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1 Samuel 13:9-31:9

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9So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering.

10Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

11“What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash,

12I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD ’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” 13“You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.

14But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD ’s command.”

15Then Samuel left Gilgal Hebrew; Septuagint Gilgal and went his way; the rest of the people went after Saul to meet the army, and they went out of Gilgal and went up to Gibeah in Benjamin, and Saul counted the men who were with him. They numbered about six hundred.

Israel Without Weapons 16Saul and his son Jonathan and the men with them were staying in Gibeah Two Hebrew manuscripts; most Hebrew manuscripts Geba, a variant of Gibeah in Benjamin, while the Philistines camped at Mikmash. 17Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three detachments. One turned toward Ophrah in the vicinity of Shual,

18another toward Beth Horon, and the third toward the borderland overlooking the Valley of Zeboyim facing the wilderness. 19Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” 20So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plow points, mattocks, axes and sickles Septuagint; Hebrew plow points sharpened.

21The price was two-thirds of a shekel That is, about 1/4 ounce or about 8 grams for sharpening plow points and mattocks, and a third of a shekel That is, about 1/8 ounce or about 4 grams for sharpening forks and axes and for repointing goads.

22So on the day of the battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in his hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them. Jonathan Attacks the Philistines 23Now a detachment of Philistines had gone out to the pass at Mikmash.

1One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father. 2Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men,

3among whom was Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod. He was a son of Ichabod’s brother Ahitub son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD ’s priest in Shiloh. No one was aware that Jonathan had left. 4On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez and the other Seneh.

5One cliff stood to the north toward Mikmash, the other to the south toward Geba.

6Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”

7“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.” 8Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. 9If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them.

10But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands.” 11So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.”

12The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.” So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel.” 13Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him.

14In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

Israel Routs the Philistines 15Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God. Or a terrible panic 16Saul’s lookouts at Gibeah in Benjamin saw the army melting away in all directions.

17Then Saul said to the men who were with him, “Muster the forces and see who has left us.” When they did, it was Jonathan and his armor-bearer who were not there. 18Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God.” (At that time it was with the Israelites.) Hebrew; Septuagint “Bring the ephod.” (At that time he wore the ephod before the Israelites.)

19While Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the Philistine camp increased more and more. So Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” 20Then Saul and all his men assembled and went to the battle. They found the Philistines in total confusion, striking each other with their swords. 21Those Hebrews who had previously been with the Philistines and had gone up with them to their camp went over to the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. 22When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit.

23So on that day the LORD saved Israel, and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven.

Jonathan Eats Honey 24Now the Israelites were in distress that day, because Saul had bound the people under an oath, saying, “Cursed be anyone who eats food before evening comes, before I have avenged myself on my enemies!” So none of the troops tasted food. 25The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. 26When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. 27But Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath, so he reached out the end of the staff that was in his hand and dipped it into the honeycomb. He raised his hand to his mouth, and his eyes brightened. Or his strength was renewed; similarly in verse 29

28Then one of the soldiers told him, “Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, ‘Cursed be anyone who eats food today!’ That is why the men are faint.” 29Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey.

30How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?” 31That day, after the Israelites had struck down the Philistines from Mikmash to Aijalon, they were exhausted. 32They pounced on the plunder and, taking sheep, cattle and calves, they butchered them on the ground and ate them, together with the blood.

33Then someone said to Saul, “Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it.” “You have broken faith,” he said. “Roll a large stone over here at once.”

34Then he said, “Go out among the men and tell them, ‘Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.’ ” So everyone brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there.

35Then Saul built an altar to the LORD ; it was the first time he had done this.

36Saul said, “Let us go down and pursue the Philistines by night and plunder them till dawn, and let us not leave one of them alive.” “Do whatever seems best to you,” they replied. But the priest said, “Let us inquire of God here.”

37So Saul asked God, “Shall I go down and pursue the Philistines? Will you give them into Israel’s hand?” But God did not answer him that day. 38Saul therefore said, “Come here, all you who are leaders of the army, and let us find out what sin has been committed today.

39As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if the guilt lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” But not one of them said a word.

40Saul then said to all the Israelites, “You stand over there; I and Jonathan my son will stand over here.” “Do what seems best to you,” they replied. 41Then Saul prayed to the LORD, the God of Israel, “Why have you not answered your servant today? If the fault is in me or my son Jonathan, respond with Urim, but if the men of Israel are at fault, Septuagint; Hebrew does not have “Why… at fault. respond with Thummim.” Jonathan and Saul were taken by lot, and the men were cleared.

