David Again Spares Saul
1The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah opposite Jeshimon?” 2Then Saul got up and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, and three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
3Now Saul was on the hill of Hakilah, which is opposite Jeshimon by the road, but David was staying in the wilderness. When he realized that Saul had come to the wilderness after him, 4David sent spies, and he learned that Saul had come for certain.#Literally “to be established” 5Then David got up and came to the place where Saul had encamped, and David saw the place where Saul was lying down, as well as#Literally “and” Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army. (Now Saul was lying in the encampment, and the army was encamping around him.)
6David answered and said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah the brother of Joab, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul, in the camp?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.” 7So David and Abishai came to the army by night, and there was#Literally “look” or “behold” Saul lying asleep in the encampment with#Hebrew “and” his spear thrust into the ground near his head, and Abner and the army were lying all around him. 8Then Abishai said to David, “God has handed over your enemy into your hand today! So then, please let me pin him to the ground with the spear#Literally “let me strike him please with the spear and in the ground” one time,#Literally “one occurrence” and I will not strike him twice.”#Literally “I will not repeat for him” 9But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy#Or “kill” him! For who has stretched out his hand against Yahweh’s anointed one and remained blameless?” 10And David said, “As Yahweh lives,#Literally “The life of Yahweh” certainly#Literally “if surely” Yahweh will strike him, or his day will come and he will die, or he will go down in the battle and perish.#Literally “will be carried away” 11Yahweh forbid me#Literally “Far be it from me from Yahweh” from stretching out my hand against Yahweh’s anointed one! So then, please take the spear that is near his head and the jar of water, and let us go.” 12So David took the spear and the jar of water from near Saul’s head, and they went away. No one saw, no one knew, and no one awakened,#Literally “there was not anyone seeing and there was not anyone knowing and there was not anyone awakening” for all of them were sleeping because a deep sleep of Yahweh had fallen upon them.
13Then David went to the other side and stood on the top of the hill at a distance; the distance was great between them. 14David called out to the army and to Abner the son of Ner, “Will you not answer, Abner?” And Abner answered and said, “Who are you that you call to the king?” 15So David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why did you not keep watch over your lord the king? For one of the people came to destroy#Or “to kill” your lord the king. 16This thing that you have done is not good. As Yahweh lives,#Literally “the life of Yahweh” surely you people deserve to die#Literally “you are sons of death” since you have not kept watch over your lord, over Yahweh’s anointed one! So then, see where the king’s spear is and the jar of water that was near his head!” 17Then Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord the king.” 18Then he said, “Why is my lord pursuing after his servant? For what have I done? And what evil is in my hand? 19And so then, please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant: If Yahweh has incited you against me, may he delight in an offering; but if it is mortals,#Literally “it is the sons of humankind” may they be accursed before#Literally “to the face of” Yahweh, for they have driven me away today from sharing in the inheritance of Yahweh, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods!’ 20And so then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away from#Literally “from before” the presence of Yahweh, for the king of Israel has gone out to seek a single flea, as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21Then Saul said, “I have sinned! Come back, David my son, for I will not harm you again, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Look, I have acted like a fool and have made a terrible mistake.”#Literally “have gone greatly astray” 22David answered and said, “Here is the king’s spear; let one of the young men#Or “servants” come over and take it. 23Yahweh repays to each one his righteousness and his faithfulness, for Yahweh gave you into my hand today, but I was not willing to stretch out my hand against Yahweh’s anointed. 24Look, as your life was precious in my eyes this day, may my life be great in the eyes of Yahweh, and may he rescue me from all trouble.” 25Then Saul said to David, “Blessed are you, my son David; you will not only do many things, but also will always succeed!”#Literally “you will do many things and also always you will prevail” Then David went on his way and Saul returned to his place.