1 And the Ziphites came to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Does not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, facing the waste? 2 And Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul encamped in the hill of Hachilah, which faces the waste, by the way side. And David abode in the wilderness; and when he saw that Saul had come after him into the wilderness, 4 David sent out spies, and learned that Saul was certainly come. 5 And David arose and came to the place where Saul had encamped; and David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host; and Saul lay within the wagon-defence, and the people were encamped round about him. 6 And David spake and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.
7 And David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping within the wagon-defence, and his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people lay round about him. 8 And Abishai said to David, God has delivered thine enemy into thy hand this day; and now let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear, even to the ground once, and I will not do it the second time.
9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not; for who can stretch forth his hand against Jehovah's anointed, and be guiltless? 10 And David said, As Jehovah liveth, Jehovah will surely smite him; either his day shall come to die, or he shall descend into battle and perish. 11 Jehovah forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against Jehovah's anointed! But now take, I pray thee, the spear that is at his head, and the cruse of water, and let us go.
12 And David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul's head; and they went away, and no man saw it, and none knew it, and none awaked, for they were all asleep; for a deep sleep from Jehovah had fallen upon them. 13 And David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off; a great space being between them. 14 And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Answerest thou not, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that criest to the king?
15 And David said to Abner, Art not thou a man? and who is like to thee in Israel? and why hast thou not guarded thy lord the king? for one of the people came in to destroy the king thy lord. 16 This thing is not good which thou hast done. As Jehovah liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not guarded your master, Jehovah's anointed. And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his head.
17 And Saul knew David's voice, and said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king. 18 And he said, Why does my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in my hand? 19 And now, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If Jehovah have moved thee against me, let him accept an oblation; but if the sons of men, cursed be they before Jehovah; for they have driven me out this day from adhering to the inheritance of Jehovah, saying, Go, serve other gods. 20 And now, let not my blood fall to the earth far from the face of Jehovah; for the king of Israel is come out to seek a single flea, as when they hunt a partridge on the mountains.
21 And Saul said, I have sinned: return, my son David; for I will no more do thee harm, because my life was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have acted foolishly, and have erred exceedingly.
22 And David answered and said, Behold the king's spear, and let one of the young men come over and fetch it. 23 And Jehovah will render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; for Jehovah gave thee into my hand this day, and I would not stretch forth my hand against Jehovah's anointed. 24 And behold, as thy life was highly esteemed this day in mine eyes, so let my life be highly esteemed in the eyes of Jehovah, that he may deliver me out of all distress.