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 Engedi. 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 there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself: and David and his men remained in the recesses of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it shall seem good unto you. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe stealthily.
5 And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart troubled him, because he had cut off Saul's robe. 6 And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD. 7 So David restrained his servants with these words, and allowed them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of 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 stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. 9 And David said to Saul, Why hear you men's words, saying, Behold, David seeks your hurt? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered you today into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill you: but my eye spared you; and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is the LORD'S anointed. 11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of your robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of your robe, and killed you not, know you and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against you; yet you hunt my soul to take it.
12 The LORD judge between me and you, and the LORD avenge me of you: but my hand shall not be upon you. 13 As says the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceeds from the wicked: but my hand shall not be upon you. 14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom do you pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. 15 The LORD therefore be judge, and judge between me and you, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of your hand.
16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this your voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17 And he said to David, you are more righteous than I: for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. 18 And you have shown this day how that you have dealt well with me: for when the LORD had delivered me into your hand, you killed me not. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? therefore the LORD reward you with good for what you have done unto me this day.
20 And now, behold, I know well that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 Swear now therefore unto 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 And David swore unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men got themselves up unto the stronghold.