1 Samuel 24 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
David Shames Saul
24 After Saul had chased the Philistines away, people told him, “David is in the desert area near En Gedi.”
2 So Saul chose 3000 men from all over Israel and began searching for David and his men. They looked near Wild Goat Rocks. 3 Saul came to some sheep pens beside the road. There was a cave near there, so Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were deep inside that same cave. 4 David’s men told him, “This is day the Lord told you about when he said, ‘I will give your enemy to you, and you can do whatever you want to him.’”
So David crawled closer and closer to Saul and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Saul didn’t notice what happened. 5 Later, David felt bad about what he did. 6 He said to his men, “I pray the Lord never lets me do anything like that to my master again. I must not do anything against Saul, because he is the Lord’s chosen king.[a]” 7 David said these things to stop his men. He would not let his men hurt Saul.
Saul left the cave and went on his way. 8 Later, David came out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!”
Saul looked back. David bowed with his face to the ground to show his respect. 9 David said to Saul, “Why do you listen when people say, ‘David plans to hurt you’? 10 You can see that with your own eyes that is not true. The Lord put you within my grasp today in the cave, but I refused to kill you. I was merciful to you. I said, ‘I won’t hurt my master. Saul is the Lord’s chosen king.’ 11 Look at this piece of cloth in my hand. I cut off the corner of your robe. I could have killed you, but I didn’t. Now, I want you to understand this. I want you to know that I am not planning anything against you. I did nothing wrong to you, but you are hunting me and trying to kill me. 12 Let the Lord be the judge. I hope the Lord will punish you for the wrong you did to me, but I won’t fight you myself. 13 There is an old saying:
‘Bad things come from bad people.’
“I haven’t done anything bad, and I won’t hurt you. 14 Who are you chasing? Did the king of Israel bring an army to chase a single flea or a dying dog? 15 Let the Lord be the judge. Let him decide between you and me. He will support me and show that I am right. He will save me from you.”
16 When David finished speaking, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” Then Saul lifted his voice and began to cry. 17 He said, “You are right, and I am wrong. You were good to me, even though I have been bad to you. 18 You yourself said it when you told me about the good things you did. The Lord put my life in your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 This shows that you are not my enemy. A man doesn’t catch his enemy, and then just let him go. He doesn’t do good things for his enemy. May the Lord reward you for being good to me today. 20 Now, I know that you will become the new king. You will rule the kingdom of Israel. 21 Now make a promise to me with an oath using the Lord’s name. Promise that you will not kill my descendants, even after I die. Promise me that you will not erase my name from my father’s family.”
22 So David made a promise to Saul. He promised that he would not kill Saul’s family. Then Saul went back home. David and his men went back up to the fort.
1 Samuel 24 New International Version (NIV)
David Spares Saul’s Life
24 [a]After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” 2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said[b] to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9 He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.
14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”
16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”
22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.