David Spares Saul a Second Time
1Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, #Is. 10:30“Is David not hiding in the hill of Hachilah, opposite Jeshimon?” 2Then Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, having #1 Sam. 23:19; Ps. 54:titlethree thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph. 3And Saul encamped in the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite Jeshimon, by the road. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness. 4David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul had indeed come.
5So David arose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, and #1 Sam. 13:2; 24:2Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. Now Saul lay within the camp, with the people encamped all around him. 6Then David answered, and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai #1 Sam. 14:50, 51; 17:55the son of Zeruiah, brother of #1 Chr. 2:16Joab, saying, “Who will #2 Sam. 2:13go down with me to Saul in the camp?”
And #Judg. 7:10, 11Abishai said, “I will go down with you.”
7So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Saul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. And Abner and the people lay all around him. 8Then Abishai said to David, #2 Sam. 2:18, 24“God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!”
9But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; #1 Sam. 24:4for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” 10David said furthermore, “As the Lord lives, #1 Sam. 24:6, 7; 2 Sam. 1:14, 16the Lord shall strike him, or #(Deut. 32:35); 1 Sam. 25:26, 38; (Luke 18:7; Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30)his day shall come to die, or he shall #Gen. 47:29; Deut. 31:14; (Job 7:1; 14:5); Ps. 37:13go out to battle and perish. 11#1 Sam. 31:6The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. But please, take now the spear and the jug of water that are by his head, and let us go.” 12So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul’s head, and they got away; and no man saw or knew it or awoke. For they were all asleep, because #1 Sam. 24:6–12; (Rom. 12:17, 19)a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.
13Now David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off, a great distance being between them. 14And David called out to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Do you not answer, Abner?”
Then Abner answered and said, “Who are you, calling out to the king?”
15So David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy your lord the king. 16This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not guarded your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the jug of water that was by his head.”
17Then Saul knew David’s voice, and said, #Gen. 2:21; 15:12; Is. 29:10“Is that your voice, my son David?”
David said, “It is my voice, my lord, O king.” 18And he said, #1 Sam. 24:16“Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? For what have I done, or what evil is in my hand? 19Now therefore, please, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant: If the Lord has #1 Sam. 24:9, 11–14stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, may they be cursed before the Lord, #2 Sam. 16:11; 24:1for they have driven me out this day from sharing in the #Deut. 4:27, 28inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20So now, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord. For the king of Israel has come out to seek #2 Sam. 14:16; 20:19a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21Then Saul said, #1 Sam. 24:14“I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.”
22And David answered and said, “Here is the king’s spear. Let one of the young men come over and get it. 23#Ex. 9:27; 1 Sam. 15:24, 30; 24:17; 2 Sam. 12:13May the Lord #1 Sam. 24:19; Ps. 7:8; 18:20; 62:12repay every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. 24And indeed, as your life was valued much this day in my eyes, so let my life be valued much in the eyes of the Lord, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.”
25Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, my son David! You shall both do great things and also still #2 Sam. 22:21prevail.”
So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.