I will shoot three arrows beside it as if I'm aiming at a target. Then I will send the young man [and say], 'Go and find the arrows!' Now, if I expressly say to the young man, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you-get them,' then come, because as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no problem. But if I say this to the youth: 'Look, the arrows are beyond you!' then go, for the Lord is sending you away. read more.
As for the matter you and I have spoken about, the Lord will be a witness between you and me forever." So David hid in the field. At the New Moon, the king sat down to eat the meal. He sat at his usual place on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat facing him and Abner took his place beside Saul, but David's place was empty. Saul did not say anything that day because he thought, "Something unexpected has happened; he must be ceremonially unclean-yes, that's it, he is unclean." However, the day after the New Moon, the second day, David's place was [still] empty, and Saul asked his son Jonathan, "Why didn't Jesse's son come to the meal either yesterday or today?" Jonathan answered, "David asked for my permission to go to Bethlehem. He said, 'Please let me go because our clan is holding a sacrifice in the town, and my brother has told me to be there. So now, if you are pleased with me, let me go so I can see my brothers.' That's why he didn't come to the king's table." Then Saul became angry with Jonathan and shouted, "You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don't I know that you are siding with Jesse's son to your own shame and to the disgrace of your mother? Every day Jesse's son lives on earth you and your kingship are not secure. Now send for him and bring him to me-he deserves to die." Jonathan answered his father back: "Why is he to be killed? What has he done?" Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan to kill him, so he knew that his father was determined to kill David. He got up from the table in fierce anger and did not eat any food that second day of the New Moon, for he was grieved because of his father's shameful behavior toward David. In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for the appointed meeting with David. A small young man was with him. He said to the young man, "Run and find the arrows I'm shooting." As the young man ran, Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. He came to the location of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, but Jonathan called to him and said, "The arrow is beyond you, isn't it?" Then Jonathan called to him, "Hurry up and don't stop!" Jonathan's young man picked up the arrow and returned to his master. He did not know anything; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. Then Jonathan gave his equipment to the young man who was with him and said, "Go, take it back to the city." When the young man had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone Ezel, fell with his face to the ground, and bowed three times. Then he and Jonathan kissed each other and wept with each other, though David wept more. Jonathan then said to David, "Go in the assurance the two of us pledged in the name of the Lord when we said: The Lord will be [a witness] between you and me and between my offspring and your offspring forever." Then David left, and Jonathan went into the city.
Then Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord hold David’s enemies accountable.”
Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as much as himself. Then Jonathan removed the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his military tunic, his sword, his bow, and his belt.
Jonathan then said to David, “Go in the assurance the two of us pledged in the name of the Lord when we said: The Lord will be a witness between you and me and between my offspring and your offspring forever.” Then David left, and Jonathan went into the city.
David spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord that was between David and Jonathan, Saul’s son.
So all the people went to Gilgal, and there in the Lord's presence they made Saul king. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings in the Lord's presence, and Saul and all the men of Israel greatly rejoiced. Then Samuel said to all Israel, "I have carefully listened to everything you said to me and placed a king over you. But now, you can see that the king is leading you. As for me, I'm old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have led you from my youth until today. read more.
Here I am. Bring charges against me before the Lord and His anointed: Whose ox or donkey have I taken? Whom have I wronged or mistreated? From whose hand have I taken a bribe to overlook something?I will return it to you." "You haven't wronged us, you haven't mistreated us, and you haven't taken anything from anyone's hand," they responded. He said to them, "The Lord is a witness against you, and His anointed is a witness today that you haven't found anything in my hand." "[He is] a witness," they said. Then Samuel said to the people, "The Lord, who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your ancestors up from the land of Egypt, is a witness. Now present yourselves, so I may judge you before the Lord about all the righteous acts He has done for you and your ancestors. "When Jacob went to Egypt, your ancestors cried out to the Lord, and He sent them Moses and Aaron, who led your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But they forgot the Lord their God, so He handed them over to Sisera commander of the army of Hazor, to the Philistines, and to the king of Moab. [These enemies] fought against them. Then they cried out to the Lord and said, 'We have sinned, for we abandoned the Lord and worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths. Now deliver us from the power of our enemies, and we will serve You.' So the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel. He rescued you from the power of the enemies around you, and you lived securely. But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was coming against you, you said to me, 'No, we must have a king rule over us'-even though the Lord your God is your king. "Now here is the king you've chosen, the one you requested. Look, this is the king the Lord has placed over you. If you fear the Lord, worship and obey Him, and if you don't rebel against the Lord's command, then both you and the king who rules over you will follow the Lord your God. However, if you disobey the Lord and rebel against His command, the Lord's hand will be against you and against your ancestors. "Now, therefore, present yourselves and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. Isn't the wheat harvest today? I will call on the Lord and He will send thunder and rain, so that you will know and see what a great evil you committed in the Lord's sight by requesting a king for yourselves." Samuel called on the Lord, and on that day the Lord sent thunder and rain. As a result, all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. They pleaded with Samuel, "Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, so we won't die! For we have added to all our sins the evil of requesting a king for ourselves." Samuel replied, "Don't be afraid. Even though you have committed all this evil, don't turn away from following the Lord. Instead, worship the Lord with all your heart. Don't turn away to follow worthless things that can't profit or deliver you; they are worthless. The Lord will not abandon His people, because of His great name and because He has determined to make you His own people. "As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way. Above all, fear the Lord and worship Him faithfully with all your heart, considering the great things He has done for you. However, if you continue to do what is evil, both you and your king will be swept away." Saul was 30 years old when he became king, and he reigned 42 years over Israel. He chose 3,000 men from Israel for himself: 2,000 were with Saul at Michmash and in Bethel's hill country, and 1,000 were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin. He sent the rest of the troops away, each to his own tent. Jonathan attacked the Philistine garrison that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard about it. So Saul blew the ram's horn throughout the land saying, "Let the Hebrews hear!" And all Israel heard the news, "Saul has attacked the Philistine garrison, and Israel is now repulsive to the Philistines." Then the troops were summoned to join Saul at Gilgal. The Philistines also gathered to fight against Israel: 3,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and troops as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Michmash, east of Beth-aven. The men of Israel saw that they were in trouble because the troops were in a difficult situation. They hid in caves, thickets, among rocks, and in holes and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul, however, was still at Gilgal, and all his troops were gripped with fear. He waited seven days for the appointed time that Samuel had set, but Samuel didn't come to Gilgal, and the troops were deserting him. So Saul said, "Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings." Then he offered the burnt offering. Just as he finished offering the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. So Saul went out to greet him, and Samuel asked, "What have you done?" Saul answered, "When I saw that the troops were deserting me and you didn't come within the appointed days and the Philistines were gathering at Michmash, I thought: The Philistines will now descend on me at Gilgal, and I haven't sought the Lord's favor. So I forced myself to offer the burnt offering." Samuel said to Saul, "You have been foolish. You have not kept the command which the Lord your God gave you. It was at this time that the Lord would have permanently established your reign over Israel, but now your reign will not endure. The Lord has found a man loyal to Him,and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not done what the Lord commanded." Then Samuel went from Gilgal to Gibeah in Benjamin. Saul