1 Samuel 21-24 American Standard Version

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David Flees from Saul

21 1  Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? 2  And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know anything of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed the young men to such and such a place. 3  Now therefore what is under thy hand? give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatsoever there is present. 4  And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under my hand, but there is holy bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women. 5  And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days; when I came out, the vessels of the young men were holy, though it was but a common journey; how much more then to-day shall their vessels be holy? 6  So the priest gave him holy [bread]; for there was no bread there but the showbread, that was taken from before Jehovah, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away. 7  Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before Jehovah; and his name was Doeg the Edomite, the chiefest of the herdsmen that belonged to Saul. 8  And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thy hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste. 9  And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the vale of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it; for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

10  And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11  And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands? 12  And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13  And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. 14  Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad; wherefore then have ye brought him to me? 15  Do I lack madmen, that ye have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?

22 1  David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave of Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. 2  And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men. 3  And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, [and be] with you, till I know what God will do for me. 4  And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the stronghold. 5  And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the stronghold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hereth.

Saul Kills the Priests of Nob

6  And Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him: now Saul was sitting in Gibeah, under the tamarisk-tree in Ramah, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7  And Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, 8  that all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that discloseth to me when my son maketh a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or discloseth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 9  Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10  And he inquired of Jehovah for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. 11  Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king. 12  And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. 13  And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 14  Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who among all thy servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and is taken into thy council, and is honorable in thy house? 15  Have I to-day begun to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute anything unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father; for thy servant knoweth nothing of all this, less or more. 16  And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house. 17  And the king said unto the guard that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of Jehovah; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew that he fled, and did not disclose it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of Jehovah. 18  And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and he slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. 19  And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen and asses and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

20  And one of the sons of Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. 21  And Abiathar told David that Saul had slain Jehovah's priests. 22  And David said unto Abiathar, I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned [the death] of all the persons of thy father's house. 23  Abide thou with me, fear not; for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: for with me thou shalt be in safeguard.

David in the Wilderness

23 1  And they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and are robbing the threshing-floors. 2  Therefore David inquired of Jehovah, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And Jehovah said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. 3  And David's men said unto 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 inquired of Jehovah yet again. And Jehovah answered him, and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into thy hand. 5  And David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and slew them with a great slaughter. So David save the inhabitants of Keilah. 6  And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.

7  And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God hath delivered him into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars. 8  And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9  And David knew that Saul was devising mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod. 10  Then said David, O Jehovah, the God of Israel, thy servant hath surely heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11  Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O Jehovah, the God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And Jehovah said, He will come down. 12  Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver up to me and my men into the hand of Saul? And Jehovah said, They will deliver thee up. 13  Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he forbare to go forth.

14  And David abode in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill-country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand. 15  And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in the wood. 16  And Jonathan, Saul's son, arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 17  And he said unto him, Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my father knoweth. 18  And they two made a covenant before Jehovah: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

19  Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself with us in the strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of the desert? 20  Now therefore, O king, come down, according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him up into the king's hand. 21  And Saul said, Blessed be ye of Jehovah; for ye have had compassion on me. 22  Go, I pray you, make yet more sure, and know and see his place where his haunt is, [and] who hath seen him there; for it is told me that he dealeth very subtly. 23  See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking-places where he hideth himself, and come ye again to me of a certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah. 24  And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah on the south of the desert. 25  And Saul and his men went to seek him. And they told David: wherefore he came down to the rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard [that], he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26  And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 27  But there came a messenger unto Saul, saying, Haste thee, and come; for the Philistines have made a raid upon the land. 28  So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth. 29  And David went up from thence, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi.

David Spares Saul at Engedi

24 1  And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. 2  Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3  And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave. 4  And the men of David said unto him, Behold, the day of which Jehovah said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand, and thou shalt do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. 5  And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6  And he said unto his men, Jehovah forbid that I should do this thing unto my lord, Jehovah's anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is Jehovah's anointed. 7  So David checked his men with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. 8  David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and did obeisance.

9  And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearkenest thou to men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? 10  Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that Jehovah had delivered thee to-day into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee; but [mine eye] spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is Jehovah's anointed. 11  Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand; for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against thee, though thou huntest after my life to take it. 12  Jehovah judge between me and thee, and Jehovah avenge me of thee; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 13  As saith the proverb of the ancients, Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 14  After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. 15  Jehovah therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thy hand.

16  And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17  And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rendered unto me good, whereas I have rendered unto thee evil. 18  And thou hast declared this day how that thou hast dealt well with me, forasmuch as when Jehovah had delivered me up into thy hand, thou killedst me not. 19  For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore Jehovah reward thee good for that which thou hast done unto me this day. 20  And now, behold, I know that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thy hand. 21  Swear now therefore unto me by Jehovah, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house. 22  And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the stronghold.

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