David Again Lets Saul Live
1 Once again, some people from Ziph went to Gibeah to talk with Saul. “David has a hideout on Mount Hachilah near Jeshimon out in the desert,” they told him.
2 Saul took 3,000 of Israel's best soldiers and went to look for David there in Ziph Desert. 3 Saul set up camp on Mount Hachilah, which is across the road from Jeshimon. But David was hiding out in the desert.
When David heard that Saul was following him, 4 he sent some spies to find out if it was true. 5 Then he sneaked up to Saul's camp. He noticed that Saul and his army commander Abner the son of Ner were sleeping in the middle of the camp, with soldiers sleeping all around them. 6 David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab's brother Abishai, “Which one of you will go with me into Saul's camp?”
“I will!” Abishai answered.
7 That same night, David and Abishai crept into the camp. Saul was sleeping, and his spear was stuck in the ground not far from his head. Abner and the soldiers were sound asleep all around him.
8 Abishai whispered, “This time God has let you get your hands on your enemy! I'll pin him to the ground with one thrust of his own spear.”
9 “Don't kill him!” David whispered back. “The Lord will punish anyone who kills his chosen king. 10 As surely as the Lord lives, the Lord will kill Saul, or Saul will die a natural death or be killed in battle. 11 But I pray that the Lord will keep me from harming his chosen king. Let's grab his spear and his water jar and get out of here!”
12 David took the spear and the water jar, then left the camp. None of Saul's soldiers knew what had happened or even woke up—the Lord had made all of them fall sound asleep. 13 David and Abishai crossed the valley and went to the top of the next hill, where they were at a safe distance. 14 “Abner!” David shouted toward Saul's army. “Can you hear me?”
Abner shouted back. “Who dares disturb the king?”
15 “Abner, what kind of a man are you?” David replied. “Aren't you supposed to be the best soldier in Israel? Then why didn't you protect your king? Anyone who went into your camp could have killed him tonight. 16 You're a complete failure! I swear by the living Lord that you and your men deserve to die for not protecting the Lord's chosen king. Look and see if you can find the king's spear and the water jar that were near his head.”
17 Saul could tell it was David's voice, and he called out, “David, my son! Is that you?”
“Yes it is, Your Majesty. 18 Why are you hunting me down? Have I done something wrong, or have I committed a crime? 19 Please listen to what I have to say. If the Lord has turned you against me, maybe a sacrifice will make him change his mind. But if some people have turned you against me, I hope the Lord will punish them! They have forced me to leave the land that belongs to the Lord and have told me to worship foreign gods. 20 Don't let me die in a land far away from the Lord. I'm no more important than a flea! Why should the king of Israel hunt me down as if I were a bird in the mountains?”
21 “David, you had the chance to kill me today. But you didn't. I was very wrong about you. It was a terrible mistake for me to try to kill you. I've acted like a fool, but I'll never try to harm you again. You're like a son to me, so please come back.”
22 “Your Majesty, here's your spear! Let one of your soldiers come and get it. 23 The Lord put you in my power today, but you are his chosen king and I wouldn't harm you. The Lord rewards people who are faithful and live right. 24 I spared your life today, and I pray that the Lord will spare my life and keep me safe.”
25 “David, my son, I pray that the Lord will bless you and make you successful!”
David in Philistia
Saul went back home. David also left,
© Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®) © 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.