registered the troops who were with him, about 600 men. Saul, his son Jonathan, and the troops who were with them were staying in Geba of Benjamin, and the Philistines were camped at Michmash. Raiding parties went out from the Philistine camp in three divisions. One division headed toward the Ophrah road leading to the land of Shual. The next division headed toward the Beth-horon road, and the last division headed down the border road that looks out over the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness. No blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, "Otherwise, the Hebrews will make swords or spears." So all the Israelites went to the Philistines to sharpen their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles. The price was two-thirds of a shekel for plowshares and mattocks, and one-third [of a shekel] for pitchforks and axes, and for putting a point on an oxgoad. So on the day of battle not a sword or spear could be found in the hand of any of the troops who were with Saul and Jonathan; only Saul and his son Jonathan had [weapons]. Now a Philistine garrison took control of the pass at Michmash. That same day Saul's son Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, "Come on, let's cross over to the Philistine garrison on the other side." However, he did not tell his father. Saul was staying under the pomegranate tree in Migron on the outskirts of Gibeah. The troops with him numbered about 600. Ahijah, who was wearing an ephod, [was also there]. He was the son of Ahitub, the brother of Ichabod son of Phinehas, son of Eli the Lord's priest at Shiloh. But the troops did not know that Jonathan had left. There were sharp columns of rock on both sides of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine garrison. One was named Bozez and the other Seneh; one stood to the north in front of Michmash and the other to the south in front of Geba. Jonathan said to the attendant who carried his weapons, "Come on, let's cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will help us. Nothing can keep the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few." His armor-bearer responded, "Do what is in your heart. You choose. I'm right here with you whatever you decide." "All right," Jonathan replied, "we'll cross over to the men and then let them see us. If they say, 'Wait until we reach you,' then we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, 'Come on up,' then we'll go up, because the Lord has handed them over to us-that will be our sign." They let themselves be seen by the Philistine garrison, and the Philistines said, "Look, the Hebrews are coming out of the holes where they've been hiding!" The men of the garrison called to Jonathan and his armor-bearer. "Come on up, and we'll teach you a lesson!" they said. "Follow me," Jonathan told his armor-bearer, "for the Lord has handed them over to Israel." Jonathan went up using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer behind him. Jonathan cut them down, and his armor-bearer followed and finished them off. In that first assault Jonathan and his armor-bearer struck down about 20 men in a half-acre field. Terror spread through the [Philistine] camp and the open fields to all the troops. Even the garrison and the raiding parties were terrified. The earth shook, and terror from God spread. When Saul's watchmen in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, they saw the panicking troops scattering in every direction. So Saul said to the troops with him, "Call the roll and determine who has left us." They called the roll and saw that Jonathan and his armor-bearer were gone. Saul told Ahijah, "Bring the ark of God," for it was with the Israelites at that time. While Saul spoke to the priest, the panic in the Philistine camp increased in intensity. So Saul said to the priest, "Stop what you're doing." Saul and all the troops with him assembled and marched to the battle, and there, the Philistines were fighting against each other in great confusion! There were Hebrews from the area who had gone earlier into the camp to join the Philistines, but even they joined the Israelites who were with Saul and Jonathan. When all the Israelite men who had been hiding in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were fleeing, they also joined Saul and Jonathan in the battle. So the Lord saved Israel that day. The battle extended beyond Beth-aven, and the men of Israel were worn out that day, for Saul had placed the troops under an oath: "Cursed is the man who eats food before evening, before I have taken vengeance on my enemies." So none of the troops tasted [any] food. Everyone went into the forest, and there was honey on the ground. When the troops entered the forest, they saw the flow of honey, but none of them ate any of it because they feared the oath. However, Jonathan had not heard his father make the troops swear the oath. He reached out with the end of the staff he was carrying and dipped it into the honeycomb. When he ate the honey, he had renewed energy. Then, one of the troops said, "Your father made the troops solemnly swear, 'Cursed is the man who eats food today,' and the troops are exhausted." Jonathan replied, "My father has brought trouble to the land. Just look at how I have renewed energy because I tasted a little honey. How much better if the troops had eaten freely today from the plunder they took from their enemies! Then the slaughter of the Philistines would have been much greater." The Israelites struck down the Philistines that day from Michmash all the way to Aijalon. Since the Israelites were completely exhausted, they rushed to the plunder, took sheep, cattle, and calves, slaughtered them on the ground, and ate [meat] with the blood [still in it.] Some reported to Saul: "Look, the troops are sinning against the Lord by eating [meat] with the blood [still in it.]" Saul said, "You have been unfaithful. Roll a large stone over here at once." He then said, "Go among the troops and say to them, 'Each man must bring me his ox or his sheep. Do the slaughtering here and then you can eat. Don't sin against the Lord by eating [meat] with the blood [in it.]' " So every one of the troops brought his ox that night and slaughtered it there. Then Saul built an altar to the Lord; it was the first time he had built an altar to the Lord. Saul said, "Let's go down after the Philistines tonight and plunder them until morning. Don't let even one remain!" "Do whatever you want," the troops replied. But the priest said, "We must consult God here." So Saul inquired of God, "Should I go after the Philistines? Will You hand them over to Israel?" But God did not answer him that day. Saul said, "All you leaders of the troops, come here. Let us investigate how this sin has occurred today. As surely as the Lord lives who saves Israel, even if it is because of my son Jonathan, he must die!" Not one of the troops answered him. So he said to all Israel, "You will be on one side, and I and my son Jonathan will be on the other side." And the troops replied, "Do whatever you want." So Saul said to the Lord, "God of Israel, give us the right [decision]." Jonathan and Saul were selected, and the troops were cleared [of the charge]. Then Saul said, "Cast [the lot] between me and my son Jonathan," and Jonathan was selected. Saul commanded him, "Tell me what you did." Jonathan told him, "I tasted a little honey with the end of the staff I was carrying. I am ready to die!" Saul declared to him, "May God punish me severely if you do not die, Jonathan!" But the people said to Saul, "Must Jonathan die, who accomplished such a great deliverance for Israel? No, as the Lord lives, not a hair of his head will fall to the ground, for he worked with God's help today." So the people rescued Jonathan, and he did not die. Then Saul gave up the pursuit of the Philistines, and the Philistines returned to their own territory. When Saul assumed the kingship over Israel, he fought against all his enemies in every direction: against Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he caused havoc. He fought bravely, defeated the Amalekites, and delivered Israel from the hand of those who plundered them. Saul's sons were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malchishua. The names of his two daughters were: Merab, his firstborn, and Michal, the younger. The name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of his army was Abner son of Saul's uncle Ner. Saul's father was Kish. Abner's father was Ner son of Abiel. The conflict with the Philistines was fierce all of Saul's days, so whenever Saul noticed any strong or brave man, he enlisted him. Samuel told Saul, "The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord. This is what the Lord of Hosts says: 'I witnessed what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt. Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.' " Then Saul summoned the troops and counted them at Telaim: 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men from Judah. Saul came to the city of Amalek and set up an ambush in the wadi. He warned the Kenites, "Since you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, go on and leave! Get away from the Amalekites, or I'll sweep you away with them." So the Kenites withdrew from the Amalekites. Then Saul struck down the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is next to Egypt. He captured Agag king of Amalek alive, but he completely destroyed all the rest of the people with the sword. Saul and the troops spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, cattle, and fatlings, as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things. Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: "I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following Me and has not carried out My instructions." So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord [all] night. Early in the morning Samuel got up to confront Saul, but it was reported to Samuel, "Saul went to Carmel where he set up a monument for himself. Then he turned around and went down to Gilgal." When Samuel came to him, Saul said, "May the Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord's instructions." Samuel replied, "Then what is this sound of sheep and cattle I hear?" Saul answered, "The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we destroyed." "Stop!" exclaimed Samuel. "Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night." "Tell me," he replied. Samuel continued, "Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel and then sent you on a mission and said: 'Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.' So why didn't you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord's sight?" "But I did obey the Lord!" Saul answered. "I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back Agag, king of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. The troops took sheep and cattle from the plunder-the best of what was set apart for destruction-to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal." Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention [is better] than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king. Saul answered Samuel, "I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord's command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord." Samuel replied to Saul, "I will not return with you. Because you rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel." When Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him, "The Lord has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change His mind, for He is not man who changes his mind." Saul said, "I have sinned. Please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Come back with me so I can bow and worship the Lord your God." Then Samuel went back, following Saul, and Saul bowed down to the Lord. Samuel said, "Bring me Agag king of Amalek." Agag came to him trembling, for he thought, "Certainly the bitterness of death has come." Samuel declared: As your sword has made women childless, so your mother will be childless among women. Then he hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal. Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. Even to the day of his death, Samuel never again visited Saul. Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted He had made Saul king over Israel. The Lord said to Samuel, "How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected a king from his sons." Samuel asked, "How can I go? Saul will hear [about it] and kill me!" The Lord answered, "Take a young cow with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.' Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do. You are to anoint for Me the one I indicate to you." Samuel did what the Lord directed and went to Bethlehem. When the elders of the town met him, they trembled and asked, "Do you come in peace?" "In peace," he replied. "I've come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, "Certainly the Lord's anointed one is here before Him." But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart." Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. "The Lord hasn't chosen this one either," Samuel said. Then Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, "The Lord hasn't chosen this one either." After Jesse presented seven of his sons to him, Samuel told Jesse, "The Lord hasn't chosen any of these." Samuel asked him, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," he answered, "but right now he's tending the sheep." Samuel told Jesse, "Send for him. We won't sit down to eat until he gets here." So Jesse sent for him. He had beautiful eyes and a healthy, handsome appearance. Then the Lord said, "Anoint him, for he is the one." So Samuel took the horn of oil, anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord took control of David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord began to torment him, so Saul's servants said to him, "You see that an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command your servants here in your presence to look for someone who knows how to play the harp. Whenever the evil spirit from God [troubles] you, that person can play the harp, and you will feel better." Then Saul commanded his servants, "Find me someone who plays well and bring him to me." One of the young men answered, "I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play [the harp]. He is also a valiant man, a warrior, eloquent, handsome, and the Lord is with him." Then Saul dispatched messengers to Jesse and said, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep." So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and one young goat and sent them by his son David to Saul. When David came to Saul and entered his service, Saul admired him greatly, and David became his armor-bearer. Then Saul sent word to Jesse: "Let David remain in my service, for I am pleased with him." Whenever the spirit from God [troubled] Saul, David would pick up his harp and play, and Saul would then be relieved, feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. The Philistines gathered their forces for war at Socoh in Judah and camped between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim. Saul and the men of Israel gathered and camped in the Valley of Elah; then they lined up in battle formation to face the Philistines. The Philistines were standing on one hill, and the Israelites were standing on another hill with a ravine between them. Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath, came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches tall and wore a bronze helmet and bronze scale armor that weighed 125 pounds. There was bronze armor on his shins, and a bronze sword was slung between his shoulders. His spear shaft was like a weaver's beam, and the iron point of his spear weighed 15 pounds. In addition, a shield-bearer was walking in front of him. He stood and shouted to the Israelite battle formations: "Why do you come out to line up in battle formation?" He asked them, "Am I not a Philistine and are you not servants of Saul? Choose one of your men and have him come down against me. If he wins in a fight against me and kills me, we will be your servants. But if I win against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us." Then the Philistine said, "I defy the ranks of Israel today. Send me a man so we can fight each other!" When Saul and all Israel heard these words from the Philistine, they lost their courage and were terrified. Now David was the son of the Ephrathite from Bethlehem of Judah named Jesse. Jesse had eight sons, and during Saul's reign was [already] an old man. Jesse's three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war, and their names were Eliab, the firstborn, Abinadab, the next, and Shammah, the third, and David was the youngest. The three oldest had followed Saul, but David kept going back and forth from Saul to tend his father's flock in Bethlehem. Every morning and evening for 40 days the Philistine came forward and took his stand. [One day], Jesse had told his son David, "Take this half-bushel of roasted grain along with these loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Also, take these 10 portions of cheese to the field commander. Check on the welfare of your brothers and bring a confirmation from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel are in the Valley of Elah fighting with the Philistines." So David got up early in the morning, left the flock with someone to keep it, loaded up, and set out as Jesse had instructed him. He arrived at the perimeter of the camp as the army was marching out to its battle formation shouting their battle cry. Israel and the Philistines lined up in battle formation facing each other. David left his supplies in the care of the quartermaster and ran to the battle line. When he arrived, he asked his brothers how they were. While he was speaking with them, suddenly the champion named Goliath, the Philistine from Gath, came forward from the Philistine battle line and shouted his usual words, which David heard. When all the Israelite men saw Goliath, they retreated from him terrified. Previously, an Israelite man had declared, "Do you see this man who keeps coming out? He comes to defy Israel. The king will make the man who kills him very rich and will give him his daughter. The king will also make the household of that man's father exempt from paying taxes in Israel." David spoke to the men who were standing with him: "What will be done for the man who kills that Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Just who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" The people told him about the offer, concluding, "That is what will be done for the man who kills him." David's oldest brother Eliab listened as he spoke to the men, and became angry with him. "Why did you come down here?" he asked. "Who did you leave those few sheep with in the wilderness? I know your arrogance and your evil heart-you came down to see the battle!" "What have I done now?" protested David. "It was just a question." Then he turned from those beside him to others in front of him and asked about the offer. The people gave him the same answer as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, so he had David brought to him. David said to Saul, "Don't let anyone be discouraged by him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!" But Saul replied, "You can't go fight this Philistine. You're just a youth, and he's been a warrior since he was young." David answered Saul, "Your servant has been tending his father's sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, I went after it, struck it down, and rescued [the lamb] from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God." Then David said, "The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and may the Lord be with you." Then Saul had his own military clothes put on David. He put a bronze helmet on David's head and had him put on armor. David strapped his sword on over the military clothes and tried to walk, but he was not used to them. "I can't walk in these," David said to Saul, "I'm not used to them." So David took them off. Instead, he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pouch, in his shepherd's bag. Then, with his sling in his hand, he approached the Philistine. The Philistine came closer and closer to David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. When the Philistine looked and saw David, he despised him because he was just a youth, healthy and handsome. He said to David, "Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks?" Then he cursed David by his gods. "Come here," the Philistine called to David, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts!" David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel's armies- you have defied Him. Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I'll strike you down, cut your head off, and give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord's. He will hand you over to us." When the Philistine started forward to attack him, David ran quickly to the battle line to meet the Philistine. David put his hand in the bag, took out a stone, slung [it], and hit the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. David defeated the Philistine with a sling and a stone. Even though David had no sword, he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He grabbed the Philistine's sword, pulled it from its sheath, and used it to kill him. Then he cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they ran. The men of Israel and Judah rallied, shouting their battle cry, and chased the Philistines to the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. Philistine bodies were strewn all along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. When the Israelites returned from the pursuit of the Philistines, they plundered their camps. David took Goliath's head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put Goliath's weapons in his [own] tent. When Saul had seen David going out to confront the Philistine, he asked Abner the commander of the army, "Whose son is this youth, Abner?" "[My] king, as surely as you live, I don't know," Abner replied. The king said, "Find out whose son this young man is!" When David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine's head still in his hand. Saul said to him, "Whose son are you, young man?" "The son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem," David answered. When David had finished speaking with Saul, Jonathan committed himself to David, and loved him as much as he loved himself. Saul kept David with him from that day on and did not let him return to his father's house. Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as much as himself. Then Jonathan removed the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his military tunic, his sword, his bow, and his belt. David marched out [with the army], and was successful in everything Saul sent him to do. Saul put him in command of the soldiers, which pleased all the people and Saul's servants as well. As David was returning from killing the Philistine, the women came out from all the cities of Israel to meet King Saul, singing and dancing with tambourines, with shouts of joy, and with three-stringed instruments. As they celebrated, the women sang: Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands. Saul was furious and resented this song. "They credited tens of thousands to David," he complained, "but they only credited me with thousands. What more can he have but the kingdom?" So Saul watched David jealously from that day forward. The next day an evil spirit from God took control of Saul, and he began to rave inside the palace. David was playing [the harp] as usual, but Saul was holding a spear, and he threw it, thinking, "I'll pin David to the wall." But David got away from him twice. Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had left from Saul. Therefore, Saul reassigned David and made him commander over 1,000 men. David led the troops and continued to be successful in all his activities because the Lord was with him. When Saul observed that David was very successful, he dreaded him. But all Israel and Judah loved David because he was leading their troops. Saul told David, "Here is my oldest daughter Merab. I'll give her to you as a wife, if you will be a warrior for me and fight the Lord's battles." But Saul was thinking, "My hand doesn't need to be against him; let the hand of the Philistines be against him." Then David responded, "Who am I, and what is my family or my father's clan in Israel that I should become the king's son-in-law?" When it was time to give Saul's daughter Merab to David, she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife. Now Saul's daughter Michal loved David, and when it was reported to Saul, it pleased him. "I'll give her to him," Saul thought. "She'll be a trap for him, and the hand of the Philistines will be against him." So Saul said to David a second time, "You can now be my son-in-law." Saul then ordered his servants, "Speak to David in private and tell him, 'Look, the king is pleased with you, and all his servants love you. Therefore, you should become the king's son-in-law.' " Saul's servants reported these words directly to David, but he replied, "Is it trivial in your sight to become the king's son-in-law? I am a poor man who is common." The servants reported back to Saul, "These are the words David spoke." Then Saul replied, "Say this to David: 'The king desires no other bride-price except 100 Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.' " Actually, Saul intended to cause David's death at the hands of the Philistines. When the servants reported these terms to David, he was pleased to become the king's son-in-law. Before the wedding day arrived, David and his men went out and killed 200 Philistines. He brought their foreskins and presented them as full payment to the king to become his son-in-law. Then Saul gave his daughter Michal to David as his wife. Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved him, and he became even more afraid of David. As a result, Saul was David's enemy from then on. Every time the Philistine commanders came out to fight, David was more successful than all of Saul's officers. So his name became very famous. Saul ordered his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. But Saul's son Jonathan liked David very much, so he told him: "My father Saul intends to kill you. Be on your guard in the morning and hide in a secret place and stay there. I'll go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are and talk to him about you. When I see what [he says], I'll tell you." Jonathan spoke well of David to his father Saul. He said to him: "The king should not sin against his servant David. He hasn't sinned against you; in fact, his actions have been a great advantage to you. He took his life in his hands when he struck down the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great victory for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced, so why would you sin against innocent blood by killing David for no reason?" Saul listened to Jonathan's advice and swore an oath: "As surely as the Lord lives, David will not be killed." So Jonathan summoned David and told him all these words. Then Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he served him as [he did] before. When war broke out again, David went out and fought against the Philistines. He defeated them with such a great force that they fled from him. Now an evil spirit from the Lord came on Saul as he was sitting in his palace holding a spear. David was playing [the harp], and Saul tried to pin David to the wall with the spear. As the spear struck the wall, David eluded Saul and escaped. That night he ran away. Saul sent agents to David's house to watch for him and kill him in the morning. But his wife Michal warned David: "If you don't escape tonight, you will be dead tomorrow!" So she lowered David from the window, and he fled and escaped. Then Michal took the household idol and put it on the bed, placed some goats' hair on its head, and covered it with a garment. When Saul sent agents to seize David, Michal said, "He's sick." Saul sent the agents [back] to see David and said, "Bring him on his bed so I can kill him." When the messengers arrived, to their surprise, the household idol was on the bed with some goats' hair on its head. Saul asked Michal, "Why did you deceive me like this? You sent my enemy away, and he has escaped!" She answered him, "He said to me, 'Let me go! Why should I kill you?' " So David fled and escaped and went to Samuel at Ramah and told him everything Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel left and stayed at Naioth. When it was reported to Saul that David was at Naioth in Ramah, Saul sent agents to seize David. However, when they saw the group of prophets prophesying with Samuel leading them, the Spirit of God came on Saul's agents, and they also started prophesying. When they reported to Saul, he sent other agents, and they also began prophesying. So Saul tried again and sent a third group of agents, and even they began prophesying. Then Saul himself went to Ramah. He came to the large cistern at Secu, looked around, and asked, "Where are Samuel and David?" "At Naioth in Ramah," someone said. So he went to Naioth in Ramah. The Spirit of God also came on him, and as he walked along, he prophesied until he entered Naioth in Ramah. Saul then removed his clothes and also prophesied before Samuel; he collapsed [and lay] naked all that day and all that night. That is why they say, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" David fled from Naioth in Ramah and came to Jonathan and asked, "What have I done? What did I do wrong? How have I sinned against your father so that he wants to take my life?" Jonathan said to him, "No, you won't die. Listen, my father doesn't do anything, great or small, without telling me. So why would he hide this matter from me? This can't be [true]." But David said, "Your father certainly knows that you have come to look favorably on me. He has said, 'Jonathan must not know of this, or else he will be grieved.' " David also swore, "As surely as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, there is but a step between me and death." Jonathan said to David, "Whatever you say, I will do for you." So David told him, "Look, tomorrow is the New Moon, and I'm supposed to sit down and eat with the king. Instead, let me go, and I'll hide