Bible: 1 Samuel 18-31

Saul Comes to Fear David

18:1 When David 1  had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan and David became bound together in close friendship. 2  Jonathan loved David as much as he did his own life. 3  18:2 Saul retained David 4  on that day and did not allow him to return to his father’s house. 18:3 Jonathan made a covenant with David, for he loved him as much as he did his own life. 5  18:4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with the rest of his gear, including his sword, his bow, and even his belt.

18:5 On every mission on which Saul sent him, David achieved success. So Saul appointed him over the men of war. This pleased not only all the army, but also Saul’s servants. 6 

18:6 When the men 7  arrived after David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women from all the cities of Israel came out singing and dancing to meet King Saul. They were happy as they played their tambourines and three-stringed instruments. 8  18:7 The women who were playing the music sang,

Saul has struck down his thousands,

but David his tens of thousands!

18:8 This made Saul very angry. The statement displeased him and he thought, 9 They have attributed to David tens of thousands, but to me they have attributed only thousands. What does he lack, except the kingdom? 18:9 So Saul was keeping an eye on David from that day onward.

18:10 The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul and he prophesied within his house. Now David was playing the lyre 10  that day. There was a spear in Saul’s hand, 18:11 and Saul threw the spear, thinking, “I’ll nail David to the wall!” But David escaped from him on two different occasions.

18:12 So Saul feared David, because the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. 18:13 Saul removed David 11  from his presence and made him a commanding officer. 12  David led the army out to battle and back. 13  18:14 Now David achieved success in all he did, 14  for the Lord was with him. 18:15 When Saul saw how very successful he was, he was afraid of him. 18:16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he was the one leading them out to battle and back.

18:17 15 

Then Saul said to David, “Here’s my oldest daughter, Merab. I want to give her to you in marriage. Only be a brave warrior 16  for me and fight the battles of the Lord.” For Saul thought, “There’s no need for me to raise my hand against him. Let it be the hand of the Philistines!

18:18 David said to Saul, “Who am I? Who are my relatives or the clan of my father 17  in Israel that I should become the king’s son-in-law? 18:19 When the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she instead was given in marriage to Adriel, who was from Meholah.

18:20 Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. When they told Saul about this, it 18  pleased him. 18:21 Saul said, “I will give her to him so that she may become a snare to him and the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Today is the second time for you to become my son-in-law.” 19 

18:22 Then Saul instructed his servants, “Tell David secretly, ‘The king is pleased with you, and all his servants like you. So now become the king’s son-in-law.” 18:23 So Saul’s servants spoke these words privately 20  to David. David replied, “Is becoming the king’s son-in-law something insignificant to you? I’m just a poor and lightly-esteemed man!

18:24 When Saul’s servants reported what David had said, 18:25 Saul replied, “Here is what you should say to David: ‘There is nothing that the king wants as a price for the bride except a hundred Philistine foreskins, so that he can be avenged of his 21  enemies.’” (Now Saul was thinking that he could kill David by the hand of the Philistines.)

18:26 So his servants told David these things and David agreed 22  to become the king’s son-in-law. Now the specified time had not yet expired 23  18:27 when David, along with his men, went out 24  and struck down two hundred Philistine men. David brought their foreskins and presented all of them to the king so he could become the king’s son-in-law. Saul then gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.

18:28 When Saul realized 25  that the Lord was with David and that his 26  daughter Michal loved David, 27  18:29 Saul became even more afraid of him. 28  Saul continued to be at odds with David from then on. 29  18:30 30  Then the leaders of the Philistines would march out, and as often as they did so, David achieved more success than all of Saul’s servants. His name was held in high esteem.

Saul Repeatedly Attempts to Take David’s Life

19:1 Then Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. But Saul’s son Jonathan liked David very much. 31  19:2 So Jonathan told David, “My father Saul is trying 32  to kill you. So be careful tomorrow morning. Find 33  a hiding place and stay in seclusion. 34  19:3 I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are. I will speak about you to my father. When I find out what the problem is, 35  I will let you know.”

19:4 So Jonathan spoke on David’s behalf 36  to his father Saul. He said to him, “The king should not sin against his servant David, for he has not sinned against you. On the contrary, his actions have been very beneficial 37  for you. 19:5 He risked his life 38  when he struck down the Philistine and the Lord gave all Israel a great victory. When you saw it, you were happy. So why would you sin against innocent blood by putting David to death for no reason?

19:6 Saul accepted Jonathan’s advice 39  and took an oath, “As surely as the Lord lives, he will not be put to death.” 19:7 Then Jonathan called David and told him all these things. Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he served him as he had done formerly. 40 

19:8 Now once again there was war. So David went out to fight the Philistines. He defeated them thoroughly 41  and they ran away from him. 19:9 Then an evil spirit from the Lord came upon 42  Saul. He was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand, while David was playing the lyre. 43  19:10 Saul tried to nail David to the wall with the spear, but he escaped from Saul’s presence and the spear drove into the wall. 44  David escaped quickly 45  that night.

19:11 Saul sent messengers to David’s house to guard it and to kill him in the morning. Then David’s wife Michal told him, “If you do not save yourself 46  tonight, tomorrow you will be dead! 19:12 So Michal lowered David through the window, and he ran away and escaped.

19:13 Then Michal took a household idol 47  and put it on the bed. She put a quilt 48  made of goat’s hair over its head 49  and then covered the idol with a garment. 19:14 When Saul sent messengers to arrest David, she said, “He’s sick.”

