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26
David Spares Saul's Life Again
1Some people from Ziph went to Saul at Gibeah. They said, "David is hiding on the hill of Hakilah. It faces Jeshimon."
2So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph. He took 3,000 of the best soldiers in Israel with him. They went to the desert to look for David. 3Saul set up his camp beside the road. It was on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon.
But David stayed in the desert. He saw that Saul had followed him there. 4So he sent out scouts. From them he learned that Saul had arrived.
5Then David started out. He went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner were lying down. Saul was lying inside the camp. The army was camped all around him. Abner was commander of the army. He was the son of Ner.
6Then David spoke to Ahimelech, the Hittite. He also spoke to Joab's brother Abishai, the son of Zeruiah. He asked them, "Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?"
"I'll go with you," said Abishai.
7So that night David and Abishai went into the camp. They found Saul lying asleep inside the camp. His spear was stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying asleep around him.
8Abishai said to David, "Today God has handed your enemy over to you. So let me pin him to the ground. I can do it with one jab of my spear. I won't even have to strike him twice."
9But David said to Abishai, "Don't destroy him! No one can lay a hand on the Lord's anointed king and not be guilty. 10You can be sure that the Lord lives," he said. "And you can be just as sure that the Lord himself will strike Saul down. Perhaps he'll die a natural death. Or perhaps he'll go into battle and be killed. 11May the Lord keep me from laying a hand on his anointed king. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head. Then let's leave."
12So David took the spear and water jug that were near Saul's head. Then he and Abishai left. No one saw them. No one knew about what they had done. In fact, no one even woke up. Everyone was sleeping. That's because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep.
13David went across to the other side of the valley. He stood on top of a hill far away from Saul's camp. There was a wide space between them. 14He called out to the army and to Abner, the son of Ner. He said, "Abner! Aren't you going to answer me?"
Abner replied, "Who is calling out to the king?"
15David said, "You are a great soldier, aren't you? There isn't anyone else like you in Israel. So why didn't you guard the king? He's your master, isn't he? Someone came into the camp to destroy him. 16You didn't guard him. And that isn't good. You can be sure that the Lord lives. And you can be just as sure that you and your men are worthy of death. That's because you didn't guard your master. He's the Lord's anointed king. Look around you. Where are the king's spear and water jug that were near his head?"
17Saul recognized David's voice. He said, "My son David, is that your voice?"
David replied, "Yes it is, King Saul, my master." 18He continued, "Why are you chasing me? What evil thing have I done? What am I guilty of?
19"King Saul, please listen to what I'm saying. Was it the Lord who made you angry with me? If it was, may he accept my offering. Was it people who made you angry at me? If it was, may the Lord send down a curse on them. They have now driven me from my share of the Lord's land. By doing that, they might as well have said, 'Go and serve other gods.'
20"Don't spill my blood on the ground far away from where the Lord lives. King Saul, you have come out to look for nothing but a flea. It's as if you were hunting a partridge in the mountains."
21Then Saul said, "I have sinned. My son David, come back. Today you thought my life was very special. So I won't try to harm you again. I've really acted like a foolish person. I've made a huge mistake."
22"Here's your spear," David answered. "Send one of your young men over to get it.
23"The Lord rewards everyone for doing what is right and being faithful. He handed you over to me today. But I wouldn't lay a hand on you. You are the Lord's anointed king. 24Today I thought your life had great value. In the same way, may the Lord think of my life as having great value. May he save me from all trouble."
25Then Saul said to David, "My son David, may the Lord bless you. You will do great things. You will also have great success."
So David went on his way. And Saul returned home.
26
CHAPTER 26.
1And the men of Ziph came to Saul in Gabaa, saying: Behold David is hid in the hill of Hachila, which is over against the wilderness.
2And Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having with him three thousand chosen men of Israel, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
3And Saul encamped in Gabaa Hachila, which was over against the wilderness in the way: and David abode in the wilderness. And seeing that Saul was come after him into the wilderness,
4He sent spies, and learned that he was most certainly come thither.
5And David arose secretly, and came to the place where Saul was: and when he had beheld the place, wherein Saul slept, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his army, and Saul sleeping in a tent, and the rest of the multitude round about him,
6David spoke to Achimelech the Hethite, and Abisai the son of Sarvia the brother of Joab, saying: Who will go down with me to Saul into the camp? And Abisai said: I will go with thee.
7So David and Abisai came to the people by night, and found Saul lying and sleeping in the tent, and his spear fixed in the ground at his head: and Abner and the people sleeping round about him.
8And Abisai said to David: God hath shut up thy enemy this day into thy hands: now then I will run him through with my spear even to the earth at once, and there shall be no need of a second time.
9And David said to Abisai: Kill him not: for who shall put forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and shall be guiltless?
10And David said: As the Lord liveth, unless the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go down to battle and perish:
11The Lord be merciful unto me, that I extend not my hand upon the Lord's anointed. But now take the spear, which is at his head, and the cup of water, and let us go.
12So David took the spear, and the cup of water which was at Saul's head, and they went away: and no man saw it, or knew it, or awaked, but they were all asleep, for a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them.
13And when David was gone over to the other side, and stood on the top of the hill afar off, and a good space was between them,
14David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying: Wilt thou not answer, Abner? And Abner answering, said: Who art thou, that criest, and disturbest the king?
15And David said to Abner: Art not thou a man? and who is like thee in Israel? why then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to kill the king thy lord.
16This thing is not good, that thou hast done: as the Lord liveth, you are the sons of death, who have not kept your master, the Lord's anointed. And now where is the king's spear, and the cup of water, which was at his head?
17And Saul knew David's voice, and said: Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said: It is my voice, my lord the king.
18And he said: Wherefore doth my lord persecute his servant? What have I done? or what evil is there in my hand?
19Now therefore hear, I pray thee, my lord the king, the words of thy servant: If the Lord stir thee up against me, let him accept of sacrifice: but if the sons of men, they are cursed in the sight of the Lord, who have cast me out this day, that I should not dwell in the inheritance of the Lord, saying: Go, serve strange gods.
20And now let not my blood be shed upon the earth before the Lord: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as the partridge is hunted in the mountains.
21And Saul said: I have sinned, return, my son David, for I will no more do thee harm, because my life hath been precious in thy eyes this day: for it appeareth that I have done foolishly, and have been ignorant in very many things.
22And David answering, said: Behold the king's spear: let one of the king's servants come over and fetch it.
23And the Lord will reward every one according to his justice, and his faithfulness: for the Lord hath delivered thee this day into my hand, and I would not put forth my hand against the Lord's anointed.
24And as thy life hath been much set by this day in my eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me from all distress.
25Then Saul said to David: Blessed art thou, my son David: and truly doing thou shalt do, and prevailing thou shalt prevail. And David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.