in the field until the third night. If your father misses me at all, say, 'David urgently requested my permission to quickly go to his town Bethlehem for an annual sacrifice there involving the whole clan.' If he says, 'Good,' then your servant is safe, but if he becomes angry, you will know he has evil intentions. Deal faithfully with your servant, for you have brought me into a covenant before the Lord with you. If I have done anything wrong, then kill me yourself; why take me to your father?" "No!" Jonathan responded. "If I ever find out my father has evil intentions against you, wouldn't I tell you about it?" So David asked Jonathan, "Who will tell me if your father answers you harshly?" He answered David, "Come on, let's go out to the field." So both of them went out to the field. "By the Lord, the God of Israel, if I sound out my father by this time tomorrow or the next day and I find out that he is favorable toward you, and if I do not send for you and tell you, then may God punish Jonathan and do so severely. If my father intends to bring evil on you, then I will tell you, and I will send you away, and you will go in peace. May the Lord be with you, just as He was with my father. If I continue to live, treat me with the Lord's faithful love, but if I die, don't ever withdraw your faithful love from my household-not even when the Lord cuts off every one of David's enemies from the face of the earth." Then Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, "May the Lord hold David's enemies accountable." Jonathan once again swore to David in his love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself. Then Jonathan said to him, "Tomorrow is the New Moon; you'll be missed because your seat will be empty. The following day hurry down and go to the place where you hid on the day this incident began and stay beside the rock Ezel. I will shoot three arrows beside it as if I'm aiming at a target. Then I will send the young man [and say], 'Go and find the arrows!' Now, if I expressly say to the young man, 'Look, the arrows are on this side of you-get them,' then come, because as the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no problem. But if I say this to the youth: 'Look, the arrows are beyond you!' then go, for the Lord is sending you away. As for the matter you and I have spoken about, the Lord will be a witness between you and me forever." So David hid in the field. At the New Moon, the king sat down to eat the meal. He sat at his usual place on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat facing him and Abner took his place beside Saul, but David's place was empty. Saul did not say anything that day because he thought, "Something unexpected has happened; he must be ceremonially unclean-yes, that's it, he is unclean." However, the day after the New Moon, the second day, David's place was [still] empty, and Saul asked his son Jonathan, "Why didn't Jesse's son come to the meal either yesterday or today?" Jonathan answered, "David asked for my permission to go to Bethlehem. He said, 'Please let me go because our clan is holding a sacrifice in the town, and my brother has told me to be there. So now, if you are pleased with me, let me go so I can see my brothers.' That's why he didn't come to the king's table." Then Saul became angry with Jonathan and shouted, "You son of a perverse and rebellious woman! Don't I know that you are siding with Jesse's son to your own shame and to the disgrace of your mother? Every day Jesse's son lives on earth you and your kingship are not secure. Now send for him and bring him to me-he deserves to die." Jonathan answered his father back: "Why is he to be killed? What has he done?" Then Saul threw his spear at Jonathan to kill him, so he knew that his father was determined to kill David. He got up from the table in fierce anger and did not eat any food that second day of the New Moon, for he was grieved because of his father's shameful behavior toward David. In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for the appointed meeting with David. A small young man was with him. He said to the young man, "Run and find the arrows I'm shooting." As the young man ran, Jonathan shot an arrow beyond him. He came to the location of the arrow that Jonathan had shot, but Jonathan called to him and said, "The arrow is beyond you, isn't it?" Then Jonathan called to him, "Hurry up and don't stop!" Jonathan's young man picked up the arrow and returned to his master. He did not know anything; only Jonathan and David knew the arrangement. Then Jonathan gave his equipment to the young man who was with him and said, "Go, take it back to the city." When the young man had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone Ezel, fell with his face to the ground, and bowed three times. Then he and Jonathan kissed each other and wept with each other, though David wept more. Jonathan then said to David, "Go in the assurance the two of us pledged in the name of the Lord when we said: The Lord will be [a witness] between you and me and between my offspring and your offspring forever." Then David left, and Jonathan went into the city. David went to Ahimelech the priest at Nob. Ahimelech was afraid to meet David, so he said to him, "Why are you alone and no one is with you?" David answered Ahimelech the priest, "The king gave me a mission, but he told me, 'Don't let anyone know anything about the mission I'm sending you on or what I have ordered you [to do].' I have stationed [my] young men at a certain place. Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever can be found." The priest told him, "There is no ordinary bread on hand. However, there is consecrated bread, but the young men may eat it only if they have kept themselves from women." David answered him, "I swear that women are being kept from us, as always when I go out [to battle]. The young men's bodies are consecrated even on an ordinary mission, so of course their bodies are consecrated today." So the priest gave him the consecrated [bread], for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord. When the bread was removed, it had been replaced with warm bread. One of Saul's servants, detained before the Lord, was there that day. His name was Doeg the Edomite, chief of Saul's shepherds. David said to Ahimelech, "Do you have a spear or sword on hand? I didn't even bring my sword or my weapons since the king's mission was urgent." The priest replied, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it, for there isn't another one here." "There's none like it!" David said. "Give it to me." David fled that day from Saul's presence and went to King Achish of Gath. But Achish's servants said to him, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Don't they sing about him during their dances: Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands?" David took this to heart and became very afraid of King Achish of Gath, so he pretended to be insane in their presence. He acted like a madman around them,scribbling on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. "Look! You can see the man is crazy," Achish said to his servants. "Why did you bring him to me? Do I have such a shortage of crazy people that you brought this one to act crazy around me? Is this one going to come into my house?" So David left Gath and took refuge in the cave of Adullam. When David's brothers and his father's whole family heard, they went down and joined him there. In addition, every man who was desperate, in debt, or discontented rallied around him, and he became their leader. About 400 men were with him. From there David went to Mizpeh of Moab where he said to the king of Moab, "Please let my father and mother stay with you until I know what God will do for me." So he left them in the care of the king of Moab, and they stayed with him the whole time David was in the stronghold. Then the prophet Gad said to David, "Don't stay in the stronghold. Leave and return to the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth. Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. At that time Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree at the high place. His spear was in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him. Saul said to his servants, "Listen, men of Benjamin: Is Jesse's son going to give all of you fields and vineyards? [Do you think] he'll make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? That's why all of you have conspired against me! Nobody tells me when my own son makes a covenant with Jesse's son. None of you cares about me or tells me that my son has stirred up my own servant to wait in ambush for me, as [is the case] today." Then Doeg the Edomite, who was in charge of Saul's servants, answered: "I saw Jesse's son come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. Ahimelech inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions. He also gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine." The king sent [messengers] to summon Ahimelech the priest, son of Ahitub, and his father's whole family, who were priests in Nob. All of them came to the king. Then Saul said, "Listen, son of Ahitub!" "I'm at your service, my lord," he said. Saul asked him, "Why did you and Jesse's son conspire against me? You gave him bread and a sword and inquired of God for him, so he could rise up against me and wait in ambush, as [is the case] today." Ahimelech replied to the king: "Who among all your servants is as faithful as David? He is the king's son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard, and honored in your house. Was today the first time I inquired of God for him? Of course not! Please don't let the king make an accusation against your servant or any of my father's household, for your servant didn't have any idea about all this." But the king said, "You will die, Ahimelech-you and your father's whole family!" Then the king ordered the guards standing by him, "Turn and kill the priests of the Lord because they sided with David. For they knew he was fleeing, but they didn't tell me." But the king's servants would not lift a hand to execute the priests of the Lord. So the king said to Doeg, "Go and execute the priests!" So Doeg the Edomite went and executed the priests himself. On that day, he killed 85 men who wore linen ephods. He also struck down Nob, the city of the priests, with the sword-both men and women, children and infants, oxen, donkeys, and sheep. However, one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub escaped. His name was Abiathar, and he fled to David. Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. Then David said to Abiathar, "I knew that Doeg the Edomite was there that day and that he was sure to report to Saul. I myself am responsible for the lives of everyone in your father's family. Stay with me. Don't be afraid, for the one who wants to take my life wants to take your life. You will be safe with me." It was reported to David: "Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and raiding the threshing floors." So David inquired of the Lord: "Should I launch an attack against these Philistines?" The Lord answered David, "Launch an attack against the Philistines and rescue Keilah." But David's men said to him, "Look, we're afraid here in Judah; how much more if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!" Once again, David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him: "Go at once to Keilah, for I will hand the Philistines over to you. Then David and his men went to Keilah, fought against the Philistines, drove their livestock away, and inflicted heavy losses on them. So David rescued the inhabitants of Keilah. Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, and he brought an ephod with him. When it was reported to Saul that David had gone to Keilah, he said, "God has handed him over to me, for he has trapped himself by entering a town with barred gates." Then Saul summoned all the troops to go to war at Keilah and besiege David and his men. When David learned that Saul was plotting evil against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod." Then David said, "Lord God of Israel, Your servant has heard that Saul intends to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me. Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down as Your servant has heard? Lord God of Israel, please tell Your servant." The Lord answered, "He will come down." Then David asked, "Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?" "They will," the Lord responded. So David and his men, numbering about 600, left Keilah at once and moved from place to place. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he called off the expedition. David then stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand David over to him. David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in Horesh when he saw that Saul had come out to take his life. Then Saul's son Jonathan came to David in Horesh and encouraged him in [his faith in] God, saying, "Don't be afraid, for my father Saul will never lay a hand on you. You yourself will be king over Israel, and I'll be your second-in-command. Even my father Saul knows it is true." Then the two of them made a covenant in the Lord's presence. Afterwards, David remained in Horesh, while Jonathan went home. Some Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah and said, "David is hiding among us in the strongholds in Horesh on the hill of Hachilah south of Jeshimon. Now, whenever the king wants to come down, let him come down. Our part will be to hand him over to the king." "May you be blessed by the Lord," replied Saul, "for you have taken pity on me Go and check again. Investigate and watch carefully where he goes and who has seen him there; they tell me he is extremely cunning. Look and find out all the places where he hides. Then come back to me with accurate information, and I'll go with you. If it turns out he really is in the region, I'll search for him among all the clans of Judah." So they went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness near Maon in the Arabah south of Jeshimon, and Saul and his men went to look for [him]. When David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Wilderness of Maon. Saul heard of this and pursued David there. Saul went along one side of the mountain and David and his men went along the other side. Even though David was hurrying to get away from Saul, Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them. Then a messenger came to Saul saying, "Come quickly, because the Philistines have raided the land!" So Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to engage the Philistines. Therefore, that place was named the Rock of Separation. From there David went up and stayed in the strongholds of En-gedi. When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, "David is in the wilderness near En-gedi." So Saul took 3,000 of Israel's choice men and went to look for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. When Saul came to the sheep pens along the road, a cave was there, and he went in to relieve himself. David and his men were staying in the back of the cave, so they said to him, "Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: 'I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.'" Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul's robe. Afterwards, David's conscience bothered him because he had cut off the corner of Saul's robe. He said to his men, "I swear before the Lord: I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed. [I will never] lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord's anointed." With these words David persuaded his men, and he did not let them rise up against Saul. Then Saul left the cave and went on his way. After that, David got up, went out of the cave, and called to Saul, "My lord the king!" When Saul looked behind him, David bowed to the ground in homage. David said to Saul, "Why do you listen to the words of people who say, 'Look, David intends to harm you'? You can see with your own eyes that the Lord handed you over to me today in the cave. [Someone] advised [me] to kill you, but I took pity on you and said: I won't lift my hand against my lord, since he is the Lord's anointed. See, my father! Look at the corner of your robe in my hand, for I cut it off, but I didn't kill you. Look and recognize that there is no evil or rebellion in me. I haven't sinned against you even though you are hunting me down to take my life. "May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord take vengeance on you for me, but my hand will never be against you. As the old proverb says, 'Wickedness comes from wicked people.' My hand will never be against you. Who has the king of Israel come after? What are you chasing after? A dead dog? A flea? May the Lord be judge and decide between you and me. May He take notice and plead my case and deliver me from you." When David finished saying these things to him, Saul replied, "Is that your voice, David my son?" Then Saul wept aloud and said to David, "You are more righteous than I, for you have done what is good to me though I have done what is evil to you. You yourself have told me today what good you did for me: when the Lord handed me over to you, you didn't kill me. When a man finds his enemy, does he let him go unharmed?May the Lord repay you with good for what you've done for me today. "Now I know for certain you will be king, and the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. Therefore swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father's family." So David swore to Saul. Then Saul went back home, and David and his men went up to the stronghold. Samuel died, and all Israel assembled to mourn for him, and they buried him by his home in Ramah. David then went down to the Wilderness of Paran. A man in Maon had a business in Carmel; he was a very rich man with 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats and was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The man's name was Nabal, and his wife's name, Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was harsh and evil in [his] dealings. While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep, so David sent 10 young men instructing them, "Go up to Carmel, and when you come to Nabal, greet him in my name. Then say this: 'Long life to you, and peace to you, to your family, and to all that is yours. I hear that you are shearing. When your shepherds were with us, we did not harass them, and nothing of theirs was missing the whole time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. So let [my] young men find favor with you, for we have come on a feast day. Please give whatever you can afford to your servants and to your son David.' " David's young men went and said all these things to Nabal on David's behalf, and they waited. Nabal asked them, "Who is David? Who is Jesse's son? Many slaves these days are running away from their masters. Am I supposed to take my bread, my water, and my meat that I butchered for my shearers and give them to men who are from I don't know where?" David's men retraced their steps. When they returned to him, they reported all these words. He said to his men, "All of you, put on your swords!" So David and all his men put on their swords. About 400 men followed David while 200 stayed with the supplies. One of Nabal's young men informed Abigail, Nabal's wife: "Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he yelled at them. The men treated us well. When we were in the field, we weren't harassed and nothing of ours was missing the whole time we were living among them. They were a wall around us, both day and night, the entire time we were herding the sheep. Now consider carefully what you must do, because there is certain to be trouble for our master and his entire family. He is such a worthless fool nobody can talk to him!" Abigail hurried, taking 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five butchered sheep, a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she said to her male servants, "Go ahead of me. I will be right behind you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal. As she rode the donkey down a mountain pass hidden from view, she saw David and his men coming toward her and met them. David had just said, "I guarded everything that belonged to this man in the wilderness for