19:15 Then Saul sent the messengers back to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me on his bed so I can kill him.” 19:16 When the messengers came, they found only the idol on the bed and the quilt made of goat’s hair at its head.

19:17 Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me this way by sending my enemy away? Now he has escaped!” Michal replied to Saul, “He said to me, ‘Help me get away or else I will kill you!’ 50 

19:18 Now David had run away and escaped. He went to Samuel in Ramah and told him everything that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went and stayed at Naioth. 19:19 It was reported to Saul saying, “David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 19:20 So Saul sent messengers to capture David. When they saw a company of prophets prophesying with Samuel standing there as their leader, the spirit of God came upon Saul’s messengers, and they also prophesied. 19:21 When it was reported to Saul, he sent more messengers, but they prophesied too. So Saul sent messengers a third time, but they also prophesied. 19:22 Finally Saul 51  himself went to Ramah. When he arrived at the large cistern that is in Secu, he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” They said, “At Naioth in Ramah.”

19:23 So Saul went to Naioth in Ramah. The Spirit of God came upon him as well, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 19:24 He even stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel. He lay there 52  naked all that day and night. (For that reason it is asked, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”)

Jonathan Seeks to Protect David

20:1 David fled from Naioth in Ramah. He came to Jonathan and asked, 53  “What have I done? What is my offense? 54  How have I sinned before your father? For he is seeking my life!

20:2 Jonathan 55  said to him, “By no means are you going to die! My father does nothing 56  large or small without making me aware of it. 57  Why would my father hide this matter from me? It just won’t happen!

20:3 Taking an oath, David again 58  said, “Your father is very much aware of the fact 59  that I have found favor with you, and he has thought, 60 Don’t let Jonathan know about this, or he will be upset.’ But as surely as the Lord lives and you live, there is about one step between me and death! 20:4 Jonathan replied to David, “Tell me what I can do for you.” 61 

20:5 David said to Jonathan, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and I am certainly expected to join the king for a meal. 62  You must send me away so I can hide in the field until the third evening from now. 20:6 If your father happens to miss me, you should say, ‘David urgently requested me to let him go 63  to his city Bethlehem, 64  for there is an annual sacrifice there for his entire family.’ 20:7 If he should then say, ‘That’s fine,’ 65  then your servant is safe. But if he becomes very angry, be assured that he has decided to harm me. 66  20:8 You must be loyal 67  to your servant, for you have made a covenant with your servant in the Lord’s name. 68  If I am guilty, 69  you yourself kill me! Why bother taking me to your father?

20:9 Jonathan said, “Far be it from you to suggest this! If I were at all aware that my father had decided to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you about it? 20:10 David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly? 20:11 Jonathan said to David, “Come on. Let’s go out to the field.”

When the two of them had gone out into the field, 20:12 Jonathan said to David, “The Lord God of Israel is my witness. 70  I will feel out my father about this time the day after tomorrow. If he is favorably inclined toward David, will I not then send word to you and let you know? 71  20:13 But if my father intends to do you harm, may the Lord do all this and more to Jonathan, if I don’t let you know 72  and send word to you so you can go safely on your way. 73  May the Lord be with you, as he was with my father. 20:14 While I am still alive, extend to me the loyalty of the Lord, or else I will die! 20:15 Don’t ever cut off your loyalty to my family, not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth 20:16 and called David’s enemies to account.” So Jonathan made a covenant 74  with the house of David. 75  20:17 Jonathan once again took an oath with David, because he loved him. In fact Jonathan loved him as much as he did his own life. 76  20:18 Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and you will be missed, for your seat will be empty. 20:19 On the third day 77  you should go down quickly 78  and come to the place where you hid yourself the day this all started. 79  Stay near the stone Ezel. 20:20 I will shoot three arrows near it, as though I were shooting at a target. 20:21 When I send a boy after them, I will say, “Go and find the arrows.” If I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; 80  get them,’ then come back. For as surely as the Lord lives, you will be safe and there will no problem. 20:22 But if I say to the boy, “Look, the arrows are on the other side of you,’ 81  get away. For in that case the Lord has sent you away. 20:23 With regard to the matter that you and I discussed, the Lord is the witness between us forever!” 82 

20:24 So David hid in the field. When the new moon came, the king sat down to eat his meal. 20:25 The king sat down in his usual place by the wall, with Jonathan opposite him 83  and Abner at his side. 84  But David’s place was vacant. 20:26 However, Saul said nothing about it 85  that day, for he thought, 86 Something has happened to make him ceremonially unclean. Yes, he must be unclean.” 20:27 But the next morning, the second day of the new moon, David’s place was still vacant. So Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why has Jesse’s son not come to the meal yesterday or today?

