1 Samuel 22:1-29:1View Full Chapter
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
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.
David Spares Saul’s Life
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
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.
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.
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
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,
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
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
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.