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David Spares Saul’s Life
1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the #I.e. an oasis overlooking the Dead (Salt) Sea.Wilderness of Engedi.”2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to search for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.3 On the way he came to the #This was a wall of stones that had been unearthed from the field and stacked on each other as an enclosure for the flocks. The wall probably was built from the mouth of the cave and back.sheepfolds where there was a cave; and Saul went in to #This was a wall of stones that had been unearthed from the field and stacked on each other as an enclosure for the flocks. The wall probably was built from the mouth of the cave and back.relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the cave’s innermost recesses.4 David’s men said to him, “Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will hand over your enemy to you, and you shall do to him as seems good to you.’” Then David arose [in the darkness] and stealthily cut off the hem (edge) of Saul’s robe.5 Afterward, David’s #Lit heart struck him.conscience bothered him because he had cut off the hem of Saul’s robe.6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lords anointed, to put out my hand against him, since he is the anointed of the Lord.”7 So David strongly rebuked his men with these words and did not let them rise up against Saul. Saul got up, left the cave and went on his way.
8 Then David also got up afterward and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and lay himself face down.9 David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘David seeks to harm you?’10 Behold, your eyes have seen today how the Lord had given you into my hand in the cave. Some told me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not reach out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lords anointed.’11 Look, my father! Indeed, see the hem of your robe in my hand! Since I cut off the hem of your robe and did not kill you, know and understand [without question] that there is no evil or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait to take my life.12 May the Lord judge between me and you; and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you.13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you.14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue [with three thousand men]? A dead dog, a single flea?15 May the Lord be the judge and render judgment between me and you; and may He see and plead my cause and vindicate me by saving me from your hand.”
16 When David had finished saying these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Then Saul raised his voice and wept.17 He said to David, “You are more righteous and upright [in God’s eyes] than I; for you have done good to me, but I have done evil to you.18 You have declared today the good that you have done to me, for when the Lord put me into your hand, you did not kill me.19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away #Lit on a good road.unharmed? So may the Lord reward you with good in return for what you have done for me this day.20 Now, behold, I know that you will certainly be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.21 So now swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s household (extended family).”22 David gave Saul his oath; and Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the mountain stronghold.
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David Spares Saul's Life
1When Saul came back from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David was in the wilderness near Engedi. 2Saul took three thousand of the best soldiers in Israel and went looking for David and his men east of Wild Goat Rocks. 3#Ps 57 Title; Ps 142 Title He came to a cave close to some sheep pens by the road and went in to relieve himself. It happened to be the very cave in which David and his men were hiding far back in the cave. 4They said to him, “This is your chance! The Lord has told you that he would put your enemy in your power and you could do to him whatever you wanted to.” David crept over and cut off a piece of Saul's robe without Saul's knowing it. 5But then David's conscience began to hurt, 6#1 S 26.11 and he said to his men, “May the Lord keep me from doing any harm to my master, whom the Lord chose as king! I must not harm him in the least, because he is the king chosen by the Lord!” 7So David convinced his men that they should not attack Saul.
Saul got up, left the cave, and started away. 8Then David went out after him and called to him, “Your Majesty!” Saul turned around, and David bowed down to the ground in respect 9and said, “Why do you listen to people who say that I am trying to harm you? 10You can see for yourself that just now in the cave the Lord put you in my power. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I felt sorry for you and said that I would not harm you in the least, because you are the one whom the Lord chose to be king. 11Look, my father, look at the piece of your robe I am holding! I could have killed you, but instead I only cut this off. This should convince you that I have no thought of rebelling against you or of harming you. You are hunting me down to kill me, even though I have not done you any wrong. 12May the Lord judge which one of us is wrong! May he punish you for your action against me, for I will not harm you in the least. 13You know the old saying, ‘Evil is done only by evil people.’ And so I will not harm you. 14#1 S 26.20 Look at what the king of Israel is trying to kill! Look at what he is chasing! A dead dog, a flea! 15The Lord will judge, and he will decide which one of us is wrong. May he look into the matter, defend me, and save me from you.”
16When David had finished speaking, Saul said, “Is that really you, David my son?” And he started crying. 17Then he said to David, “You are right, and I am wrong. You have been so good to me, while I have done such wrong to you! 18Today you have shown how good you are to me, because you did not kill me, even though the Lord put me in your power. 19How often does someone catch an enemy and then let him get away unharmed? The Lord bless you for what you have done to me today! 20Now I am sure that you will be king of Israel and that the kingdom will continue under your rule. 21But promise me in the Lord's name that you will spare my descendants, so that my name and my family's name will not be completely forgotten.” 22David promised that he would.
Then Saul went back home, and David and his men went back to their hiding place.