1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave, and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, Behold, the day of which LORD said to thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand, and thou shall do to him as it shall seem good to thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul
5 And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6 And he said to his men, LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, LORD's anointed, to put forth my hand against him, since he is LORD's anointed. 7 So David restrained his men with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. 8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried 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 thou hearken to men's words, saying, Behold, David seeks thy hurt? 10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that LORD had delivered thee today into my hand in the cave. And some bade me kill thee, but [I] spared thee. And I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord, for he is LORD's anoi 11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand, for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not. Know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned
12 LORD judge between me and thee, and LORD avenge me of thee, but my hand shall not be upon thee. 13 As says the proverb of the ancients, Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness, but my hand shall not be upon thee. 14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? After whom do thou pursue? After a dead dog, after a flea. 15 LORD therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thy hand.
16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17 And he said to David, Thou are more righteous than I, for thou have rendered to me good, whereas I have rendered to thee evil. 18 And thou have declared this day how that thou have dealt well with me, inasmuch as when LORD had delivered me up into thy hand, thou killed me not. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away well? Therefore LORD reward thee good for that which thou have done to me this day.
20 And now, behold, I know that thou shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thy hand. 21 Swear now therefore to me by LORD, that thou will not cut off my seed after me, and that thou will not destroy my name out of my father's house. 22 And David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men got up to the stronghold.