1 Samuel 26-31
New International Version
David Again Spares Saul’s Life
2 So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search(D) there for David. 3 Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah(E) facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, 4 he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.
5 Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner(F) son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.
“I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.
7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.
8 Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed(J) and be guiltless?(K) 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike(L) him, or his time(M) will come and he will die,(N) or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”
12 So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep.(O)
13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. 14 He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?”
Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?”
15 David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. 16 What you have done is not good. As surely as the Lord lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the Lord’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”
17 Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice,(P) David my son?”
David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18 And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong(Q) am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listen(R) to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering.(S) If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! They have driven me today from my share in the Lord’s inheritance(T) and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’(U) 20 Now do not let my blood(V) fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea(W)—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.(X)”
21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned.(Y) Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious(Z) today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.”
22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord rewards(AA) everyone for their righteousness(AB) and faithfulness. The Lord delivered(AC) you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliver(AD) me from all trouble.”
25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed,(AE) David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”
So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.
David Among the Philistines
27 But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”
2 So David and the six hundred men(AF) with him left and went(AG) over to Achish(AH) son of Maok king of Gath. 3 David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives:(AI) Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal. 4 When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.
5 Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”
8 Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites,(AL) the Girzites and the Amalekites.(AM) (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur(AN) and Egypt.) 9 Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive,(AO) but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.
10 When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel(AP)” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.(AQ)” 11 He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12 Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious(AR) to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.(AS)”
28 In those days the Philistines gathered(AT) their forces to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “You must understand that you and your men will accompany me in the army.”
2 David said, “Then you will see for yourself what your servant can do.”
Achish replied, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard(AU) for life.”
Saul and the Medium at Endor
4 The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem,(AZ) while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa.(BA) 5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror(BB) filled his heart. 6 He inquired(BC) of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him by dreams(BD) or Urim(BE) or prophets.(BF) 7 Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium,(BG) so I may go and inquire of her.”
“There is one in Endor,(BH)” they said.
10 Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.”
11 Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”
“Bring up Samuel,” he said.
12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me?(BM) You are Saul!”
13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”
14 “What does he look like?” he asked.
“An old man wearing a robe(BO) is coming up,” she said.
Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and 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 am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed(BP) from me. He no longer answers(BQ) me, either by prophets or by dreams.(BR) So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”
16 Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn(BS) the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18 Because you did not obey(BT) the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath(BU) against the Amalekites,(BV) the Lord has done this to you today. 19 The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons(BW) will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”
20 Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and all that night.
21 When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life(BX) in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22 Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”
23 He refused(BY) and said, “I will not eat.”
But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch.
24 The woman had a fattened calf(BZ) at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast. 25 Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.
Achish Sends David Back to Ziklag
29 The Philistines gathered(CA) all their forces at Aphek,(CB) and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel.(CC) 2 As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear(CD) with Achish. 3 The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?”
Achish replied, “Is this not David,(CE) who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year,(CF) and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.”
4 But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send(CG) the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn(CH) against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men? 5 Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances:
“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands’?”(CI)
6 So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the Lord lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day(CJ) you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers(CK) don’t approve of you. 7 Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”
8 “But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?”
9 Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel(CL) of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders(CM) have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’ 10 Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave(CN) in the morning as soon as it is light.”
11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
David Destroys the Amalekites
30 David and his men reached Ziklag(CO) on the third day. Now the Amalekites(CP) had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned(CQ) it, 2 and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.(CR) 4 So David and his men wept(CS) aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives(CT) had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning(CU) him; each one was bitter(CV) in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength(CW) in the Lord his God.
7 Then David said to Abiathar(CX) the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.(CY)” Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired(CZ) of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?”
9 David and the six hundred men(DC) with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. 10 Two hundred of them were too exhausted(DD) to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit.
11 They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat— 12 part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived,(DE) for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.
13 David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?”
He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite.(DF) My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. 14 We raided the Negev of the Kerethites,(DG) some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb.(DH) And we burned(DI) Ziklag.”
15 David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?”
He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master,(DJ) and I will take you down to them.”
16 He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling(DK) because of the great amount of plunder(DL) they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah. 17 David fought(DM) them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled.(DN) 18 David recovered(DO) everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 20 He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.”
21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted(DP) to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were. 22 But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.”
23 David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. 24 Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.(DQ)” 25 David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this.
26 When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, “Here is a gift(DR) for you from the plunder of the Lord’s enemies.”
27 David sent it to those who were in Bethel,(DS) Ramoth(DT) Negev and Jattir;(DU) 28 to those in Aroer,(DV) Siphmoth,(DW) Eshtemoa(DX) 29 and Rakal; to those in the towns of the Jerahmeelites(DY) and the Kenites;(DZ) 30 to those in Hormah,(EA) Bor Ashan,(EB) Athak 31 and Hebron;(EC) and to those in all the other places where he and his men had roamed.
Saul Takes His Life(ED)
31 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell dead on Mount Gilboa.(EE) 2 The Philistines were in hot pursuit of Saul and his sons,(EF) and they killed his sons Jonathan,(EG) Abinadab and Malki-Shua.(EH) 3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded(EI) him critically.
But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him. 6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died(EL) together that same day.
7 When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them.
8 The next day, when the Philistines(EM) came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9 They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news(EN) in the temple of their idols and among their people.(EO) 10 They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths(EP) and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.(EQ)
11 When the people of Jabesh Gilead(ER) heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all their valiant men(ES) marched through the night to Beth Shan. They took down the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth Shan and went to Jabesh, where they burned(ET) them. 13 Then they took their bones(EU) and buried them under a tamarisk(EV) tree at Jabesh, and they fasted(EW) seven days.(EX)
- 1 Samuel 28:13 Or see spirits; or see gods