20:28 Jonathan replied to Saul, “David urgently requested that he be allowed to go to Bethlehem. 20:29 He said, ‘Permit me to go, 87  for we are having a family sacrifice in the city, and my brother urged 88  me to be there. So now, if I have found favor with you, let me go 89  to see my brothers.’ For that reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

20:30 Saul became angry with Jonathan 90  and said to him, “You stupid traitor! 91  Don’t I realize that to your own disgrace and to the disgrace of your mother’s nakedness you have chosen this son of Jesse? 20:31 For as long as 92  this son of Jesse is alive on the earth, you and your kingdom will not be established. Now, send some men 93  and bring him to me. For he is as good as dead! 94 

20:32 Jonathan responded to his father Saul, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done? 20:33 Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan 95  in order to strike him down. So Jonathan was convinced 96  that his father had decided to kill David. 20:34 Jonathan got up from the table enraged. He did not eat any food on that second day of the new moon, for he was upset that his father had humiliated David. 97 

20:35 The next morning Jonathan, along with a young servant, went out to the field to meet David. 20:36 He said to his servant, “Run, find the arrows that I am about to shoot.” As the servant ran, Jonathan 98  shot the arrow beyond him. 20:37 When the servant came to the place where Jonathan had shot the arrow, Jonathan called out to 99  the servant, “Isn’t the arrow further beyond you? 20:38 Jonathan called out to the servant, “Hurry! Go faster! Don’t delay!” Jonathan’s servant retrieved the arrow and came back to his master. 20:39 (Now the servant did not understand any of this. Only Jonathan and David knew what was going on.) 100  20:40 Then Jonathan gave his equipment to the servant who was with him. He said to him, “Go, take these things back to the city.”

20:41 When the servant had left, David got up from beside the mound, 101  knelt 102  with his face to the ground, and bowed three times. Then they kissed each other and they both wept, especially David. 20:42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for the two of us have sworn together in the name of the Lord saying, ‘The Lord will be between me and you and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’”

103 

Then David 104  got up and left, while Jonathan went back to the city. 21:1 David went to Ahimelech the priest in Nob. Ahimelech was shaking with fear when he met 105  David, and said to him, “Why are you by yourself with no one accompanying you? 21:2 David replied to Ahimelech the priest, “The king instructed me to do something, but he said to me, ‘Don’t let anyone know the reason I am sending you or the instructions I have given you.’ 106  I have told my soldiers 107  to wait at a certain place. 108  21:3 Now what do you have at your disposal? 109  Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.”

21:4 The priest replied to David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread at my disposal. Only holy bread is available, and then only if your soldiers 110  have abstained from sexual relations with women.” 111  21:5 David said to the priest, “Certainly women have been kept away from us, just as on previous occasions when I have set out. The soldiers 112  equipment is holy, even on an ordinary journey. How much more so will they be holy today, along with their equipment!

21:6 So the priest gave him holy bread, for there was no bread there other than the bread of the Presence. It had been removed from before the Lord in order to replace it with hot bread on the day it had been taken away. 21:7 (One of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, who was in charge of Saul’s shepherds.) 21:8 David said to Ahimelech, “Is there no sword or spear here at your disposal? I don’t have my own sword or equipment in hand due to the urgency of the king’s instructions.”

David Goes to Gath

21:9 The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the valley of Elah, is wrapped in a garment behind the ephod. If you wish, take it for yourself. Other than that, there’s nothing here.” David said, “There’s nothing like it! Give it to me! 21:10 So on that day David arose and fled from Saul. He went to King Achish of Gath. 21:11 The servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one that they sing about when they dance, saying,

Saul struck down his thousands,

But David his tens of thousands?

21:12 David thought about what they said 113  and was very afraid of King Achish of Gath. 21:13 He altered his behavior in their presence. 114  Since he was in their power, 115  he pretended to be insane, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting his saliva run down his beard.

21:14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at this madman! Why did you bring him to me? 21:15 Do I have a shortage of fools, that you have brought me this man to display his insanity in front of me? Should this man enter my house?

David Goes to Adullam and Mizpah

22:1 So David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of his father’s family 116  learned about it, they went down there to him. 22:2 All those who were in trouble or owed someone money or were discontented 117  gathered around 118  him, and he became their leader. He had about four hundred men with him.

22:3 Then David went from there to Mizpah in Moab, where he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother stay 119  with you until I know what God is going to do for me.” 22:4 So he had them stay with the king of Moab; they stayed with him the whole time 120  that David was in the stronghold. 22:5 Then Gad the prophet said to David, “Don’t stay in the stronghold. Go to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

Saul Executes the Priests

22:6 But Saul found out the whereabouts of David and the men who were with him. 121  Now Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree at an elevated location with his spear in hand and all his servants stationed around him. 22:7 Saul said to his servants who were stationed around him, “Listen up, you Benjaminites! Is Jesse’s son giving fields and vineyards to all of you? Or is he making all of you 122  commanders and officers? 123  22:8 For all of you have conspired against me! No one informs me 124  when my own son makes an agreement with this son of Jesse! Not one of you feels sorry for me or informs me that my own son has commissioned my own servant to hide in ambush against me, as is the case today!

22:9 But Doeg the Edomite, who had stationed himself with the servants of Saul, replied, “I saw this son of Jesse come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. 22:10 He inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions. He also gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

22:11 Then the king arranged for a meeting with the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and all the priests of his father’s house who were at Nob. They all came to the king. 22:12 Then Saul said, “Listen, son of Ahitub.” He replied, “Here I am, my lord.” 22:13 Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and this son of Jesse? You gave 125  him bread and a sword and inquired of God on his behalf, so that he opposes 126  me and waits in ambush, as is the case today!

22:14 Ahimelech replied to the king, “Who among all your servants is faithful like David? He is the king’s son-in-law, the leader of your bodyguard, and honored in your house! 22:15 Was it just today that I began to inquire of God on his behalf? Far be it from me! The king should not accuse 127  his servant or any of my father’s house. For your servant is not aware of all this – not in whole or in part! 128 

22:16 But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house! 22:17 Then the king said to the messengers 129  who were stationed beside him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, for they too have sided 130  with David! They knew he was fleeing, but they did not inform me.” But the king’s servants refused to harm 131  the priests of the Lord.