42Saul said, “Cast the lot between me and Jonathan my son.” And Jonathan was taken.

43Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” So Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the end of my staff. And now I must die!”

44Saul said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if you do not die, Jonathan.”

45But the men said to Saul, “Should Jonathan die—he who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Never! As surely as the LORD lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he did this today with God’s help.” So the men rescued Jonathan, and he was not put to death.

46Then Saul stopped pursuing the Philistines, and they withdrew to their own land. 47After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint king of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them. Hebrew; Septuagint he was victorious

48He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them.

Saul’s Family 49Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. 50His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle.

51Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel. 52All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.

The LORD Rejects Saul as King 1Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD . 2This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.

3Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verses 8, 9, 15, 18, 20 and 21. all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ” 4So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim—two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand from Judah. 5Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine.

6Then he said to the Kenites, “Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites. 7Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. 8He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword.

9But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves Or the grown bulls; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain. and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. 10Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel:

11“I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the LORD all that night.

12Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”

13When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD ’s instructions.”

14But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

15Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”

16“Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.” “Tell me,” Saul replied. 17Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’

19Why did you not obey the LORD ? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD ?” 20“But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.

21The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”

22But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

23For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” 24Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD ’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.

25Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD .”

26But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!” 27As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you.

29He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” 30Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD your God.”

31So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD .

32Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites.” Agag came to him in chains. The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain. And he thought, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”

33But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so will your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel put Agag to death before the LORD at Gilgal. 34Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Samuel Anoints David 1The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

2But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD .’

3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

4Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

5Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD . Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD ’s anointed stands here before the LORD .”

7But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 8Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.”

11So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

David in Saul’s Service 14Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil Or and a harmful; similarly in verses 15, 16 and 23 spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.

16Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.”

17So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”

18One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.” 19Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”

20So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul. 21David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers.

22Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.” 23Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.

David and Goliath 1Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. 2Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.

3The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. 4A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. That is, about 9 feet 9 inches or about 3 meters 5He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels That is, about 125 pounds or about 58 kilograms ; 6on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back.

7His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. That is, about 15 pounds or about 6.9 kilograms His shield bearer went ahead of him. 8Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.”

11On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. 12Now David was the son of an Ephrathite named Jesse, who was from Bethlehem in Judah. Jesse had eight sons, and in Saul’s time he was very old. 13Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war: The firstborn was Eliab; the second, Abinadab; and the third, Shammah. 14David was the youngest. The three oldest followed Saul,

15but David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.

16For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand. 17Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah That is, probably about 36 pounds or about 16 kilograms of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance Or some token; or some pledge of spoils from them.

19They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.” 20Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 23As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it.

24Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.

25Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”

26David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

27They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”

28When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.” 29“Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before.

31What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

32David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

33Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.

37The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.” 38Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.

39David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.

40Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. 41Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

44“Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” 45David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.

47All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD ’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 48As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.

49Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

50So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

51David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. 52Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew of a valley and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron.

53When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.

54David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.

55As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?” Abner replied, “As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.”

56The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.”

57As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. 58“Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him. David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”

Saul’s Growing Fear of David 1After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

4Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

5Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well. 6When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres.

7As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” 8Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”

9And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. 10The next day an evil Or a harmful spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand

11and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. 12Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul. 13So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. 14In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him. 15When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.

16But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.

17Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD .” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!” 18But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?”

19So Or However, when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah. 20Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased.

21“I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”

22Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’ ”

23They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.” 24When Saul’s servants told him what David had said,

25Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’ ” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines. 26When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed,

27David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage. 28When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David,

29Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days. 30The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.

Saul Tries to Kill David 1Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David 2and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there.

3I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.” 4Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly.

5He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”

6Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death.”

7So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.

8Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him. 9But an evil Or But a harmful spirit from the LORD came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre,

10Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape. 11Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.” 12So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped.

13Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.

14When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.” 15Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.”

16But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.

17Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?” Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’ ” 18When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; 20so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. 21Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied.

22Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” “Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said. 23So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

David and Jonathan 1Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, “What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?”

2“Never!” Jonathan replied. “You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without letting me know. Why would he hide this from me? It isn’t so!”

3But David took an oath and said, “Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, ‘Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.’ Yet as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.”

4Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do for you.” 5So David said, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon feast, and I am supposed to dine with the king; but let me go and hide in the field until the evening of the day after tomorrow. 6If your father misses me at all, tell him, ‘David earnestly asked my permission to hurry to Bethlehem, his hometown, because an annual sacrifice is being made there for his whole clan.’ 7If he says, ‘Very well,’ then your servant is safe. But if he loses his temper, you can be sure that he is determined to harm me.

