David Flees from Saul
21 1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was full of fear at meeting David, and said to him, Why are you by yourself, having no man with you? 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king has given me orders and has said to me, Say nothing to anyone about the business on which I am sending you and the orders I have given you: and a certain place has been fixed to which the young men are to go. 3 So now, if you have here five cakes of bread, give them into my hand, or whatever you have. 4 And the priest, answering David, said, I have no common bread here but there is holy bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women. 5 And David in answer said to the priest, Certainly women have been kept from us; and as has been done before when I have gone out the arms of the young men were made holy, even though it was a common journey; how much more today will their arms be made holy. 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread: there was no other, only the holy bread which had been taken from before the Lord, so that new bread might be put in its place on the day when it was taken away. 7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, kept back before the Lord; his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the strongest of Saul's runners. 8 And David said to Ahimelech, Have you no sword or spear with you here? for I have come without my sword and other arms, because the king's business had to be done quickly. 9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you put to death in the valley of Elah, is here folded in a cloth at the back of the ephod: take that, if you will, for there is no other sword here. And David said, there is no other sword like that; give it to me.
10 Then David got up and went in flight that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish, the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, Is not this David, the king of the land? did they not make songs about him in their dances, saying, Saul has put to death thousands, and David tens of thousands? 12 And David took these words to heart, fearing Achish, the king of Gath. 13 So changing his behaviour before them, he made it seem as if he was off his head, hammering on the doors of the town, and letting the water from his mouth go down his chin. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, Look! the man is clearly off his head; why have you let him come before me? 15 Are there not enough unbalanced men about me, that you have let this person come and do such tricks before me? is such a man to come into my house?
22 1 So David went away from there and took cover in a strong place at Adullam; and his brothers and all his father's people, hearing of it, went down to him there. 2 And everyone who was in trouble, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, came together to him, and he became captain over them: about four hundred men were joined to him. 3 And from there David went to Mizpeh in the land of Moab: and he said to the king of Moab, Let my father and mother come and make their living-place with you till it is clear to me what God will do for me. 4 And he took them to the king of Moab and they went on living with him while David was in his safe place. 5 And the prophet Gad said to David, Do not go on living in this place but go into the land of Judah. Then David went away and came to the woodland of Hereth.
Saul Kills the Priests of Nob
6 And news was given to Saul that David had been seen, and the men who were with him: now Saul was in Gibeah, seated under the tree in the high place, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were in their places before him. 7 Then Saul said to his servants who were there about him, Give ear now, you Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give to every one of you fields and vine-gardens, will he make you all captains of hundreds and captains of thousands; 8 That all of you have made designs against me, and not one of you gave me word when my son made an agreement with the son of Jesse, and not one of you has pity for me or has made my eyes open to the fact that my servant has been moved by my son against me, as at this day? 9 Then Doeg, the Edomite, who was by the side of the servants of Saul, in answer said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub. 10 And he got directions from the Lord for him, and gave him food, and put in his hand the sword of Goliath the Philistine. 11 Then the king sent for Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and for all the men of his father's family who were priests in Nob: and they all came to the king. 12 And Saul said, Give ear now, O son of Ahitub. And answering he said, Here I am, my lord. 13 And Saul said to him, Why have you made designs against me with the son of Jesse, giving him food and a sword and getting directions from the Lord for him, and helping him to take up arms against me, and to be on the watch to make a secret attack on me as he is doing now? 14 Then Ahimelech answering said to the king, Who among all your servants is so true to you as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and is a captain of your armed men, and has a place of honour in your house? 15 Is this the first time I have got directions from God for him? Far be the thought! let the king make no such statement against his servant or my father's family, for your servant has no knowledge, great or small, of this thing. 16 And the king said, You will certainly be put to death, Ahimelech, you and all your father's family. 17 Then the king said to the runners who were waiting near him, Put the priests of the Lord to death; because they are on David's side, and having knowledge of his flight, did not give me word of it. But the king's servants would not put out their hands to make an attack on the Lord's priests. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, You are to put the priests to death. And Doeg the Edomite, turning on the priests and attacking them, put to death that day eighty-five men who took up the ephod. 19 And Nob, the town of the priests, he put to the sword, all the men and women, children and babies at the breast, and oxen and asses and sheep.
20 And Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, got away and went in flight after David; 21 And gave him the news of how Saul had put to death the Lord's priests. 22 And David said to Abiathar, I was certain that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would take the news to Saul: I am responsible for the lives of all your father's family. 23 Keep here with me and have no fear; for he who has designs on my life has designs on yours: but with me you will be safe.
David in the Wilderness
23 1 And they sent word to David, saying, The Philistines are fighting against Keilah and taking the grain from the grain-floors. 2 So David, questioning the Lord, said, Am I to go and make an attack on these Philistines? And the Lord said to David, Go and make an attack on the Philistines so that Keilah may be kept from falling into their hands. 3 And David's men said to him, Even here in Judah we are full of fear: how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4 Then David put the question to the Lord again, and the Lord answering said, Up! go down to Keilah; for I will give the Philistines into your hands. 5 So David and his men went to Keilah, and had a fight with the Philistines, and took away their cattle, and put them to the sword with great destruction. So David was the saviour of the people of Keilah. 6 Now when Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, went in flight to David, he came down to Keilah with the ephod in his hand.