22:18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests. He killed on that day eighty-five 132  men who wore the linen ephod. 22:19 As for Nob, the city of the priests, he struck down with the sword men and women, children and infants, oxen, donkeys, and sheep – all with the sword.

22:20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub escaped and fled to David. His name was Abiathar. 22:21 Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22:22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew that day when Doeg the Edomite was there that he would certainly tell Saul! I am guilty 133  of all the deaths in your father’s house! 22:23 Stay with me. Don’t be afraid! Whoever 134  seeks my life is seeking your life as well. You are secure with me.”

David Delivers the City of Keilah

23:1 They told David, “The Philistines are fighting in Keilah and are looting the threshing floors.” 23:2 So David asked the Lord, “Should I go and strike down these Philistines?” The Lord said to David, “Go, strike down the Philistines and deliver Keilah.”

23:3 But David’s men said to him, “We are afraid while we are still here in Judah! What will it be like if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 23:4 So David asked the Lord once again. But again the Lord replied, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.”

23:5 So David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines. He took away their cattle and thoroughly defeated them. 135  David delivered the inhabitants of Keilah.

David Eludes Saul Again

23:6 Now when Abiathar son of Ahimelech had fled to David at Keilah, he had brought with him an ephod. 136  23:7 When Saul was told that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has delivered 137  him into my hand, for he has boxed himself into a corner by entering a city with two barred gates.” 138  23:8 So Saul mustered all his army to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men. 139 

23:9 When David realized that Saul was planning to harm him, 140  he told Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod! 23:10 Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, your servant has clearly heard that Saul is planning 141  to come to Keilah to destroy the city because of me. 23:11 Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, please inform your servant!”

Then the Lord said, “He will come down.” 23:12 David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me and my men into Saul’s hand?” The Lord said, “They will deliver you over.”

23:13 So David and his men, who numbered about six hundred, set out and left Keilah; they moved around from one place to another. 142  When told that David had escaped from Keilah, Saul called a halt to his expedition. 23:14 David stayed in the strongholds that were in the desert and in the hill country of the desert of Ziph. Saul looked for him all the time, 143  but God did not deliver David 144  into his hand. 23:15 David realized 145  that Saul had come out to seek his life; at that time David was in Horesh in the desert of Ziph.

23:16 Then Jonathan son of Saul left and went to David at Horesh. He encouraged him 146  through God. 23:17 He said to him, “Don’t be afraid! For the hand of my father Saul cannot find you. You will rule over Israel, and I will be your second in command. Even my father Saul realizes this.” 23:18 When the two of them had made a covenant before the Lord, David stayed on at Horesh, but Jonathan went to his house.

23:19 Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? 23:20 Now at your own discretion, 147  O king, come down. Delivering him into the king’s hand will be our responsibility.”

23:21 Saul replied, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me. 23:22 Go and make further arrangements. Determine precisely 148  where he is 149  and who has seen him there, for I am told that he is extremely cunning. 23:23 Locate precisely all the places where he hides and return to me with dependable information. 150  Then I will go with you. If he is in the land, I will find him 151  among all the thousands of Judah.”

23:24 So they left and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the desert of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. 23:25 Saul and his men went to look for him. 152  But David was informed and went down to the rock and stayed in the desert of Maon. When Saul heard about it, he pursued David in the desert of Maon. 23:26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, while David and his men went on the other side of the mountain. David was hurrying to get away from Saul, but Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men so they could capture them. 23:27 But a messenger came to Saul saying, “Come quickly, for the Philistines have raided the land!

23:28 So Saul stopped pursuing David and went to confront the Philistines. Therefore that place is called Sela Hammahlekoth. 153  23:29 154  Then David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of En Gedi.

David Spares Saul’s Life

24:1 When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, they told him, “Look, David is in the desert of En Gedi.” 24:2 So Saul took three thousand select men from all Israel and went to find 155  David and his men in the region of 156  the rocks of the mountain goats. 157  24:3 He came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave. Saul went into it to relieve himself. 158 

Now David and his men were sitting in the recesses of the cave. 24:4 David’s men said to him, “This is the day about which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you can do to him whatever seems appropriate to you.’” 159  So David got up and quietly cut off an edge of Saul’s robe. 24:5 Afterward David’s conscience bothered him 160  because he had cut off an edge of Saul’s robe. 24:6 He said to his men, “May the Lord keep me far away from doing such a thing to my lord, who is the Lord’s chosen one, 161  by extending my hand against him. After all, 162  he is the Lord’s chosen one.” 163  24:7 David restrained his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. Then Saul left the cave and started down 164  the road.

24:8 Afterward David got up and went out of the cave. He called out after Saul, “My lord, O king!” When Saul looked behind him, David kneeled down and bowed with his face to the ground. 24:9 David said to Saul, “Why do you pay attention when men say, ‘David is seeking to do you harm? 24:10 Today your own eyes see how the Lord delivered you – this very day – into my hands in the cave. Some told me to kill you, but I had pity 165  on you and said, ‘I will not extend my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s chosen one.’ 166  24:11 Look, my father, and see the edge of your robe in my hand! When I cut off the edge of your robe, I didn’t kill you. So realize and understand that I am not planning 167  evil or rebellion. Even though I have not sinned against you, you are waiting in ambush to take my life. 24:12 May the Lord judge between the two of us, and may the Lord vindicate me over you, but my hand will not be against you. 24:13 It’s like the old proverb says: ‘From evil people evil proceeds.’ But my hand will not be against you. 24:14 Who has the king of Israel come out after? Who is it that you are pursuing? A dead dog? A single flea? 24:15 May the Lord be our judge and arbiter. May he see and arbitrate my case and deliver me from your hands!

