1 And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Does David not hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon? 2 Then 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 pitched camp in the hill of Hachilah, which is before the wilderness by the way. But David abode in the wilderness, and he perceived that Saul came after him into the wilderness. 4 David, therefore, sent out spies and understood that Saul was indeed come. 5 And David arose and came to the place where Saul had pitched camp, and David beheld the place where Saul lay and Abner, the son of Ner, the captain of his host. And Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him. 6 Then David spoke and said to Ahimelech, the Hittite, and to Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp? And Abishai said, I will go down with thee.
7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and, behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench and his spear stuck in the ground at his head, but Abner and the people lay round about him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, God has delivered thy enemy into thy hand today; now, therefore, let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear and pin him to the earth at once, and I will not need a second opportunity.
9 And David said to Abishai, Do not destroy him, for who has stretched forth his hand against the LORD's anointed, and remained innocent? 10 David said furthermore, As the LORD lives, if the LORD does not smite him or his day comes to die or he descends into battle and perishes, 11 the LORD forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against the LORD's anointed; but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his head and the cruse of water and let us go.
12 So David took the spear and the cruse of water that were at Saul's head, and they went, and no one saw it nor knew it neither awaked, 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 out of the way on the top of the mountain, a great space being between them; 14 and David cried to the people and to Abner, the son of Ner, saying, Dost thou not answer, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who art thou that dost cry to the king?
15 And David said to Abner, Art not thou a man? And who is there like unto thee in Israel? Why then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy the king thy lord. 16 This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the LORD lives, ye are worthy to die because ye have not kept your master, the LORD'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 slave? What have I done? What evil is in my hand? 19 Now, therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his slave. If the LORD has stirred thee up against me, let him smell the fragrance of an offering, but if they were the sons of men, let them be cursed before the LORD, for they have driven me out this day from joining myself to the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods. 20 Now therefore, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD, for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.
21 Then Saul said, I have sinned; return, my son David; for I will do no more harm unto thee because my life was precious in thine eyes today. Behold, I have played the fool and have erred exceedingly.
22 And David answered and said, Behold the king's spear! Let one of the servants come over and take it. 23 The LORD render to each one his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the LORD delivered thee into my hand today, but I would not stretch forth my hand against the LORD's anointed. 24 And, behold, as thy life has been esteemed today in my eyes, so let my life be esteemed in the eyes of the LORD and let him deliver me out of all affliction.