8As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the LORD . If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?”

9“Never!” Jonathan said. “If I had the least inkling that my father was determined to harm you, wouldn’t I tell you?”

10David asked, “Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?”

11“Come,” Jonathan said, “let’s go out into the field.” So they went there together. 12Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the LORD, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13But if my father intends to harm you, may the LORD deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father. 14But show me unfailing kindness like the LORD ’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed,

15and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” 16So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the LORD call David’s enemies to account.”

17And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. 18Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty. 19The day after tomorrow, toward evening, go to the place where you hid when this trouble began, and wait by the stone Ezel. 20I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the LORD lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the LORD has sent you away.

23And about the matter you and I discussed—remember, the LORD is witness between you and me forever.” 24So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came, the king sat down to eat. 25He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, Septuagint; Hebrew wall. Jonathan arose and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 26Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean—surely he is unclean.”

27But the next day, the second day of the month, David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28Jonathan answered, “David earnestly asked me for permission to go to Bethlehem.

29He said, ‘Let me go, because our family is observing a sacrifice in the town and my brother has ordered me to be there. If I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away to see my brothers.’ That is why he has not come to the king’s table.” 30Saul’s anger flared up at Jonathan and he said to him, “You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don’t I know that you have sided with the son of Jesse to your own shame and to the shame of the mother who bore you?

31As long as the son of Jesse lives on this earth, neither you nor your kingdom will be established. Now send someone to bring him to me, for he must die!” 32“Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” Jonathan asked his father.

33But Saul hurled his spear at him to kill him. Then Jonathan knew that his father intended to kill David.

34Jonathan got up from the table in fierce anger; on that second day of the feast he did not eat, because he was grieved at his father’s shameful treatment of David. 35In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David. He had a small boy with him, 36and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot.” As the boy ran, he shot an arrow beyond him. 37When the boy came to the place where Jonathan’s arrow had fallen, Jonathan called out after him, “Isn’t the arrow beyond you?” 38Then he shouted, “Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy picked up the arrow and returned to his master. 39(The boy knew nothing about all this; only Jonathan and David knew.)

40Then Jonathan gave his weapons to the boy and said, “Go, carry them back to town.”

41After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. 42Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’ ” Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town. In Hebrew texts this sentence (20:42b) is numbered 21:1.

David at Nob 1In Hebrew texts 21:1-15 is numbered 21:2-16. David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?” 2David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place.

3Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.”

4But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.” 5David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever Or from us in the past few days since I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!”

6So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.

7Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the LORD ; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd.

8David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.”

9The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.” David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

David at Gath 10That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath.

11But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “ ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” 12David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath.

13So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. 14Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”

David at Adullam and Mizpah 1David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there.

2All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him. 3From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?”

4So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold.

5But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.

Saul Kills the Priests of Nob 6Now Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. And Saul was seated, spear in hand, under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing at his side. 7He said to them, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds?

8Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today.” 9But Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, said, “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelek son of Ahitub at Nob.

10Ahimelek inquired of the LORD for him; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” 11Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelek son of Ahitub and all the men of his family, who were the priests at Nob, and they all came to the king.

12Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” “Yes, my lord,” he answered.

13Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today?” 14Ahimelek answered the king, “Who of all your servants is as loyal as David, the king’s son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard and highly respected in your household?

15Was that day the first time I inquired of God for him? Of course not! Let not the king accuse your servant or any of his father’s family, for your servant knows nothing at all about this whole affair.”

16But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelek, you and your whole family.”

17Then the king ordered the guards at his side: “Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me.” But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the LORD . 18The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.

19He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep. 20But one son of Ahimelek son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to join David. 21He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD . 22Then David said to Abiathar, “That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your whole family. 23Stay with me; don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”

David Saves Keilah 1When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,”

2he inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The LORD answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”

3But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!” 4Once again David inquired of the LORD, and the LORD answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand.” 5So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah.

6(Now Abiathar son of Ahimelek had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah.)

Saul Pursues David 7Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, “God has delivered him into my hands, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars.”

8And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. 9When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.” 10David said, “ LORD, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me.

11Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? LORD, God of Israel, tell your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will.”

12Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will.”

13So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

14David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. 15While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Or he was afraid because Saul had come out to take his life. 16And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17“Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.”

18The two of them made a covenant before the LORD . Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh. 19The Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon?

