guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missing of all that belonged to him—yet he has returned me evil for good. 22 May God do so and even more to David’s enemies if by the morning I leave even one male of all who belong to him!”

23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly dismounted from her donkey, fell before David on her face and bowed down to the ground. 24 As she fell at his feet, she pleaded, “On me, only me, my lord, be the punishment! But please, let your maidservant speak in your ears, and listen to the words of your maidservant. 25 Please my lord, pay no attention to this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he—Nabal[c] is his name and disgraceful folly is with him. But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.

26 “So now my lord, as Adonai lives and as your soul lives, since Adonai has restrained you from shedding blood and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now therefore let your enemies and those who are seeking to harm my lord be as Nabal. 27 Now let this blessing, which your maidservant has brought to my lord, be given to the young men who are accompanying my lord. 28 Please, forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For Adonai will certainly make an enduring house for my lord[d], because my lord is fighting the battles of Adonai. So let no wrongdoing be found in you all your days. 29 If anyone rises to pursue you and seek your life, then let my lord’s life be bound up in the bundle of the living—with Adonai your God. But let the soul of your enemies be hurled away as from the hollow of a sling.

30 “So when Adonai has fulfilled for my lord all the good things that He had spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, 31 then this will not be a stumbling-block for you, or offense of heart to my lord, or needless bloodshed by my lord avenging himself. So when Adonai has dealt graciously with my lord, then remember your handmaid.”

32 Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be Adonai God of Israel, who sent you to meet me this day! 33 Blessed be your discernment, and may you be blessed for keeping me this day from shedding blood, from avenging myself with my own hand. 34 Yet as Adonai God of Israel lives, who restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely not one male of Nabal’s line would have been left alive by the morning light!” 35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, “Go up in shalom to your house. Look, I have listened to your plea and have granted your request.”

36 Then Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was holding a banquet in his house like that of a king—Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was quite drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37 It came to pass in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, and his wife told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he was paralyzed like a stone. 38 About ten days later, Adonai struck Nabal and he died.

39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be Adonai who took the case of my insult from the hand of Nabal, yet has restrained His servant from evil! Adonai has returned Nabal’s vileness on his own head.” Then David sent word and proposed to Abigail to take her as his wife. 40 When David’s servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they told her, “David has sent us to you, to take you as his wife.”

41 So she rose, bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42 Then Abigail rose quickly and mounted a donkey, with five of her maidens following her, following David’s messengers, and she became his wife.

43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and the two of them were his wives. 44 Meanwhile Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti son of Laish, who was of Gallim.

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.

David Settles in Ziklag

27 Then David said in his heart, “One day I’ll be swept away by the hand of Saul. There’s nothing better for me than to escape immediately to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me in all the territories of Israel, so I’ll escape from his hand.” So David rose and crossed over, he and the 600 men that were with him, to Achish son of Maoch, king of Gath. David stayed with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives—Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. So when Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.

Then David said to Achish, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, let me be given a place in one of the country towns, so I may live there. Why should your servant stay in the royal city with you?” So Achish granted him Ziklag that day. Thus Ziklag came to belong to the kings of Judah to this day. The number of days that David stayed in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.

Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Gizrites and the Amalekites, for those were inhabitants of the region from ancient times, as you go all the way from Shur and as far as the land of Egypt. David attacked the region and was leaving not a man or woman alive, and took away sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels and clothing. When he returned and came to Achish, 10 Achish would ask, “Where have you raided today?”

So David would reply, “Against the Negev of Judah, against the Negev of the Jerahmeelite and against the Negev of the Kenites.” 11 David left no man or woman alive to bring to Gath, thinking, “Unless they should tell about us, saying: ‘So did David.’” So was his practice all the time he stayed in the country of the Philistines. 12 Then Achish trusted David, saying, “He has certainly made himself abhorrent to his people Israel; therefore, he will be my vassal forever.”

Saul Consults a Medium

28 At that time, the Philistines gathered their armed forces to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “You surely know that you and your men must march out with me in the army.”

David said to Achish, “Well then, you know what your servant will do.”