24:16 When David finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” Then Saul wept loudly. 168  24:17 He said to David, “You are more innocent 169  than I, for you have treated me well, even though I have tried to harm you! 24:18 You have explained today how you have treated me well. The Lord delivered me into your hand, but you did not kill me. 24:19 Now if a man finds his enemy, does he send him on his way in good shape? May the Lord repay you with good this day for what you have done to me. 24:20 Now look, I realize that you will in fact be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 24:21 So now swear to me in the Lord’s name 170  that you will not kill 171  my descendants after me or destroy my name from the house of my father.”

24:22 David promised Saul this on oath. 172  Then Saul went to his house, and David and his men went up to the stronghold.

The Death of Samuel

25:1 Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned him. They buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David left and went down to the desert of Paran. 173 

David Marries Abigail the Widow of Nabal

25:2 There was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. This man was very wealthy; 174  he owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. At that time he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 25:3 The man’s name was Nabal, 175  and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was both wise 176  and beautiful, but the man was harsh and his deeds were evil. He was a Calebite.

25:4 When David heard in the desert that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 25:5 he 177  sent ten servants, 178  saying to them, 179 Go up to Carmel to see Nabal and give him greetings in my name. 180  25:6 Then you will say to my brother, 181 Peace to you and your house! Peace to all that is yours! 25:7 Now I hear that they are shearing sheep for you. When your shepherds were with us, we neither insulted them nor harmed them the whole time they were in Carmel. 25:8 Ask your own servants; they can tell you! May my servants find favor in your sight, for we have come 182  at the time of a holiday. Please provide us – your servants 183  and your son David – with whatever you can spare.” 184 

25:9 So David’s servants went and spoke all these words to Nabal in David’s name. Then they paused. 25:10 But Nabal responded to David’s servants, “Who is David, and who is this son of Jesse? This is a time when many servants are breaking away from their masters! 25:11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers and give them to these men? I don’t even know where they came from!

25:12 So David’s servants went on their way. When they had returned, they came and told David 185  all these things. 25:13 Then David instructed his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So each one strapped on his sword, and David also strapped on his sword. About four hundred men followed David up, while two hundred stayed behind with the equipment.

25:14 But one of the servants told Nabal’s wife Abigail, “David sent messengers from the desert to greet 186  our lord, but he screamed at them. 25:15 These men were very good to us. They did not insult us, nor did we sustain any loss during the entire time we were together 187  in the field. 25:16 Both night and day they were a protective wall for us the entire time we were with them, while we were tending our flocks. 25:17 Now be aware of this, and see what you can do. For disaster has been planned for our lord and his entire household. 188  He is such a wicked person 189  that no one tells him anything!

25:18 So Abigail quickly took two hundred loaves of bread, two containers 190  of wine, five prepared sheep, five seahs 191  of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred lumps of pressed figs. She loaded them on donkeys 25:19 and said to her servants, “Go on ahead of me. I will come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

25:20 Riding on her donkey, she went down under cover of the mountain. David and his men were coming down to meet her, and she encountered them. 25:21 Now David had been thinking, 192 In vain I guarded everything that belonged to this man in the desert. I didn’t take anything from him. But he has repaid my good with evil. 25:22 God will severely punish David, 193  if I leave alive until morning even one male 194  from all those who belong to him!

25:23 When Abigail saw David, she got down quickly from the donkey, threw herself down before David, and bowed to the ground. 25:24 Falling at his feet, she said, “My lord, I accept all the guilt! But please let your female servant speak with my lord! Please listen to the words of your servant! 25:25 My lord should not pay attention to this wicked man Nabal. He simply lives up to his name! His name means ‘fool,’ and he is indeed foolish! 195  But I, your servant, did not see the servants my lord sent. 196 

25:26Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and as surely as you live, it is the Lord who has kept you from shedding blood and taking matters into your own hands. Now may your enemies and those who seek to harm my lord be like Nabal. 25:27 Now let this present 197  that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the servants who follow 198  my lord. 25:28 Please forgive the sin of your servant, for the Lord will certainly establish the house of my lord, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord. May no evil be found in you all your days! 25:29 When someone sets out to chase you and to take your life, the life of my lord will be wrapped securely in the bag 199  of the living by the Lord your God. But he will sling away the lives of your enemies from the sling’s pocket! 25:30 The Lord will do for my lord everything that he promised you, 200  and he will make 201  you a leader over Israel. 25:31 Your conscience will not be overwhelmed with guilt 202  for having poured out innocent blood and for having taken matters into your own hands. When the Lord has granted my lord success, 203  please remember your servant.”

