1 WHEN SAUL returned from following the Philistines, he was told, Behold, David is in the Wilderness of En-gedi.
2 Then Saul took 3,000 chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men among the Rocks of the Wild Goats.
3 He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the cave's innermost recesses.
4 David's men said to him, Behold the day of which the Lord said to you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hands and you shall do to him as seems good to you. Then David arose [in the darkness] and stealthily cut off the skirt of Saul's robe.
5 Afterward, David's heart smote him because he had cut off Saul's skirt.
6 He said to his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this to my master, the Lord's anointed, to put my hand out against him, when he is the anointed of the Lord.
7 So David checked his men with these words and did not let them rise against Saul. But Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
8 David also arose 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 earth and did obeisance.
9 And David said to Saul, Why do you listen to the words of men who say, David seeks to do you harm?
10 Behold, your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hands in the cave. Some told me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed.
11 See, my father, see the skirt of your robe in my hand! Since I cut off the skirt of your robe and did not kill you, you know and see that there is no evil or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, yet you hunt my life to take it.
12 May the Lord judge between me and you, and may the Lord avenge me upon you, but my hand shall not be upon you.
13 As the proverb of the ancients says, Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness; but my hand shall not be against you.
14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog? After a flea?
15 May the Lord be judge and judge between me and you, and see and plead my cause, and deliver me out of your hands. [Ps. 142.]
16 When David had said this to Saul, Saul said, Is this your voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice and wept.
17 He said to David, You are more upright in God's eyes than I, for you have repaid me good, but I have rewarded you evil.
18 You have declared today how you have dealt well with me; for when the Lord gave me into your hand, you did not kill me.
19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away unharmed? Therefore may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done for me this day.
20 And now, behold, I well know that you shall surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hands.
21 Swear now therefore to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me and that you will not destroy my name out of my father's house.
22 David gave Saul his oath; and Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.