“Well then, I appoint you my bodyguard for life,” Achish said to David.

Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah, his hometown. Saul had removed from the land those who were mediums and spiritists.

So the Philistines mustered and came and camped in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped at Gilboa. Now when Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly. When Saul inquired of Adonai, Adonai did not answer, neither by dreams nor by Urim or prophets.

Then Saul said to his courtiers, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go to her and inquire through her.” So his courtiers said to him, “Behold, there is a woman that is a medium at En-dor.” So Saul disguised himself, put on other clothes, and went with two other men, and they reached the woman by night. Then he said, “Please conjure up for me a ghost—bring up for me the one I will name to you.”

“Look, you know what Saul has done,” she said, “how he has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. So why then are you setting a trap for my life to get me killed?”

10 Saul vowed to her by Adonai saying, “As Adonai lives, no punishment will come on you for this thing.”

11 “Whom will I bring up for you?” the woman asked.

“Bring me up Samuel,” he said.

12 But when the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud shriek. Then the woman spoke to Saul saying, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

13 “Don’t be afraid!” the king said to her. “What do you see?”

The woman said to Saul, “I see a godlike being coming up from the earth.”

14 “What does he look like?” he asked her.

“An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe,” she said.

Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, so he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”

“I’m in great distress,” Saul answered. “The Philistines are waging war against me, and God has turned away from me—He doesn’t answer me anymore, whether by prophets or by dreams. So I called you up to tell me what I should do.”

16 Samuel said, “So why ask me, since Adonai has turned away from you and become your adversary? 17 Now Adonai has done for Himself just as He foretold through me—Adonai has torn the kingship out of your hand and has given it to another fellow, to David. 18 Since you did not obey the voice of Adonai and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so Adonai has done this to you today. 19 Moreover, Adonai will also give the Israelites who are with you into the hand of the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me! Yes, Adonai will give the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”

20 Then Saul immediately fell full length upon the ground, and became so terrified because of the words of Samuel that there was absolutely no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. 21 Then the woman came to Saul and saw that he was so agitated, so she told him, “Behold, your maidservant obeyed you; I put my life in my hand by listening to your words, which you spoke to me. 22 Please you too listen to the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a morsel of bread before you, so you can eat and have strength to go on your way.”

23 But he refused and said, “I won’t eat.” But when his courtiers and the woman urged him, he listened to them. So he got up from the ground and sat on the bed. 24 The woman had a fatted calf in the house, so she hurried and butchered it, and took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread from it. 25 She brought it before Saul and his courtiers, and they ate. Then they arose and went away that night.

David Sent Back from Battle

29 Now the Philistines mustered all their armies at Aphek, while the Israelites were camping by the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine lords were proceeding ahead of their hundreds and thousands, David and his men were bringing up the rear with Achish. Then the Philistine commanders said, “What are these Hebrews doing here?”

Achish said to the Philistine commanders, “No! That’s David, servant of Israel’s King Saul—he’s been with me today for over a year, and I’ve not found any fault in him since the day he defected to me until now.”

But the Philistine commanders got angry with him, and the Philistine commanders said to him, “Make this man go back—back to his place you assigned him. He must not go down with us to the battle, or in the battle he might become our adversary. For how would this fellow appease his lord? Wouldn’t it be with the heads of our men? Isn’t this one David, about whom they were singing in dances saying: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?’”

So Achish called David and said to him, “As Adonai lives, you have been upright and your going out and your coming in with me, in the army are pleasing in my eyes. For I never found fault with you since the day of your coming to me up to this day. However, the other lords do not approve of you. So now, turn around and go back in peace, and you won’t be doing anything to displease the Philistine lords.”

“But what have I done?” David said to Achish. “What have you found in your servant from the day I have been before you to this day, that I shouldn’t go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”

“I know,” Achish answered saying to David. “You are as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God. Nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us to the battle.’ 10 So now, rise up early in the morning, you and the servants of your lord that came with you, and as soon you rise, early in the morning, once there is light, leave.” 11 So David rose up early, he and his men, leaving in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. Meanwhile, the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

Raid on Amalek

30 Now it came to pass, when David and his men returned to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag, and had attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire; taking the women in it captive, young and old, without killing anyone, but carried them off as they went their way. So when David and his men came to the town, behold, it was burned with fire—and their wives, their sons and their daughters had been taken captives. Then David and the troops with him lifted up their voice and wept until they there was no more strength in them to weep. Even David’s two wives were taken captive—Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow.

