1 Samuel 21-24 Darby’s Translation

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David Flees from Saul

21 1  And David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech trembled at meeting David, and said to him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? 2  And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king has commanded me a business, and has said to me, Let no man know anything of the business whereon I send thee, and what I have commanded thee; and I have directed the young men to such and such a place. 3  And now what is under thy hand? give me five loaves in my hand, or what may be found. 4  And the priest answered David and said, There is no common bread under my hand, but there is holy bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. 5  And David answered the priest and said to him, Yes indeed, women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the [bread] is in a manner common, and the more so, because to-day [new] is hallowed in the vessels. 6  And the priest gave him holy [bread]; for there was no bread there but the shew-loaves that were taken from before Jehovah, to put on hot bread in the day when they were 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, chief of the shepherds that [belonged] to Saul.) 8  And David said to Ahimelech, And is there not here under thy hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, for the king's business was urgent. 9  And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of terebinths, 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 from before 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 sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul has smitten his thousands, and David his ten thousands? 12  And David took to heart these words, and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13  And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down on his beard. 14  And Achish said to his servants, Behold, ye see the man is mad: why did ye bring him to me? 15  have I lack of madmen, that ye have brought this one to rave in my presence? shall this [man] come into my house?

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

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 upon the height, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing by him. 7  Then Saul said to his servants that stood by him, Hear now, ye Benjaminites: will the son of Jesse give every one of you also 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 informs me when my son has made [a covenant] with the son of Jesse; and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or informs me that my son has stirred up my servant as a lier-in-wait against me, as at this day? 9  Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who was set over 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, son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. 13  And Saul said to 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 as a lier-in-wait, as at this day? 14  And Ahimelech answered the king and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and has access to thy secret council, and is honourable in thy house? 15  Was it to-day that I began to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king charge anything to his servant, [nor] to all the house of my father; for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. 16  And the king said, Thou shalt certainly die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house. 17  And the king said to the couriers that stood about him, Turn and put the priests of Jehovah to death; because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not inform me. But the servants of the king were not willing to put forth their hand to fall on the priests of Jehovah. 18  And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall on the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and fell on the priests, and put to death that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19  And Nob, the city of the priests, he smote with the edge of the sword, both men and women, infants 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 informed David that Saul had slain Jehovah's priests. 22  And David said to Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would certainly tell Saul: I am accountable for all the lives of thy father's house. 23  Abide with me, fear not; for he that seeks my life seeks thy life; for with me thou art in safe keeping.

David in the Wilderness

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

7  And it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. Then Saul said, God has cast him off into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a city 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  And when David knew that Saul devised mischief against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring the ephod. 10  Then said David, Jehovah, God of Israel, thy servant hath heard for certain that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11  Will the citizens of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? Jehovah, God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And Jehovah said, He will come down. 12  And David said, Will the citizens of Keilah deliver up me and my men into the hand of Saul? And Jehovah said, They will deliver [thee] up. 13  Then David and his men, about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went whithersoever they could go. And it was told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, and he forbore to go forth.

14  And David abode in the wilderness in strongholds, and abode in the mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand. 15  And David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life; and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a 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 to him, Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father will not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next to thee; and that also Saul my father knows. 18  And they two made a covenant before Jehovah; and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

19  And the Ziphites came up to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Does not David hide himself with us in strongholds in the wood, on the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of the waste? 20  And now, O king, come down according to all the desire of thy soul to come down; and it will be for us to deliver him up into the king's hand. 21  And Saul said, Blessed be ye of Jehovah; for ye have compassion upon me. 22  Go, I pray you, make yet more sure, and know and see his place where his track is, who has seen him there; for it is told me that he deals very subtilly. 23  And see, and ascertain all the lurking-places where he hides himself, and come ye again to me with sure information, that I may go with you; and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout 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 plain on the south of the waste. 25  And Saul and his men went to seek [him]. And they told David; and he came down from the rock, and abode in the wilderness of Maon. And Saul heard [that], and 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 from Saul; and Saul and his men sought to surround David and his men to take them. 27  But there came a messenger to Saul, saying, Haste thee and come; for the Philistines have made a raid against the land. 28  And 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 abode in the strongholds of Engedi.

David Spares Saul at Engedi

24 1  And it came to pass when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi. 2  And Saul took three thousand men, chosen 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 sheepfolds by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet; and David and his men were abiding in the recesses of the cave. 4  And David's men said to him, Behold the day of which Jehovah said to thee, Behold, I will give thine enemy into thy hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good to thee. And David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe secretly. 5  And it came to pass afterwards that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6  And he said to his men, Jehovah forbid that I should do this thing to my master, Jehovah's anointed, to stretch forth my hand against him, for he is the anointed of Jehovah. 7  And 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 afterwards, 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, Why dost thou listen to words of men, saying, Behold, David seeks thy hurt? 10  Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that Jehovah had given thee this day into my hand in the cave; and they 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 the anointed of Jehovah. 11  And see, my father, yes, 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 and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou liest in wait for 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, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked; 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 single flea. 15  Jehovah therefore shall be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and do me justice [in delivering me] out of thy hand.

16  And as soon as David had ended speaking these words to Saul, 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 rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. 18  And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me, forasmuch as when Jehovah had delivered me up into thy hand, thou didst not kill me. 19  For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore Jehovah reward thee good for that thou hast done to me this day. 20  And now behold, I know that thou shalt certainly be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thy hand. 21  Swear now therefore to 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 swore to Saul. And Saul went home; and David and his men went up to the stronghold.

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