20Now, Your Majesty, come down whenever it pleases you to do so, and we will be responsible for giving him into your hands.” 21Saul replied, “The LORD bless you for your concern for me. 22Go and get more information. Find out where David usually goes and who has seen him there. They tell me he is very crafty.

23Find out about all the hiding places he uses and come back to me with definite information. Then I will go with you; if he is in the area, I will track him down among all the clans of Judah.” 24So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Desert of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon.

25Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David. 26Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.” 28Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth. Sela Hammahlekoth means rock of parting. 29And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi. In Hebrew texts this verse (23:29) is numbered 24:1.

David Spares Saul’s Life 1In Hebrew texts 24:1-22 is numbered 24:22-23. After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.”

2So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. 3He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.

4The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said Or “Today the Lord is saying to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’ ” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD ’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD .”

7With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way. 8Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the LORD ’s anointed.’ 11See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.

13As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you. 14“Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea?

15May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.” 16When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17“You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands.

21Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.” 22So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.

David, Nabal and Abigail 1Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David moved down into the Desert of Paran. Hebrew and some Septuagint manuscripts; other Septuagint manuscripts Maon 2A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel.

3His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite. 4While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. 5So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name.

6Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours! 7“ ‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing.

8Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’ ”

9When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited. 10Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days.

11Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” 12David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word.

13David said to his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So they did, and David strapped his on as well. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies. 14One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. 15Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. 16Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them.

17Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.” 18Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs That is, probably about 60 pounds or about 27 kilograms of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.

19Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good.

22May God deal with David, Some Septuagint manuscripts; Hebrew with David’s enemies be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!” 23When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26And now, my lord, as surely as the LORD your God lives and as you live, since the LORD has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal.

27And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you. 28“Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The LORD your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the LORD ’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30When the LORD has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel,

31my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the LORD your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.” 32David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.

34Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”

35Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.” 36When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone.

38About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died.

39When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the LORD, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.” Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.

40His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.” 41She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife. 43David had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both were his wives. 44But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Paltiel Hebrew Palti, a variant of Paltiel son of Laish, who was from Gallim.

David Again Spares Saul’s Life 1The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?” 2So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search there for David. 3Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there,

4he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.

5Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.

6David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?” “I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.

7So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.

8Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.” 9But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD ’s anointed and be guiltless? 10As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.

11But the LORD forbid that I should lay a hand on the LORD ’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”

12So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the LORD had put them into a deep sleep. 13Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them.

14He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?” Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?” 15David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king.

16What you have done is not good. As surely as the LORD lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the LORD ’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”

17Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?” David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? 19Now let my lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the LORD has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the LORD ! They have driven me today from my share in the LORD ’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’

20Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the LORD . The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

21Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.” 22“Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23The LORD rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The LORD delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the LORD ’s anointed.

24As surely as I valued your life today, so may the LORD value my life and deliver me from all trouble.” 25Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.

David Among the Philistines 1But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.” 2So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maok king of Gath. 3David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal.

4When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.

5Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” 6So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.

7David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months. 8Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.)

9Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish. 10When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” 11He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’ ” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. 12Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so obnoxious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant for life.”

1In those days the Philistines gathered their forces to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “You must understand that you and your men will accompany me in the army.”

2David said, “Then you will see for yourself what your servant can do.” Achish replied, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”

Saul and the Medium at Endor 3Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. 4The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all Israel and set up camp at Gilboa. 5When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. 6He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.

7Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.” “There is one in Endor,” they said.

8So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”

9But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”

10Saul swore to her by the LORD, “As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this.”

11Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said.

12When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”

13The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure Or see spirits; or see gods coming up out of the earth.”

14“What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

15Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” 16Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has departed from you and become your enemy? 17The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. 18Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today.

19The LORD will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”

20Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and all that night. 21When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do.

22Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”

23He refused and said, “I will not eat.” But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch. 24The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast. 25Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.

Achish Sends David Back to Ziklag 1The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel. 2As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish.

3The commanders of the Philistines asked, “What about these Hebrews?” Achish replied, “Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him.” 4But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said, “Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master’s favor than by taking the heads of our own men?

5Isn’t this the David they sang about in their dances: “ ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” 6So Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as the LORD lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until today, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don’t approve of you.

7Now turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers.”

8“But what have I done?” asked David. “What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can’t I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?” 9Achish answered, “I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, ‘He must not go up with us into battle.’

10Now get up early, along with your master’s servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light.” 11So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

David Destroys the Amalekites 1David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it,

2and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way. 3When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.

6David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. 7Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him,

8and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.” 9David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind.

10Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit. 11They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat—

12part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.

13David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago.

14We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.”

15David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?” He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.”