1 Samuel 23-27
English Standard Version
David Saves the City of Keilah
23 Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against (A)Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” 2 Therefore David (B)inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3 But David's men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 Then David (C)inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, (D)for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” 5 And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
6 (E)When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. 7 Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, (F)“Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, (G)“They will surrender you.” 13 Then David and his men, (H)who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went (I)wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. 14 And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country (J)of the wilderness of (K)Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.
Saul Pursues David
15 David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. (L)Saul my father also knows this.” 18 (M)And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
19 (N)Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of (O)Jeshimon? 20 Now come down, O king, according to all your heart's desire to come down, (P)and our part shall be to surrender him into the king's hand.” 21 And Saul said, (Q)“May you be blessed by the Lord, (R)for you have had compassion on me. 22 Go, make yet more sure. Know and see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there, for it is told me that he is very cunning. 23 See therefore and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you. And if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.” 24 And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.
Now David and his men were (S)in the wilderness of Maon, (T)in the Arabah to the south of (U)Jeshimon. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape.[a] 29 [b] And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of (V)Engedi.
David Spares Saul's Life
24 [c] (W)When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took (X)three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats' Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in (Y)to relieve himself.[d] Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts (Z)of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, (AA)“Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 5 And afterward (AB)David's heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 6 He said to his men, (AC)“The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is (AD)the Lord's anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words (AE)and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. (AF)And some told me to kill you, but I spared you.[e] I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, (AG)for he is the Lord's anointed.’ 11 See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that (AH)there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though (AI)you hunt my life to take it. 12 (AJ)May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? (AK)After a dead dog! (AL)After a flea! 15 (AM)May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and (AN)plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”
16 As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, (AO)“Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, (AP)for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18 And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now, behold, (AQ)I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 (AR)Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and (AS)that you will not destroy my name out of my father's house.” 22 And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up (AT)to the stronghold.
The Death of Samuel
David and Abigail
Then David rose and went down to (AY)the wilderness of Paran. 2 And there was a man in (AZ)Maon whose business was in (BA)Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. (BB)He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; (BC)he was a Calebite. 4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal (BD)was shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men. And David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal and greet him in my name. 6 And thus you shall greet him: (BE)‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, (BF)and they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come (BG)on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”
9 When David's young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David, and then they waited. 10 And Nabal answered David's servants, (BH)“Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? (BI)There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. 11 Shall I take (BJ)my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to (BK)men who come from I do not know where?” 12 So David's young men turned away and came back and told him all this. 13 And David said to his men, “Every man strap on his sword!” And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And (BL)about four hundred men went up after David, (BM)while two hundred (BN)remained with the baggage.
14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them. 15 Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, (BO)and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. 16 They were (BP)a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, (BQ)for harm is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is such (BR)a worthless man that one cannot speak to him.”
18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs[f] of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. 19 And she said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 And as she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, behold, David and his men came down toward her, and she met them. 21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, (BS)so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has (BT)returned me evil for good. 22 (BU)God do so to the enemies of David[g] and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.”
23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried (BV)and got down from the donkey (BW)and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, (BX)“On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 25 Let not my lord regard (BY)this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal[h] is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. 26 Now then, my lord, (BZ)as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because (CA)the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from (CB)saving with your own hand, now then (CC)let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now let this (CD)present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the Lord will certainly make my lord (CE)a sure house, because my lord (CF)is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. 29 If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the Lord your God. And the lives of your enemies (CG)he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30 And when the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you and has appointed you prince[i] over Israel, 31 my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord (CH)working salvation himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”
32 And David said to Abigail, (CI)“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, (CJ)who have kept me this day from bloodguilt (CK)and from working salvation with my own hand! 34 For as surely (CL)as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, (CM)who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male.” 35 Then David received from her hand what she had brought him. And he said to her, (CN)“Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition.”