7 And news was given to Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, Now God has given him into my hands; for by going into a walled town with locked doors, he has let himself be shut in. 8 And Saul sent for all the people to come to the fight, and go down to Keilah to make an attack on David and his men. 9 And it was clear to David that Saul had evil designs against him, and he said to Abiathar the priest, Come here with the ephod. 10 Then David said, O Lord, the God of Israel, news has been given to your servant that it is Saul's purpose to come to Keilah and send destruction on the town because of me. 11 And now, is it true, as they have said to me, that Saul is coming? O Lord, the God of Israel, give ear to your servant, and say if these things are so. And the Lord said, He is coming down. 12 Then David said, Will the men of Keilah give me and my men up to Saul? and the Lord said, They will give you up. 13 Then David and his men, about six hundred of them, went out of Keilah, and got away wherever they were able to go. And Saul, hearing that David had got away from Keilah, did not go there.
14 And David kept in the waste land, in safe places, waiting in the hill-country in the waste land of Ziph. And Saul was searching for him every day, but God did not give him up into his hands. 15 And David was full of fear, in the knowledge that Saul had come out to take his life; and David was in the waste land of Ziph, in Horesh. 16 And Saul's son Jonathan went to David in Horesh, and made his hands strong in God; 17 And said to him, Have no fear, for Saul my father will not get you into his power; and you will be king of Israel, and I will be by your side, and my father Saul is certain of this. 18 And the two of them made an agreement before the Lord: and David went on living in Horesh, and Jonathan went back to his house.
19 Then the Ziphites came up to Gibeah to see Saul, and said, Is not David living secretly among us in the strong places in Horesh, in the hill of Hachilah to the south of the waste land? 20 So now, O king, have your soul's desire and come down, and we, for our part, will give him up into the king's hands. 21 And Saul said, The Lord's blessing will be yours, for you have had pity on me. 22 Go now, and take more steps, and see where he is living: for they say that he is expert in deceit. 23 So take care to get knowledge of all the secret places where he is taking cover, and be certain to come back to me, and I will go with you: and without doubt, if he is anywhere in the land, I will get him, among all the families of Judah. 24 And they went back and came to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the waste land of Maon, in the dry land south of the waste land. 25 And Saul and his men went in search of him. And David had word of it, so he came down to the rock in the waste land of Maon. And Saul, hearing of this, went after David into the waste land of Maon. 26 And Saul and his men went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men went on the other: and David's purpose was to get away as quickly as possible, for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men were making a circle round David and his men in order to take them. 27 But a man came to Saul saying, Be quick and come; for the Philistines have made an attack on the land. 28 So turning back from going after David, Saul went against the Philistines: so that place was named Sela-hammah-lekoth.
David Spares Saul at Engedi
24 1 And from there, David went up and took cover in the safe place of En-gedi. 2 Now when Saul came back from fighting the Philistines, news was given him that David was in the waste land of En-gedi. 3 Then Saul took three thousand of the best men out of all Israel, and went in search of David and his men on the rocks of the mountain goats. 4 And on the way he came to a place where sheep were kept, where there was a hollow in the rock; and Saul went in for a private purpose. Now David and his men were in the deepest part of the hollow. 5 And David's men said to him, Now is the time when the Lord says to you, I will give up your hater into your hands to do with him whatever seems good to you. Then David, getting up, took the skirt of Saul's robe in his hand, cutting off the end of it without his knowledge. 6 And later, David was full of regret for cutting off Saul's skirt. 7 And David said to his men, Before the Lord, never let it be said that my hand was lifted up against my lord, the man of the Lord's selection, for the Lord's holy oil has been put on him. 8 So with these words David kept his servants back, and did not let them make an attack on Saul. And Saul got up and went on his way.
9 And after that David came out of the hollow rock, and crying after Saul said, My lord the king. And when Saul gave a look back, David went down on his face and gave him honour. 10 And David said to Saul, Why do you give any attention to those who say that it is my desire to do you wrong? 11 Look! you have seen today how the Lord gave you up into my hands even now in the hollow of the rocks: and some would have had me put you to death, but I had pity on you: for I said, Never will my hand be lifted up against my lord, who has been marked with the holy oil. 12 And see, my father, see the skirt of your robe in my hand: for the fact that I took off the skirt of your robe and did not put you to death is witness that I have no evil purpose, and I have done you no wrong, though you are waiting for my life to take it. 13 May the Lord be judge between me and you, and may the Lord give me my rights against you, but my hand will never be lifted up against you. 14 There is an old saying, From the evil-doer comes evil: but my hand will never be lifted up against you. 15 After whom has the king of Israel come out? for whom are you searching? for a dead dog, an insect.
16 So let the Lord be judge, and give a decision between me and you, and see and give support to my cause, and keep me from falling into your hands. 17 Now when David had said these words to Saul, Saul said, Is this your voice, David, my son? And Saul was overcome with weeping. 18 And he said to David, You are right and I am wrong: for you have given me back good, but I have given you evil. 19 And you have made clear to me how good you have been to me today: because, when the Lord gave me up into your hands, you did not put me to death. 20 If a man comes across his hater, will he let him get away safe? so may you be rewarded by the Lord for what you have done for me today. 21 And now I am certain that you will be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be made strong under your authority. 22 So give me your oath by the Lord, that you will not put an end to my seed after me or let my name be cut off from my father's family. 23 And David gave Saul his oath. And Saul went back to his house; but David and his men went up to their safe place.