So David was in a serious bind, for the troops were calling for his stoning, for all the troops were bitter of soul, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in Adonai his God. Then David said to Abiathar the kohen son of Ahimelech, “Please bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. David inquired of Adonai saying, “Should I pursue after this raiding band? Shall I overtake them?”

He answered him, “Pursue! For you will surely overtake and you will surely rescue!” So David went, he and the 600 men with him, and came to the Wadi Besor, where those left behind remained— 10 for 200 men stayed behind because they were too exhausted to cross Wadi Besor. Yet David pursued, he and the other 400 men.

11 Then they found an Egyptian in the open field and brought him to David, gave him bread to eat and water to drink, 12 and they also gave him a piece of fig cake and two cakes of raisins. When he had eaten, his spirit came back to him, for he had eaten no bread and drunk no water for three days and three nights. 13 Then David asked him, “To whom do you belong? Where are you from?”

“I am a young Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite,” he said. “My master abandoned me three days ago because I fell sick. 14 We made a raid in the Negev of the Cherethites, and on Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb; also we burned Ziklag with fire.”

15 Then David asked him, “Will you lead me to this raiding band?”

“Swear to me by God that you won’t kill me or deliver me into my master’s hands,” he said, “and I will lead you to this marauding band.” 16 So he led him down, and behold, they were scattered over all the area, eating, drinking and feasting because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17 David attacked them from the twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped, except 400 young men who rode on camels and fled.

18 So David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives. 19 There was nothing of theirs missing, whether young or old, sons or daughters, spoils or anything else that had been carried off—David recovered everything. 20 David took all the flocks and the herd that they had driven ahead of the other cattle, so they said, “This is David’s spoil.”

21 When David reached the 200 men—who had been too exhausted to follow David and were left at Wadi Besor—they came out to meet David and to meet the men with him, so David approached these people and greeted them. 22 But all the wicked men and worthless fellows among those who accompanied David said, “Because they did not accompany us, we shouldn’t give them any of the spoil that we’ve recovered, except every man may take his wife and his children and leave.”

23 “You must not do so, my brothers with what Adonai has given us,” David said. “It is He who has protected us and gave into our hands the raiding band that attacked us. 24 Who would listen to you in this matter? The share of him who went down to the battle is to be the same as that of him who remained by the baggage. They will share alike.” 25 So it has been from that day forward—he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.

26 When David arrived at Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends, saying, “Look, a blessing for you from the spoil of the enemies of Adonai,” 27 to those in Beth-el, Ramoth-Negev, Jattir, 28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 Racal, to those in the towns of Jerahmeelite, to those in the towns of the Kenites, 30 Hormah, Bor-ashan, Athach, 31 Hebron and to all the places where David and his men had roamed.

Saul Killed on Mt. Gilboa

31 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel. Israel’s men fled before the Philistines and many fell slain on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines pressed hard after Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan, Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers hit him, so he was severely wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, or else these uncircumcised will come and thrust me through after torturing me.” But his armor-bearer refused, for he was too afraid. So Saul took the sword and fell on it. When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he likewise fell on his sword and died with him. So Saul, his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all his men died together that same day.

When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the towns and fled. Then the Philistines came and occupied them.

It was the next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. So they cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and sent them throughout the land of the Philistines, to spread the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 10 Then they put his armor in the house of the Ashtaroth and fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.

11 Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men set out and walked all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, then went to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted for seven days.


  1. 1 Samuel 21:5 cf. Matt. 12:3-4.
  2. 1 Samuel 21:7 cf. Luke 6:3-4.
  3. 1 Samuel 25:25 Meaning disgraceful folly.
  4. 1 Samuel 25:28 cf. Luke 1:32-33.
Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.


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