25:32 Then David said to Abigail, “Praised 204  be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you this day to meet me! 25:33 Praised be your good judgment! May you yourself be rewarded 205  for having prevented me this day from shedding blood and taking matters into my own hands! 25:34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives – he who has prevented me from harming you – if you had not come so quickly to meet me, by morning’s light not even one male belonging to Nabal would have remained alive!” 25:35 Then David took from her hand what she had brought to him. He said to her, “Go back 206  to your home in peace. Be assured that I have listened to you 207  and responded favorably.” 208 

25:36 When Abigail went back to Nabal, he was holding a banquet in his house like that of the king. Nabal was having a good time 209  and was very intoxicated. She told him absolutely nothing 210  until morning’s light. 25:37 In the morning, when Nabal was sober, 211  his wife told him about these matters. He had a stroke and was paralyzed. 212  25:38 After about ten days the Lord struck Nabal down and he died.

25:39 When David heard that Nabal had died, he said, “Praised be the Lord who has vindicated me and avenged the insult that I suffered from Nabal! 213  The Lord has kept his servant from doing evil, and he has repaid Nabal for his evil deeds.” 214  Then David sent word to Abigail and asked her to become his wife.

25:40 So the servants of David went to Abigail at Carmel and said to her, “David has sent us to you to bring you back to be his wife.” 25:41 She arose, bowed her face toward the ground, and said, “Your female servant, like a lowly servant, will wash 215  the feet of the servants of my lord.” 25:42 Then Abigail quickly went and mounted her donkey, with five of her female servants accompanying her. 216  She followed David’s messengers and became his wife.

25:43 David had also married 217  Ahinoam from Jezreel; the two of them became his wives. 25:44 (Now Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Paltiel son of Laish, who was from Gallim.)

David Spares Saul’s Life Again

26:1 The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hakilah near 218  Jeshimon?” 26:2 So Saul arose and

went down to the desert of Ziph, accompanied by three thousand select men of Israel, to look for David in the desert of Ziph. 26:3 Saul camped by the road on the hill of Hakilah near Jeshimon, but David was staying in the desert. When he realized that Saul had come to the desert to find 219  him, 26:4 David sent scouts and verified that Saul had indeed arrived. 220 

26:5 So David set out and went to the place where Saul was camped. David saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the general in command of his army, were sleeping. Now Saul was lying in the entrenchment, and the army was camped all around him. 26:6 David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” Abishai replied, “I will go down with you.”

26:7 So David and Abishai approached the army at night and found Saul lying asleep in the entrenchment with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the army were lying all around him. 26:8 Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me drive the spear 221  right through him into the ground with one swift jab! 222  A second jab won’t be necessary!

26:9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t kill him! Who can extend his hand against the Lord’s chosen one 223  and remain guiltless? 26:10 David went on to say, “As the Lord lives, the Lord himself will strike him down. Either his day will come and he will die, or he will go down into battle and be swept away. 26:11 But may the Lord prevent me from extending my hand against the Lord’s chosen one! Now take the spear by Saul’s head and the jug of water, and let’s get out of here! 26:12 So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul’s head, and they got out of there. No one saw them or was aware of their presence or woke up. All of them were asleep, for the Lord had caused a deep sleep to fall on them.

26:13 Then David crossed to the other side and stood on the top of the hill some distance away; there was a considerable distance between them. 26:14 David called to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Won’t you answer, Abner?” Abner replied, “Who are you, that you have called to the king? 26:15 David said to Abner, “Aren’t you a man? After all, who is like you in Israel? Why then haven’t you protected your lord the king? One of the soldiers came to kill your lord the king. 26:16 This failure on your part isn’t good! 224  As surely as the Lord lives, you people who have not protected your lord, the Lord’s chosen one, are as good as dead! 225  Now look where the king’s spear and the jug of water that was by his head are!

26:17 When Saul recognized David’s voice, he said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” David replied, “Yes, it’s my voice, my lord the king.” 26:18 He went on to say, “Why is my lord chasing his servant? What have I done? What wrong have I done? 226  26:19 So let my lord the king now listen to the words of his servant. If the Lord has incited you against me, may he take delight in 227  an offering. But if men have instigated this, 228  may they be cursed before the Lord! For they have driven me away this day from being united with the Lord’s inheritance, saying, ‘Go on, serve other gods!’ 26:20 Now don’t let my blood fall to the ground away from the Lord’s presence, for the king of Israel has gone out to look for a flea the way one looks for a partridge 229  in the hill country.”

26:21 Saul replied, “I have sinned. Come back, my son David. I won’t harm you, for you treated my life with value 230  this day. I have behaved foolishly and have made a very terrible mistake! 231  26:22 David replied, “Here is the king’s spear! Let one of your servants cross over and get it. 26:23 The Lord rewards each man for his integrity and loyalty. 232  Even though today the Lord delivered you into my hand, I was not willing to extend my hand against the Lord’s chosen one. 26:24 In the same way that I valued your life this day, 233  may the Lord value my life 234  and deliver me from all danger.” 26:25 Saul replied to David, “May you be rewarded, 235  my son David! You will without question be successful!” 236  So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.

David Aligns Himself with the Philistines

27:1 David thought to himself, 237 One of these days I’m going to be swept away by the hand of Saul! There is nothing better for me than to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of searching for me through all the territory of Israel and I will escape from his hand.”

27:2 So David left and crossed over to King Achish son of Maoch of Gath accompanied by his six hundred men. 27:3 David settled with Achish in Gath, along with his men and their families. 238  David had with him his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the Carmelite, Nabal’s widow. 27:4 When Saul learned that David had fled to Gath, he did not mount a new search for him.

