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1 Samuel 28-31 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

28 In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war, to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, ‘You know, of course, that you and your men are to go out with me in the army.’ David said to Achish, ‘Very well, then you shall know what your servant can do.’ Achish said to David, ‘Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.’

Saul Consults a Medium

Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. Saul had expelled the mediums and the wizards from the land. The Philistines assembled, and came and encamped at Shunem. Saul gathered all Israel, and they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, not by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, so that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ His servants said to him, ‘There is a medium at Endor.’

So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes and went there, he and two men with him. They came to the woman by night. And he said, ‘Consult a spirit for me, and bring up for me the one whom I name to you.’ The woman said to him, ‘Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the wizards from the land. Why then are you laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?’ 10 But Saul swore to her by the Lord, ‘As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing.’ 11 Then the woman said, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?’ He answered, ‘Bring up Samuel for me.’ 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman said to Saul, ‘Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!’ 13 The king said to her, ‘Have no fear; what do you see?’ The woman said to Saul, ‘I see a divine being[a] coming up out of the ground.’ 14 He said to her, ‘What is his appearance?’ She said, ‘An old man is coming up; he is wrapped in a robe.’ So Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.

15 Then Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?’ Saul answered, ‘I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams; so I have summoned you to tell me what I should do.’ 16 Samuel said, ‘Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you just as he spoke by me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand, and given it to your neighbour David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord, and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you today. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines; and tomorrow you and your sons shall 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 the words of Samuel; and there was no strength in him, for he had eaten nothing all day and all night. 21 The woman came to Saul, and when she saw that he was terrified, she said to him, ‘Your servant has listened to you; I have taken my life in my hand, and have listened to what you have said to me. 22 Now therefore, you also listen to your servant; let me set a morsel of bread before you. Eat, that you may have strength when you go on your way.’ 23 He refused, and said, ‘I will not eat.’ But his servants, together with the woman, urged him; and he listened to their words. So he got up from the ground and sat on the bed. 24 Now the woman had a fatted calf in the house. She quickly slaughtered it, and she took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened cakes. 25 She put them before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they rose and went away that night.

The Philistines Reject David

29 Now the Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, while the Israelites were encamped by the fountain that is in Jezreel. As the lords of the Philistines were marching on by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were marching in the rear with Achish, the commanders of the Philistines said, ‘What are these Hebrews doing here?’ Achish said to the commanders of the Philistines, ‘Is this not David, the servant of King Saul of Israel, who has been with me now for days and years? Since he deserted to me I have found no fault in him to this day.’ But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him; and the commanders of the Philistines said to him, ‘Send the man back, so that he may return to the place that you have assigned to him; he shall not go down with us to battle, or else he may become an adversary to us in the battle. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here? Is this not David, of whom they sing to one another in dances,

“Saul has killed his thousands,
    and David his tens of thousands”?’

Then Achish called David and said to him, ‘As the Lord lives, you have been honest, and to me it seems right that you should march out and in with me in the campaign; for I have found nothing wrong in you from the day of your coming to me until today. Nevertheless the lords do not approve of you. So go back now; and go peaceably; do nothing to displease the lords of the Philistines.’ David said to Achish, ‘But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day I entered your service until now, that I should not go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?’ Achish replied to David, ‘I know that you are as blameless in my sight as an angel of God; nevertheless, the commanders of the Philistines have said, “He shall not go up with us to the battle.” 10 Now then rise early in the morning, you and the servants of your lord who came with you, and go to the place that I appointed for you. As for the evil report, do not take it to heart, for you have done well before me.[b] Start early in the morning, and leave as soon as you have light.’ 11 So David set out with his men early in the morning, to return to the land of the Philistines. But the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

David Avenges the Destruction of Ziklag

30 Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid on the Negeb and on Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag, burned it down, and taken captive the women and all[c] who were in it, both small and great; they killed none of them, but carried them off, and went on their way. When David and his men came to the city, they found it burnt down, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept, until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was in great danger; for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in spirit for their sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, ‘Bring me the ephod.’ So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. David inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall I pursue this band? Shall I overtake them?’ He answered him, ‘Pursue; for you shall surely overtake and shall surely rescue.’ So David set out, he and the six hundred men who were with him. They came to the Wadi Besor, where those stayed who were left behind. 10 But David went on with the pursuit, he and four hundred men; two hundred stayed behind, too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor.

11 In the open country they found an Egyptian, and brought him to David. They gave him bread and he ate; they gave him water to drink; 12 they also gave him a piece of fig cake and two clusters of raisins. When he had eaten, his spirit revived; for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13 Then David said to him, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you from?’ He said, ‘I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite. My master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago. 14 We had made a raid on the Negeb of the Cherethites and on that which belongs to Judah and on the Negeb of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag down.’ 15 David said to him, ‘Will you take me down to this raiding party?’ He said, ‘Swear to me by God that you will not kill me, or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.’

16 When he had taken him down, they were spread out all over the ground, eating and drinking and dancing, because of the great amount of spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 17 David attacked them from twilight until the evening of the next day. Not one of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled. 18 David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken; and David rescued his two wives. 19 Nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken; David brought back everything. 20 David also captured all the flocks and herds, which were driven ahead of the other cattle; people said, ‘This is David’s spoil.’

21 Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow David, and who had been left at the Wadi Besor. They went out to meet David and to meet the people who were with him. When David drew near to the people he saluted them. 22 Then all the corrupt and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said, ‘Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except that each man may take his wife and children, and leave.’ 23 But David said, ‘You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us; he has preserved us and handed over to us the raiding party that attacked us. 24 Who would listen to you in this matter? For the share of the one who goes down into the battle shall be the same as the share of the one who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike.’ 25 From that day forward he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel; it continues to the present day.

26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, ‘Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the Lord’; 27 it was for those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negeb, in Jattir, 28 in Aroer, in Siphmoth, in Eshtemoa, 29 in Racal, in the towns of the Jerahmeelites, in the towns of the Kenites, 30 in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, in Athach, 31 in Hebron, all the places where David and his men had roamed.

The Death of Saul and His Sons

31 Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and many fell[d] on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. The battle pressed hard upon Saul; the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by them. Then Saul said to his armour-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and thrust me through with it, so that these uncircumcised may not come and thrust me through, and make sport of me.’ But his armour-bearer was unwilling; for he was terrified. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. When his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. So Saul and his three sons and his armour-bearer and all his men died together on the same day. When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley and those beyond the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their towns and fled; and the Philistines came and occupied them.

The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They cut off his head, stripped off his armour, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to the houses of their idols and to the people. 10 They put his armour in the temple of Astarte;[e] and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan. 11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12 all the valiant men set out, travelled all night long, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan. They came to Jabesh and burned them there. 13 Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 28:13 Or a god; or gods
  2. 1 Samuel 29:10 Gk: Heb lacks and go to the place . . . done well before me
  3. 1 Samuel 30:2 Gk: Heb lacks and all
  4. 1 Samuel 31:1 Heb and they fell slain
  5. 1 Samuel 31:10 Heb plural
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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