nothing. He was not missing anything, yet he paid me back evil for good. May God punish me, and even more if I let any of his men [survive] until morning." When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off the donkey and fell with her face to the ground in front of David. She fell at his feet and said, "The guilt is mine, my lord, but please let your servant speak to you directly. Listen to the words of your servant. My lord should pay no attention to this worthless man Nabal, for he lives up to his name: His name is Nabal, and stupidity is all he knows. I, your servant, didn't see my lord's young men whom you sent. Now my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and as you yourself live, it is the Lord who kept you from participating in bloodshed and avenging yourself by your own hand. May your enemies and those who want trouble for my lord be like Nabal. Accept this gift your servant has brought to my lord, and let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive your servant's offense, for the Lord is certain to make a lasting dynasty for my lord because he fights the Lord's battles. Throughout your life, may evil not be found in you. "When someone pursues you and attempts to take your life, my lord's life will be tucked safely in the place where the Lord your God protects the living. However, He will fling away your enemies' lives like [stones] from a sling. When the Lord does for my lord all the good He promised and appoints you ruler over Israel, there will not be remorse or a troubled conscience for my lord because of needless bloodshed or my lord's revenge. And when the Lord does good things for my lord, may you remember [me] your servant." Then David said to Abigail, "Praise to the Lord God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! Blessed is your discernment, and blessed are you. Today you kept me from participating in bloodshed and avenging myself by my own hand. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord God of Israel lives, who prevented me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, Nabal wouldn't have had any men left by morning light." Then David accepted what she had brought him and said, "Go home in peace. See, I have heard what you said and have granted your request." Then Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was in his house, feasting like a king. Nabal was in a good mood and very drunk, so she didn't say anything to him until morning light. In the morning when Nabal sobered up, his wife told him about these events. Then he had a seizure and became paralyzed. About 10 days later, the Lord struck Nabal dead. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Praise the Lord who championed my cause against Nabal's insults and restrained His servant from doing evil. The Lord brought Nabal's evil deeds back on his own head." Then David sent messengers to speak to Abigail about marrying him. When David's servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, "David sent us to bring you to him as a wife." She bowed her face to the ground and said, "Here I am, your servant, to wash the feet of my lord's servants." Then Abigail got up quickly, and with her five female servants accompanying her, rode on the donkey following David's messengers. And so she became his wife. David also married Ahinoam of Jezreel, and the two of them became his wives. But Saul gave his daughter Michal, David's wife, to Palti son of Laish, who was from Gallim. Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, "David is hiding on the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon." So Saul, accompanied by 3,000 of the choice men of Israel, went to the Wilderness of Ziph to search for David there. Saul camped beside the road at the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon. David was living in the wilderness and discovered Saul had come there after him. So David sent out spies and knew for certain that Saul had come. Immediately, David went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the general of his army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the inner circle of the camp with the troops camped around him. Then David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, "Who will go with me into the camp to Saul?" "I'll go with you," answered Abishai. That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. Then Abishai said to David, "Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won't [have to strike] him twice!" But David said to Abishai, "Don't destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord's anointed and be blameless?" David added, "As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. However, because of the Lord, I will never lift my hand against the Lord's anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let's go." So David took the spear and the water jug by Saul's head, and they went their way. No one saw them, no one knew, and no one woke up; they all remained asleep because a deep sleep from the Lord came over them. David crossed to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance; there was a considerable space between them. Then David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner: "Aren't you going to answer, Abner?" "Who are you who calls to the king?" Abner asked. David called to Abner, "You're a man, aren't you? Who in Israel is your equal? So why didn't you protect your lord the king when one of the people came to destroy him? What you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, all of you deserve to die since you didn't protect your lord, the Lord's anointed. Now look around; where are the king's spear and water jug that were by his head?" Saul recognized David's voice and asked, "Is that your voice, my son David?" "It is my voice, my lord and king," David said. Then he continued, "Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What evil is in my hand? Now, may my lord the king please hear the words of his servant: If it is the Lord who has incited you against me, then may He accept an offering. But if it is people, may they be cursed in the presence of the Lord, for today they have driven me away from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord saying, 'Go and worship other gods.' So don't let my blood fall to the ground far from the Lord's presence, for the king of Israel has come out to search for a flea, like one who pursues a partridge in the mountains." Saul responded, "I have sinned. Come back, my son David, I will never harm you again because today you considered my life precious. I have been a fool! I've committed a grave error." David answered, "Here is the king's spear; have one of the young men come over and get it. May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his loyalty. I wasn't willing to lift my hand against the Lord's anointed, even though the Lord handed you over to me today. Just as I considered your life valuable today, so may the Lord consider my life valuable and rescue me from all trouble." Saul said to him, "You are blessed, my son David. You will certainly do great things and will also prevail." Then David went on his way, and Saul returned home. David said to himself, "One of these days I'll be swept away by Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape immediately to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will stop searching for me everywhere in Israel, and I'll escape from him." So David set out with his 600 men and went to Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath. David and his men stayed with Achish in Gath. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow. When it was reported to Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him. Now David said to Achish, "If I have found favor with you, let me be given a place in one of the outlying towns, so I can live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?" That day Achish gave Ziklag to him, and it still belongs to the kings of Judah today. The time that David stayed in the Philistine territory amounted to a year and four months. David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. From ancient times they had been the inhabitants of the region through Shur as far as the land of Egypt. Whenever David attacked the land, he did not leave a single person alive, either man or woman, but he took flocks, herds, donkeys, camels, and clothing. Then he came back to Achish, who inquired, "Where did you raid today?" David replied, "The south country of Judah," "The south country of the Jerahmeelites," or "Against the south country of the Kenites." David did not let a man or woman live to be brought to Gath, for he said, "Or they will inform on us and say, 'This is what David did.' " This was David's custom during the whole time he stayed in the Philistine territory. So Achish trusted David, thinking, "Since he has made himself detestable to his people Israel, he will be my servant forever." At that time, the Philistines brought their military units together into one army to fight against Israel. So Achish said to David, "You know, of course, that you and your men must march out in the army with me." David replied to Achish, "Good, you will find out what your servant can do." So Achish said to David, "Very well, I will appoint you as my permanent bodyguard." By this time Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his city, and Saul had removed the mediums and spiritists from the land. The Philistines came together and camped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel, and they camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine camp, he was afraid and trembled violently. He inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him in dreams or by the Urim or by the prophets. Saul then said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I can go and consult her." His servants replied, "There is a woman at Endor who is a medium." Saul disguised himself by putting on different clothes and set out with two of his men. They came to the woman at night, and Saul said, "Consult a spirit for me. Bring up for me the one I tell you." But the woman said to him, "You surely know what Saul has done, how he has killed the mediums and spiritists in the land. Why are you setting a trap for me to get me killed?" Then Saul swore to her by the Lord: "As surely as the Lord lives, nothing bad will happen to you because of this." "Who is it that you want me to bring up for you?" the woman asked. "Bring up Samuel for me," he answered. When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, and then she asked Saul, "Why did you deceive me? You are Saul!" But the king said to her, "Don't be afraid. What do you see?" "I see a spirit form coming up out of the earth," the woman answered. Then Saul asked her, "What does he look like?" "An old man is coming up," she replied. "He's wearing a robe." Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed his face to the ground and paid homage. "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Samuel asked Saul. "I'm in serious trouble," replied Saul. "The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me. He doesn't answer me any more, either through the prophets or in dreams. So I've called on you to tell me what I should do." Samuel answered, "Since the Lord has turned away from you and has become your enemy, why are you asking me? The Lord has done exactly what He said through me: The Lord has torn the kingship out of your hand and given it to your neighbor David. You did not obey the Lord and did not carry out His wrath against Amalek; therefore the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will also hand Israel over to the Philistines along with you. Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me, and the Lord will hand Israel's army over to the Philistines." Immediately, Saul fell flat on the ground. He was terrified by Samuel's words and was also weak because he hadn't had any food all day and all night. The woman came over to Saul, and she saw that he was terrified and said to him, "Look, your servant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me [to do]. Now please listen to your servant. Let me set some food in front of you. Eat and it will give you strength so you can go on your way." He refused, saying, "I won't eat," but when his servants and the woman urged him, he listened to them. He got up off the ground and sat on the bed. The woman had a fattened calf at her house, and she quickly slaughtered it. She also took flour, kneaded it, and baked unleavened bread. She served it to Saul and his servants, and they ate. Afterwards, they got up and left that night. The Philistines brought all their military units together at Aphek while Israel was camped by the spring in Jezreel. As the Philistine leaders were passing [in review with their units of] hundreds and thousands, David and his men were passing [in review] behind them with Achish. Then the Philistine commanders asked, "What are these Hebrews [doing here]?" Achish answered the Philistine commanders, "That is David, servant of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me a considerable period of time. From the day he defected until today, I've found no fault with him." The Philistine commanders, however, were enraged with Achish and told him, "Send that man back and let him return to the place you assigned him. He must not go down with us into battle only to become our adversary during the battle. What better way could he regain his master's favor than with the heads of our men? Isn't this the David they sing about during their dances: Saul has killed his thousands, but David his tens of thousands?" So Achish summoned David and told him, "As the Lord lives, you are an honorable man. I think it is good to have you working with me in the camp, because I have found no fault in you from the day you came to me until today. But the leaders don't think you are reliable. Now go back quietly and you won't be doing [anything] the Philistine leaders think is wrong." "But what have I done?" David replied to Achish. "From the first day I was with you until today, what have you found against your servant to keep me from going along to fight against the enemies of my lord the king?" Achish answered David, "I'm convinced that you are as reliable as an angel of God. But the Philistine commanders have said, 'He must not go into battle with us.' So get up early in the morning, you and your masters' servants who came with you. When you've all gotten up early, go as soon as it's light." So David and his men got up early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezreel. David and his men arrived in Ziklag on the third day. The Amalekites had raided the Negev and attacked and burned down Ziklag. They also had kidnapped the women and everyone in it from the youngest to the oldest. They had killed no one but had carried them off as they went on their way. When David and his men arrived at the town, they found it burned down. Their wives, sons, and daughters had been kidnapped. David and the troops with him wept loudly until they had no strength left to weep. David's two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had also been kidnapped. David was in a difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over [the loss of] their sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God. David said to Abiathar the priest, son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod." So Abiathar brought it to him, and David asked the Lord: "Should I pursue these raiders? Will I overtake them?" The Lord replied to him, "Pursue [them], for you will certainly overtake [them] and rescue [the people]." David and the 600 men with him went as far as the Wadi Besor, where where 200 men who were to remain behind would stop. They stopped because they were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor. David and 400 of the men continued in pursuit. They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. They gave him some bread to eat and water to drink. Then they gave him some pressed figs and two clusters of raisins. After he ate he revived, for he hadn't eaten food or drunk water for three days and three nights. Then David said to him, "Who do you belong to? Where are you from?" "I'm an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite man," he said. "My master abandoned me when I got sick three days ago. We raided the south country of the Cherethites, [the territory] of Judah, and the south country of Caleb, and we burned down Ziklag." David then asked him, "Will you lead me to these raiders?" He said, "Swear to me by God that you won't kill me or turn me over to my master, and I will lead you to them." So he led him, and there were the Amalekites, spread out over the entire area, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and the land of Judah. David slaughtered them from twilight until the evening of the next day. None of them escaped, except 400 young men who got on camels and fled. David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken; he also rescued his two wives. Nothing [of theirs] was missing from the youngest to the oldest, including the sons and daughters, of all the plunder the Amalekites had taken. David got everything back. He took all the sheep and cattle, which were driven ahead of the other livestock, and the people shouted, "This is David's plunder!" When David came to the 200 men who had been too exhausted to go with him and had been left at the Wadi Besor, they came out to meet him and to meet the troops with him. When David approached the men, he greeted them, but all the worthless men among those who had gone with David retorted, "Because they didn't go with us, we will not give any of the plunder we recovered to them except for each man's wife and children. They may take them and go." But David said, "My brothers, you must not do this with what the Lord has given us. He protected us and handed over to us the raiders who came against us. Who can agree to your proposal? The share of the one who goes into battle is to be the same as the share of the one who remains with the supplies. They will share equally." And it has been so from that day forward. David established [this policy] as a law and an ordinance for Israel [and it continues] to this very day. When David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to his friends, the elders of Judah, saying, "Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the Lord's enemies." [He sent gifts] to those in Bethel, in Ramoth of the Negev, and in Jattir; to those in Aroer, in Siphmoth, and in Eshtemoa; to those in Racal, in the towns of the Jerahmeelites, and in the towns of the Kenites; to those in Hormah, in Bor-ashan, and in Athach; to those in Hebron, and to [those in] all the places where David and his men had roamed. The Philistines fought against Israel, and Israel's men fled from them. Many were killed on Mount Gilboa. The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons and killed his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers caught up with him and severely wounded him. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and run me through and torture me." But his armor-bearer would not do it because he was terrified. Then Saul took his sword and fell on it. When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died with him. So on that day, Saul died together with his three sons, his armor-bearer, and all his men. When the men of Israel on the other side of the valley and on the other side of the Jordan saw that Israel's men had run away and that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled. So the Philistines came and settled in them. The next day when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons dead on Mount Gilboa. They cut off Saul's head, stripped off his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to spread the good news in the temples of their idols and among the people. Then they put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and hung his body on the wall of Beth-shan. When the residents of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all their brave men set out, journeyed all night, and retrieved the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan. When they arrived at Jabesh, they burned the bodies there. Afterwards, they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.