36 And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, (CO)he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal's heart (CP)was merry within him, for he was very drunk. So she told him nothing (CQ)at all until the morning light. 37 In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 38 And about ten days later (CR)the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, (CS)“Blessed be the Lord who has (CT)avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, (CU)and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. (CV)The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and (CW)spoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife. 40 When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.” 41 And she rose (CX)and bowed 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 And Abigail hurried and rose and mounted a donkey, and her five young women attended her. She followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
David Spares Saul Again
26 (DA)Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding himself on the hill of Hachilah, which is on the east of Jeshimon?” 2 So Saul arose and went down to (DB)the wilderness of Ziph with (DC)three thousand chosen men of Israel to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul encamped on the hill of Hachilah, which is beside the road on the east of Jeshimon. But David remained in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness, 4 David sent out spies and learned that Saul had indeed come. 5 Then David rose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, with (DD)Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Saul was lying within (DE)the encampment, while the army was encamped around him.
6 Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Joab's brother (DF)Abishai the son of Zeruiah, (DG)“Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.” 7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night. And there lay Saul sleeping within (DH)the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground (DI)at his head, and Abner and the army lay around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, (DJ)“God has given your enemy into your hand this day. Now please let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.” 9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand (DK)against the Lord's anointed and be guiltless?” 10 And David said, (DL)“As the Lord lives, (DM)the Lord will strike him, or (DN)his day will come to die, (DO)or he will go down into battle and perish. 11 (DP)The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord's anointed. But take now the spear that is (DQ)at his head and the jar of water, and let us go.” 12 So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul's head, and they went away. No man saw it or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because (DR)a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.
13 Then David went over to the other side and stood far off on the top of the hill, with a great space between them. 14 And David called to the army, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Will you not answer, Abner?” Then Abner answered, “Who are you who calls to the king?” 15 And David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept watch over your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy the king your lord. 16 This thing that you have done is not good. (DS)As the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not kept watch over your lord, the Lord's anointed. And now see where the king's spear is and the jar of water that was (DT)at his head.”
17 Saul recognized David's voice and said, (DU)“Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” 18 And he said, (DV)“Why does my lord pursue after his servant? For what have I done? What evil is on my hands? 19 Now therefore let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is the Lord who has stirred you up against me, may he accept an offering, but if it is men, may they be cursed before the Lord, (DW)for they have driven me out this day that I should have no share in (DX)the heritage of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the Lord, for the king of Israel has come out to seek (DY)a single flea like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Then Saul said, (DZ)“I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have acted foolishly, and have made a great mistake.” 22 And David answered and said, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and take it. 23 (EA)The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord's anointed. 24 Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will (EB)succeed in them.” So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.
David Flees to the Philistines
27 Then David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.” 2 So David arose and went over, he and (EC)the six hundred men who were with him, (ED)to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3 And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with (EE)his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow. 4 And when it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer sought him.
5 Then David said to Achish, “If (EF)I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be given me in one of the country towns, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?” 6 So that day Achish gave him (EG)Ziklag. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. 7 (EH)And the number of the days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
8 Now David (EI)and his men went up and made raids against (EJ)the Geshurites, (EK)the Girzites, and (EL)the Amalekites, for these were the inhabitants of the land from of old, (EM)as far as Shur, to the land of Egypt. 9 And David would strike the land and would leave neither man nor woman alive, but would take away the sheep, the oxen, the donkeys, the camels, and the garments, and come back to Achish. 10 When Achish asked, “Where have you (EN)made a raid today?” David would say, “Against the Negeb of Judah,” or, “Against the Negeb of (EO)the Jerahmeelites,” or, “Against the Negeb of (EP)the Kenites.” 11 And David would leave neither man nor woman alive to bring news to Gath, thinking, “lest they should tell about us and say, ‘So David has done.’” Such was his custom all the while he lived in the country of the Philistines. 12 And Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made himself an utter stench to his people Israel; therefore he shall always be my servant.”
- 1 Samuel 23:28 Or Rock of Divisions
- 1 Samuel 23:29 Ch 24:1 in Hebrew
- 1 Samuel 24:1 Ch 24:2 in Hebrew
- 1 Samuel 24:3 Hebrew cover his feet
- 1 Samuel 24:10 Septuagint, Syriac, Targum; Hebrew it [my eye] spared you
- 1 Samuel 25:18 A seah was about 7 quarts or 7.3 liters
- 1 Samuel 25:22 Septuagint to David
- 1 Samuel 25:25 Nabal means fool
- 1 Samuel 25:30 Or leader