1 And it happened when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, they told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 And Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the front of the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the folds of the flock on the way, where there was a cave. And Saul went in to cover his feet. And David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, Behold, this is the day of which Jehovah said to you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand so that you may do to him as it shall seem good to you. And David arose and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe secretly.
5 And it happened afterward David's heart struck him because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6 And he said to his men, Far be it from me, by Jehovah, if I will do this thing to my lord, Jehovah's anointed, to stretch forth my hand against him, since he is the anointed of Jehovah. 7 And David held back his men with words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave and went on his way. 8 And David arose afterward and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king! And Saul looked behind him. And David bowed his face to the earth and prostrated himself. 9 And David said to Saul, Why do you hear man's words, saying, Behold, David seeks to do you evil? 10 Behold, your eyes have seen today how Jehovah had delivered you today into my hand in the cave. And one said to kill you. But I had pity on you. And I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord, for he is Jehovah's anointed. 11 And, my father, behold! Yes, see the skirt of your robe in my hand. For in that I cut off the skirt of your robe and did not kill you, know 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 May Jehovah judge between me and you, and may Jehovah avenge me of you. But my hand shall not be on you. 13 As the ancient proverb says, Wickedness proceeds from the wicked. But my hand shall not be on 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 Jehovah therefore be judge, and judge between you and me, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of your hand.
16 And it happened when David had made an end of speaking these words to Saul, 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, but I have rewarded you evil. 18 And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me, because when Jehovah shut me up into your hand, you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go completely away? And may Jehovah reward good for what you have done to 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 And swear therefore to me before Jehovah that you will not cut off my seed after me, and that you 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 went up into the hold.