1 Samuel 26-28 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
David Again Spares Saul
26 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, “David is hiding on the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon.” 2 So Saul, accompanied by three thousand of the fit young men of Israel, went immediately to the Wilderness of Ziph to search for David there. 3 Saul camped beside the road at the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon. David was living in the wilderness and discovered Saul had come there after him. 4 So David sent out spies and knew for certain that Saul had come. 5 Immediately, David went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of his army, were lying down. Saul was lying inside the inner circle of the camp with the troops camped around him. 6 Then David asked Ahimelech the Hethite and Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, “Who will go with me into the camp to Saul?”
“I’ll go with you,” answered Abishai.
7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be innocent?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 However, because of the Lord, I will never lift my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let’s go.”
12 So David took the spear and the water jug by Saul’s head, and they went their way. No one saw them, no one knew, and no one woke up; they all remained asleep because a deep sleep from the Lord came over them. 13 David crossed to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance; there was a considerable space between them. 14 Then David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner: “Aren’t you going to answer, Abner?”
“Who are you who calls to the king?” Abner asked.
15 David called to Abner, “You’re a man, aren’t you? Who in Israel is your equal? So why didn’t you protect your lord the king when one of the people came to destroy him? 16 What you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, all of you deserve to die[a] since you didn’t protect your lord, the Lord’s anointed. Now look around; where are the king’s spear and water jug that were by his head?”
17 Saul recognized David’s voice and asked, “Is that your voice, my son David?”
“It is my voice, my lord and king,” David said. 18 Then he continued, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What crime have I committed? 19 Now, may my lord the king please hear the words of his servant: If it is the Lord who has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. But if it is people, may they be cursed in the presence of the Lord, for today they have banished me from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord saying, ‘Go and worship other gods.’ 20 So don’t let my blood fall to the ground far from the Lord’s presence, for the king of Israel has come out to search for a single flea, like one who pursues a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Saul responded, “I have sinned. Come back, my son David, I will never harm you again because today you considered my life precious. I have been a fool! I’ve committed a grave error.”
22 David answered, “Here is the king’s spear; have one of the young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord will repay every man for his righteousness and his loyalty. I wasn’t willing to lift my hand against the Lord’s anointed, even though the Lord handed you over to me today. 24 Just as I considered your life valuable today, so may the Lord consider my life valuable and rescue me from all trouble.”
25 Saul said to him, “You are blessed, my son David. You will certainly do great things and will also prevail.” Then David went on his way, and Saul returned home.
David Flees to Ziklag
27 David said to himself, “One of these days I’ll be swept away by Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape immediately to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me everywhere in Israel, and I’ll escape from him.” 2 So David set out with his six hundred men and went over to Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath. 3 David and his men stayed with Achish in Gath. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal’s widow. 4 When it was reported to Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.
5 Now David said to Achish, “If I have found favor with you, let me be given a place in one of the outlying towns, so I can live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” 6 That day Achish gave Ziklag to him, and it still belongs to the kings of Judah today. 7 The length of time that David stayed in Philistine territory amounted to a year and four months.
8 David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites,[b] and the Amalekites. From ancient times they had been the inhabitants of the region through Shur as far as the land of Egypt. 9 Whenever David attacked the land, he did not leave a single person alive, either man or woman, but he took flocks, herds, donkeys, camels, and clothing. Then he came back to Achish, 10 who inquired, “Where did you raid today?” [c]
David replied, “The south country of Judah,” “The south country of the Jerahmeelites,” or “The south country of the Kenites.”
11 David did not let a man or woman live to be brought to Gath, for he said, “Or they will inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” This was David’s custom during the whole time he stayed in the Philistine territory. 12 So Achish trusted David, thinking, “Since he has made himself repulsive to his people Israel, he will be my servant forever.”
Saul and the Medium
28 At that time, the Philistines gathered their military units into one army to fight against Israel. So Achish said to David, “You know, of course, that you and your men must march out in the army[d] with me.”
2 David replied to Achish, “Good, you will find out what your servant can do.”
So Achish said to David, “Very well, I will appoint you as my permanent bodyguard.”
3 By this time Samuel had died, all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his city, and Saul had removed the mediums and spiritists from the land. 4 The Philistines gathered and camped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel, and they camped at Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the Philistine camp, he was afraid and his heart pounded. 6 He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him in dreams or by the Urim or by the prophets. 7 Saul then said to his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I can go and consult her.”
His servants replied, “There is a woman at En-dor who is a medium.”
8 Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes and set out with two of his men. They came to the woman at night, and Saul said, “Consult a spirit for me. Bring up for me the one I tell you.”
9 But the woman said to him, “You surely know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you setting a trap for me to get me killed?”
10 Then Saul swore to her by the Lord: “As surely as the Lord lives, no punishment will come to you[e] from this.”
11 “Who is it that you want me to bring up for you?” the woman asked.
“Bring up Samuel for me,” he answered.
12 When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, and then she asked Saul, “Why did you deceive me? You are Saul!”
13 But the king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”
“I see a spirit form[f] coming up out of the earth,” the woman answered.
14 Then Saul asked her, “What does he look like?”
“An old man is coming up,” she replied. “He’s wearing a robe.” Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he knelt low with his face to the ground and paid homage.
15 “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Samuel asked Saul.
“I’m in serious trouble,” replied Saul. “The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me. He doesn’t answer me anymore, either through the prophets or in dreams. So I’ve called on you to tell me what I should do.”
16 Samuel answered, “Since the Lord has turned away from you and has become your enemy, why are you asking me? 17 The Lord has done[g] exactly what he said through me: The Lord has torn the kingship out of your hand and given it to your neighbor David. 18 You did not obey the Lord and did not carry out his burning anger against Amalek; therefore the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will also hand Israel over to the Philistines along with you. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me,[h] and the Lord will hand Israel’s army over to the Philistines.”
20 Immediately, Saul fell flat on the ground. He was terrified by Samuel’s words and was also weak because he had not eaten anything all day and all night. 21 The woman came over to Saul, and she saw that he was terrified and said to him, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22 Now please listen to your servant. Let me set some food in front of you. Eat and it will give you strength so you can go on your way.”
23 He refused, saying, “I won’t eat,” but when his servants and the woman urged him, he listened to them. He got up off the ground and sat on the bed.
24 The woman had a fattened calf at her house, and she quickly slaughtered it. She also took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread. 25 She served it to Saul and his servants, and they ate. Afterward, they got up and left that night.