27:5 David said to Achish, “If I have found favor with you, let me be given a place in one of the country towns so that I can live there. Why should your servant settle in the royal city with you? 27:6 So Achish gave him Ziklag on that day. (For that reason Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah until this very day.) 27:7 The length of time 239  that David lived in the Philistine countryside was a year 240  and four months.

27:8 Then David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. (They had been living in that land for a long time, from the approach 241  to Shur as far as the land of Egypt.) 27:9 When David would attack a district, 242  he would leave neither man nor woman alive. He would take sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing and would then go back to Achish. 27:10 When Achish would ask, “Where 243  did you raid today?” David would say, “The Negev of Judahor “The Negev of Jeharmeelor “The Negev of the Kenites.” 27:11 Neither man nor woman would David leave alive so as to bring them back to Gath. He was thinking, “This way they can’t tell on us, saying, ‘This is what David did.’” Such was his practice the entire time 244  that he lived in the country of the Philistines. 27:12 So Achish trusted David, thinking to himself, 245  “He is really hated 246  among his own people in 247  Israel! From now on 248  he will be my servant.”

The Witch of Endor

28:1 In those days the Philistines gathered their troops 249  for war in order to fight Israel. Achish said to David, “You should fully understand that you and your men must go with me into the battle.” 250  28:2 David replied to Achish, “That being the case, you will come to know what your servant can do!” Achish said to David, “Then I will make you my bodyguard 251  from now on.” 252 

28:3 Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented over him and had buried him in Ramah, his hometown. 253  In the meantime Saul had removed the mediums 254  and magicians 255  from the land. 28:4 The Philistines assembled; they came and camped at Shunem. Saul mustered all Israel and camped at Gilboa. 28:5 When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was absolutely terrified. 256  28:6 So Saul inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him – not by dreams nor by Urim 257  nor by the prophets. 28:7 So Saul instructed his servants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, 258  so that I may go to her and inquire of her.” His servants replied to him, “There is a woman who is a medium in Endor.”

28:8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothing and left, accompanied by two of his men. They came to the woman at night and said, “Use your ritual pit to conjure up for me the one I tell you.” 259 

28:9 But the woman said to him, “Look, you are aware of what Saul has done; he has removed 260  the mediums and magicians 261  from the land! Why are you trapping me 262  so you can put me to death? 28:10 But Saul swore an oath to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not incur guilt in this matter! 28:11 The woman replied, “Who is it that I should bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up for me Samuel.”

28:12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out loudly. 263  The woman said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul! 28:13 The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid! What have you seen?” The woman replied to Saul, “I have seen one like a god 264  coming up from the ground!” 28:14 He said to her, “What about his appearance?” She said, “An old man is coming up! He is wrapped in a robe!”

Then Saul realized it was Samuel, and he bowed his face toward the ground and kneeled down. 28:15 Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul replied, “I am terribly troubled! The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me. He does not answer me – not by the prophets nor by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what I should do.”

28:16 Samuel said, “Why are you asking me, now that the Lord has turned away from you and has become your enemy? 28:17 The Lord has done exactly as I prophesied! 265  The Lord has torn the kingdom from your hand and has given it to your neighbor David! 28:18 Since you did not obey the Lord 266  and did not carry out his fierce anger against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this thing to you today. 28:19 The Lord will hand you and Israel over to the Philistines! 267  Tomorrow both you and your sons will be with me. 268  The Lord will also hand the army 269  of Israel over to the Philistines!”

28:20 Saul quickly fell full length on the ground and was very afraid because of Samuel’s words. He was completely drained of energy, 270  not having eaten anything 271  all that day and night. 28:21 When the woman came to Saul and saw how terrified he was, she said to him, “Your servant has done what you asked. 272  I took my life into my own hands and did what you told me. 273  28:22 Now it’s your turn to listen to your servant! Let me set before you a bit of bread so that you can eat. When you regain your strength, you can go on your way.”

28:23 But he refused, saying, “I won’t eat!” Both his servants and the woman urged 274  him to eat, so he gave in. 275  He got up from the ground and sat down on the bed. 28:24 Now the woman 276  had a well-fed calf 277  at her home that she quickly slaughtered. Taking some flour, she kneaded bread and baked it without leaven. 28:25 She brought it to Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they arose and left that same night.

David Is Rejected by the Philistine Leaders

29:1 The Philistines assembled all their troops 278  at Aphek, while Israel camped at the spring that is in Jezreel. 29:2 When the leaders of the Philistines were passing in review at the head of their units of hundreds and thousands, 279  David and his men were passing in review in the rear with Achish.

29:3 The leaders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?” Achish said to the leaders of the Philistines, “Isn’t this David, the servant of King Saul of Israel, who has been with me for quite some time? 280  I have found no fault with him from the day of his defection until the present time! 281 

29:4 But the leaders of the Philistines became angry with him and said 282  to him, “Send the man back! Let him return to the place that you assigned him! Don’t let him go down with us into the battle, for he might become 283  our adversary in the battle. What better way to please his lord than with the heads of these men? 284  29:5 Isn’t this David, of whom they sang as they danced, 285 

‘Saul has struck down his thousands,

but David his tens of thousands?

