1 THE ZIPHITES came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, Does not David hide himself on the hill of Hachilah, east of Jeshimon?
2 So Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, with 3,000 chosen men of Israel, to seek David [there].
3 Saul encamped on the hill of Hachilah, which is beside the road east of Jeshimon. But David remained in the wilderness. And when he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness,
4 David sent out spies and learned that Saul had actually come.
5 David arose and came to the place where Saul had encamped, and saw where Saul lay with Abner son of Ner, commander of his army; and Saul was lying in the encampment, with the army encamped around him.
6 Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, Who will go down with me into the camp of Saul? And Abishai said, I will go down with you.
7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there Saul lay sleeping within the encampment with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the army lay round about him.
8 Then said Abishai to David, God has given your enemy into your hands this day. Now therefore let me smite him to the earth at once with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.
9 David said to Abishai, Do not destroy him; for who can raise his hand against the Lord's anointed and be guiltless?
10 David said, As the Lord lives, [He] will smite him; or his day will come to die or he will go down in battle and perish.
11 The Lord forbid that I should raise my hand against the Lord's anointed; but take now the spear that is at his head and the bottle of water, and let us go.
12 So David took the spear and the bottle of water from Saul's head, and they got away. And no man saw or knew or wakened, for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.
13 Then David went over to the other side and stood on the top of the mountain afar off, a great space being between them.
14 David called to the army and Abner son of Ner, Will you answer, Abner? Abner replied, Who are you, calling [and disturbing] the king?
15 David said to Abner, Are you not a valiant man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came in [to your camp] to destroy the king your lord.
16 This thing is not good that you have done. 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 bottle of water that was at his head.
17 And Saul knew David's voice and said, Is this your voice, my son David? And David said, My voice, my lord O king!
18 And David said, Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? What have I done? Or what evil is in my hand [tonight]?
19 Now therefore, I pray you, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the Lord has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering; but if it is men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day that I should have no share in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go, serve other gods.
20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the Lord; for the king of Israel is come out to seek one flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.
21 Then said Saul, I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have erred exceedingly.
22 David answered, See the king's spear! Let one of the young men come and get it.
23 The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hands today, but I would not stretch forth my hand against the Lord's anointed.
24 And behold, as your life was precious today in my sight, so let my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and let Him deliver me out of all tribulation.
25 Then Saul said to David, May you be blessed, my son David; you will both do mightily and surely prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.