David Spares Saul
(1 Samuel 24:1-15)
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 Engedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the rocks of the wild goats. And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. And the men of David said to him, Behold the day of which the LORD said to you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it shall seem good to you. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privately. And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. And he said to his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch forth my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD. So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.
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 stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. And David said to Saul, Why hear you men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeks your hurt? Behold, this day your eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered you to day into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill you: but my eye spared you; and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is the LORD’s anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yes, see the skirt of your robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of your robe, and killed you not, know you and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against you; yet you hunt my soul to take it. The LORD judge between me and you, and the LORD avenge me of you: but my hand shall not be on you. As said the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceeds from the wicked: but my hand shall not be on you. After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom do you pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and you, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of your hand.
David’s Oath to Saul
(1 Samuel 24:16-22)
And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, Is this your voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. And he said to David, You are more righteous than I: for you have rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded you evil. And you have showed this day how that you have dealt well with me: for as much as when the LORD had delivered me into your hand, you killed me not. For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? why the LORD reward you good for that you have done to me this day. And now, behold, I know well that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. Swear now therefore to me by the LORD, that you will not cut off my seed after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house. And David swore to Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men got them up to the hold.
David Again Spares Saul
(1 Samuel 26:1-12)
And the Ziphites came to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Does not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon? Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness. David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul was come in very deed. And David arose, and came to the place where Saul had pitched: and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him.
Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with you. So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster: but Abner and the people lay round about him. Then said Abishai to David, God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray you, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless? David said furthermore, As the LORD lives, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against the LORD’s anointed: but, I pray you, take you now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go. So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they got them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen on them.
David Reproves Abner
(1 Samuel 26:13-20)
Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of an hill afar off; a great space being between them: And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answer you not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who are you that cry to the king? And David said to Abner, Are not you a valiant man? and who is like to you in Israel? why then have you not kept your lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king your lord. This thing is not good that you have done. As the LORD lives, you are worthy to die, because you have not kept your master, the LORD’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.
And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this your voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king. And he said, Why does my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in my hand? Now therefore, I pray you, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred you up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods. Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one does hunt a partridge in the mountains.
Saul Acknowledges his Sin
(1 Samuel 26:21-25)
Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do you harm, because my soul was precious in your eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it. The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered you into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth my hand against the LORD’s anointed. And, behold, as your life was much set by this day in my eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation. Then Saul said to David, Blessed be you, my son David: you shall both do great things, and also shall still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
David and the Philistines
(1 Samuel 27:1-4)
And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand. And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him to Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David dwelled with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife. And it was told Saul that David was fled to Gath: and he sought no more again for him.