David Flees from Saul
21 1 Then came David to Nob to Ahim'elech the priest; and Ahim'elech came to meet David trembling, and said to him, "Why are you alone, and no one with you?" 2 And David said to Ahim'elech the priest, "The king has charged me with a matter, and said to me, 'Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.' I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. 3 Now then, what have you at hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here." 4 And the priest answered David, "I have no common bread at hand, but there is holy bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women." 5 And David answered the priest, "Of a truth women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition; the vessels of the young men are holy, even when it is a common journey; how much more today will their vessels be holy?" 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away. 7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; his name was Do'eg the E'domite, the chief of Saul's herdsmen. 8 And David said to Ahim'elech, "And have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither 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 you killed in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here." And David said, "There is none like that; give it to me."
10 And David rose and fled that day from Saul, and went to A'chish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of A'chish said to him, "Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands'?" 12 And David took these words to heart, and was much afraid of A'chish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and made marks on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then said A'chish to his servants, "Lo, you see the man is mad; why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?"
22 1 David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. 2 And every one who was in distress, and every one who was in debt, and every one who was discontented, gathered to him; and he became captain over them. And there were with him about four hundred men. 3 And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, "Pray let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me." 4 And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah." So David departed, and went into the forest of Hereth.
Saul Kills the Priests of Nob
6 Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gib'e-ah, under the tamarisk tree on the height, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7 And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, "Hear now, you Benjaminites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8 that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a league with the son of Jesse, none of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day." 9 Then answered Do'eg the E'domite, who stood by the servants of Saul, "I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahim'elech the son of Ahi'tub, 10 and he inquired of the Lord for him, and gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine." 11 Then the king sent to summon Ahim'elech the priest, the son of Ahi'tub, and all his father's house, the priests who were at Nob; and all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, "Hear now, son of Ahi'tub." And he answered, "Here I am, my lord." 13 And Saul said to him, "Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword, and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?" 14 Then Ahim'elech answered the king, "And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15 Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father; for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little." 16 And the king said, "You shall surely die, Ahim'elech, you and all your father's house." 17 And the king said to the guard who stood about him, "Turn and kill the priests of the Lord; because their hand also is with David, and 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 the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Do'eg, "You turn and fall upon the priests." And Do'eg the E'domite turned and fell upon the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both men and women, children and sucklings, oxen, asses and sheep, he put to the sword.
20 But one of the sons of Ahim'elech the son of Ahi'tub, named Abi'athar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abi'athar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abi'athar, "I knew on that day, when Do'eg the E'domite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father's house. 23 Stay with me, fear not; for he that seeks my life seeks your life; with me you shall be in safekeeping."
David in the Wilderness
23 1 Now they told David, "Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Kei'lah, and are robbing the threshing floors." 2 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, "Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" And the Lord said to David, "Go and attack the Philistines and save Kei'lah." 3 But David's men said to him, "Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Kei'lah against the armies of the Philistines?" 4 Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, "Arise, go down to Kei'lah; for I will give the Philistines into your hand. 5 And David and his men went to Kei'lah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and made a great slaughter among them. So David delivered the inhabitants of Kei'lah. 6 When Abi'athar the son of Ahim'elech fled to David to Kei'lah, he came down with an ephod in his hand.
7 Now it was told Saul that David had come to Kei'lah. And Saul said, "God has given him into my hand; for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars." 8 And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Kei'lah, to besiege David and his men. 9 David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; and he said to Abi'athar the priest, "Bring the ephod here." 10 Then said David, "O Lord, the God of Israel, thy servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Kei'lah, to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the men of Kei'lah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as thy servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant." And the Lord said, "He will come down." 12 Then said David, "Will the men of Kei'lah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?" And the Lord said, "They will surrender you." 13 Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Kei'lah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Kei'lah, he gave up the expedition.
14 And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand 15 And David was afraid because Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the Wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul's son, rose, and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, "Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you; you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you; Saul my father also knows this." 18 And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
19 Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gib'e-ah, saying, "Does not David hide among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachi'lah, which is south of Jeshi'mon 20 Now come down, O king, according to all your heart's desire to come down; and our part shall be to surrender him into the king's hand." 21 And Saul said, "May you be blessed by the Lord; for you have had compassion on me 22 Go, make yet more sure; know and see the place where his haunt is, and who has seen him there; for it is told me that he is very cunning. 23 See therefore, and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you; and if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah." 24 And they arose, and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Ma'on, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshi'mon. 25 And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told; therefore he went down to the rock which is in the wilderness of Ma'on. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Ma'on. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was making haste to get away from Saul, as Saul and his men were closing in upon David and his men to capture them, 27 when a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Make haste 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 that place was called the Rock of Escape. 29 And David went up from there, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-ge'di.
David Spares Saul at Engedi
24 1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, "Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-ge'di." 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats' Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, "Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, 'Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.'" Then David arose and stealthily cut off the skirt of Saul's robe. 5 And afterward David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6 He said to his men, "The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord'S anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord'S anointed." 7 So David persuaded his men with these words, and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave, and went upon his way. 8 Afterward David also arose, and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, "My lord the king!" And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and did obeisance.
9 And David said to Saul, "Why do you listen to the words of men who say, 'Behold, David seeks your hurt'? 10 Lo, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave; and some bade me kill you, but I spared you. I said, 'I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord'S anointed.' 11 See, my father, see the skirt of your robe in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the skirt of your robe, and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me upon you; but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, 'Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness'; but my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! 15 May the Lord therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and you, and see to it, and plead my cause, and deliver me from your hand."
16 When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, "You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18 And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father's house." 22 And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home; but David and his men went up to the stronghold.