29:6 So Achish summoned David and said to him, “As surely as the Lord lives, you are an honest man, and I am glad to have you 286  serving 287  with me in the army. 288  I have found no fault with you from the day that you first came to me until the present time. But in the opinion 289  of the leaders, you are not reliable. 290  29:7 So turn and leave 291  in peace. You must not do anything that the leaders of the Philistines consider improper! 292 

29:8 But David said to Achish, “What have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day that I first came into your presence until the present time, that I shouldn’t go and fight the enemies of my lord the king? 29:9 Achish replied to David, “I am convinced that you are as reliable 293  as the angel of God! However, the leaders of the Philistines have said, ‘He must not go up with us in the battle.’ 29:10 So get up early in the morning along with the servants of your lord who have come with you. 294  When you get up early in the morning, as soon as it is light enough to see, leave.” 295 

29:11 So David and his men got up early in the morning to return 296  to the land of the Philistines, but the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

David Defeats the Amalekites

30:1 On the third day David and his men came to Ziklag. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They attacked Ziklag and burned it. 297  30:2 They took captive the women who were in it, from the youngest to the oldest, but they did not kill anyone. They simply carried them off and went on their way.

30:3 When David and his men came to the city, they found it burned. 298  Their wives, sons, and daughters had been taken captive. 30:4 Then David and the men 299  who were with him wept loudly 300  until they could weep no more. 301  30:5 David’s two wives had been taken captive – Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the Carmelite, Nabal’s widow. 30:6 David was very upset, for the men 302  were thinking of stoning him; 303  each man grieved bitterly 304  over his sons and daughters. But David drew strength from the Lord his God.

30:7 Then David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, “Bring me the ephod.” So Abiathar brought the ephod to David. 30:8 David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Should I pursue this raiding band? Will I overtake them?” He said to him, “Pursue, for you will certainly overtake them and carry out a rescue!

30:9 So David went, accompanied by his six hundred men. When he came to the Wadi Besor, those who were in the rear stayed there. 305  30:10 David and four hundred men continued the pursuit, but two hundred men who were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor stayed there.

30:11 Then they found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David. They gave him bread to eat and water to drink. 30:12 They gave him a slice of pressed figs and two bunches of raisins to eat. This greatly refreshed him, 306  for he had not eaten food or drunk water for three days and three nights. 30:13 David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where are you from?” The young man said, “I am an Egyptian, the servant of an Amalekite man. My master abandoned me when I was ill for three days. 30:14 We conducted a raid on the Negev of the Kerethites, on the area of Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb. We burned Ziklag.” 307  30:15 David said to him, “Can you take us 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 this raiding party.”

30:16 So he took David 308  down, and they found them spread out over the land. They were eating and drinking and enjoying themselves because of all the loot 309  they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. 30:17 But David struck them down from twilight until the following evening. None of them escaped, with the exception of four hundred young men who got away on camels. 310  30:18 David retrieved everything the Amalekites had taken; he 311  also rescued his two wives. 30:19 There was nothing missing, whether small or great. He retrieved sons and daughters, the plunder, and everything else they had taken. 312  David brought everything back. 30:20 David took all the flocks and herds and drove them in front of the rest of the animals. People were saying, “This is David’s plunder!

30:21 Then David approached the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to go with him, 313  those whom they had left at the Wadi Besor. They went out to meet David and the people who were with him. When David approached the people, he asked how they were doing. 30:22 But all the evil and worthless men among those who had gone with David said, “Since they didn’t go with us, 314  we won’t give them any of the loot we retrieved! They may take only their wives and children. Let them lead them away and be gone!

30:23 But David said, “No! You shouldn’t do this, my brothers. Look at what the Lord has given us! 315  He has protected us and has delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. 30:24 Who will listen to you in this matter? The portion of the one who went down into the battle will be the same as the portion of the one who remained with the equipment! Let their portions be the same!

30:25 From that time onward it was a binding ordinance 316  for Israel, right up to the present time.

30:26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah who were his friends, saying, “Here’s a gift 317  for you from the looting of the Lord’s enemies! 30:27 The gift was for those in the following locations: 318  for those in Bethel, 319  Ramoth Negev, and Jattir; 30:28 for those in Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 30:29 and Racal; for those in the cities of the Jerahmeelites and Kenites; 30:30 for those in Hormah, Bor Ashan, Athach, 30:31 and Hebron; and for those in whatever other places David and his men had traveled.

The Death of Saul

31:1 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel. The men of Israel fled from the Philistines and many of them fell dead on Mount Gilboa. 31:2 The Philistines stayed right on the heels 320  of Saul and his sons. They 321  struck down Saul’s sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malki-Shua. 31:3 Saul himself was in the thick of the battle; 322  the archers 323  spotted him and wounded him severely.

31:4 Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and stab me with it! Otherwise these uncircumcised people will come, stab me, and torture me.” But his armor bearer refused to do it, because he was very afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it. 31:5 When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. 31:6 So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men died together that day.

31:7 When the men of Israel who were in the valley and across the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled. The Philistines came and occupied them.

31:8 The next day, when the Philistines came to strip loot from the corpses, they discovered Saul and his three sons lying dead 324  on Mount Gilboa. 31:9 They cut off Saul’s 325  head and stripped him of his armor. They sent messengers to announce the news in the temple of their idols and among their people throughout the surrounding land of the Philistines. 31:10 They placed Saul’s armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths 326  and hung his corpse on the city wall of Beth Shan.

31:11 When the residents of Jabesh Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 31:12 all their warriors set out and traveled throughout the night. They took Saul’s corpse and the corpses of his sons from the city wall of Beth Shan and went 327  to Jabesh, where they burned them. 31:13 They took the bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh; then they fasted for seven days.

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