2David said to the priest Ahimelech, “The king has charged me with a matter, and said to me, ‘No one must know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place.3Now then, what have you at hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.”4The priest answered David, “I have no ordinary bread at hand, only holy bread—provided that the young men have kept themselves from women.”5David answered the priest, “Indeed women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition; the vessels of the young men are holy even when it is a common journey; how much more today will their vessels be holy?”6So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.7Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; his name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul's shepherds.8David said to Ahimelech, “Is there no spear or sword here with you? I did not bring my sword or my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste.”9The priest said, “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 will take that, take it, for there is none here except that one.” David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”David Flees to Gath
10David rose and fled that day from Saul; he went to King Achish of Gath.11The servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances,
‘Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands’?”12David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of King Achish of Gath.13So he changed his behavior before them; he pretended to be mad when in their presence. He scratched marks on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle run down his beard.14Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is mad; why then have you brought him to me?15Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”Chapter 22David and His Followers at Adullam
1David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; when his brothers and all his father's house heard of it, they went down there to him.2Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Those who were with him numbered about four hundred.3David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. He said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother come to you, until I know what God will do for me.”4He left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold.5Then the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not remain in the stronghold; leave, and go into the land of Judah.” So David left, and went into the forest of Hereth.Saul Slaughters the Priests at Nob
6Saul heard that David and those who were with him had been located. Saul was sitting at Gibeah, under the tamarisk tree on the height, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing around him.7Saul said to his servants who stood around him, “Hear now, you Benjaminites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds?8Is that why all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a league with the son of Jesse, none of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as he is doing today.”9Doeg the Edomite, who was in charge of Saul's servants, answered, “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech son of Ahitub;10he inquired of the Lord for him, gave him provisions, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”11The king sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and for all his father's house, the priests who were at Nob; and all of them came to the king.12Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” He answered, “Here I am, my lord.”13Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, by giving him bread and a sword, and by inquiring of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as he is doing today?”14Then Ahimelech answered the king, “Who among all your servants is so faithful as David? He is the king's son-in-law, and is quick to do your bidding, and is honored in your house.15Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? By no means! Do not let the king impute anything to his servant or to any member of my father's house; for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little.”16The king said, “You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father's house.”17The king said to the guard who stood around him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David; they knew that he fled, and did not disclose it to me.” But the servants of the king would not raise their hand to attack the priests of the Lord.18Then the king said to Doeg, “You, Doeg, turn and attack the priests.” Doeg the Edomite turned and attacked the priests; on that day he killed eighty-five who wore the linen ephod.19Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; men and women, children and infants, oxen, donkeys, and sheep, he put to the sword.20But one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David.21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord.22David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I am responsible for the lives of all your father's house.23Stay with me, and do not be afraid; for the one who seeks my life seeks your life; you will be safe with me.”Chapter 23David Saves the City of Keilah
1Now they told David, “The Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and are robbing the threshing floors.”2David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” The Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”3But David's men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?”4Then David inquired of the Lord again. The Lord answered him, “Yes, go down to Keilah; for I will give the Philistines into your hand.”5So David and his men went to Keilah, fought with the Philistines, brought away their livestock, and dealt them a heavy defeat. Thus David rescued the inhabitants of Keilah.6When Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, he came down with an ephod in his hand.7Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand; for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.”8Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.9When David learned that Saul was plotting evil against him, he said to the priest Abiathar, “Bring the ephod here.”10David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account.11And now, will Saul come down as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, I beseech you, tell your servant.” The Lord said, “He will come down.”12Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” The Lord said, “They will surrender you.”13Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, set out and left Keilah; they wandered wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition.14David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but the Lord! did not give him into his hand.David Eludes Saul in the Wilderness
15David was in the Wilderness of Ziph at Horesh when he learned that Saul had come out to seek his life.16Saul's son Jonathan set out and came to David at Horesh; there he strengthened his hand through the Lord.17He said to him, “Do not be afraid; for the hand of my father Saul shall not find you; you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be second to you; my father Saul also knows that this is so.”18Then the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.19Then some Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “David is hiding among us in the strongholds of Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon.20Now, O king, whenever you wish to come down, do so; and our part will be to surrender him into the king's hand.”21Saul said, “May you be blessed by the Lord for showing me compassion!22Go and make sure once more; find out exactly where he is, and who has seen him there; for I am told that he is very cunning.23Look around and learn all the hiding places where he lurks, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you; and if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.”24So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.
David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon.25Saul and his men went to search for him. When David was told, he went down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. When Saul heard that, he pursued David into the wilderness of Maon.26Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. David was hurrying to get away from Saul, while Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them.27Then a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come; for the Philistines have made a raid on the land.”28So Saul stopped pursuing David, and went against the Philistines; therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape.29 David then went up from there, and lived in the strongholds of En-gedi.Chapter 24David Spares Saul's Life
1When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.”2Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to look for David and his men in the direction of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.3He came to the sheepfolds beside the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave.4The men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” Then David went and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul's cloak.5Afterward David was stricken to the heart because he had cut off a corner of Saul's cloak.6He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's anointed, to raise my hand against him; for he is the Lord's anointed.”7So David scolded his men severely and did not permit them to attack Saul. Then Saul got up and left the cave, and went on his way.8Afterwards David also rose up and went out of the cave and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.9David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of those who say, ‘David seeks to do you harm’?10This very day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave; and some urged me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed.’11See, my father, see the corner of your cloak in my hand; for by the fact that I cut off the corner of your cloak, and did not kill you, you may know for certain that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you are hunting me to take my life.12May the Lord judge between me and you! May the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you.13As the ancient proverb says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you.14Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A single flea?15May the Lord therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and you. May he see to it, and plead my cause, and vindicate me against you.”16When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Saul lifted up his voice and wept.17He said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil.18Today you have explained how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands.19For who has ever found an enemy, and sent the enemy safely away? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day.20Now I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.21Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not wipe out my name from my father's house.”22So David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home; but David and his men went up to the stronghold.Chapter 25Death of Samuel
1Now Samuel died; and all Israel assembled and mourned for him. They buried him at his home in Ramah.
Then David got up and went down to the wilderness of Paran.David and the Wife of Nabal
2There was a man in Maon, whose property was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel.3Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was clever and beautiful, but the man was surly and mean; he was a Calebite.4David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep.5So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name.6Thus you shall salute him: ‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.7I hear that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing, all the time they were in Carmel.8Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your sight; for we have come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’ ”9When David's young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David; and then they waited.10But Nabal answered David's servants, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are breaking away from their masters.11Shall I take my bread and my water and the meat that I have butchered for my shearers, and give it to men who come from I do not know where?”12So David's young men turned away, and came back and told him all this.13David said to his men, “Every man strap on his sword!” And every one of them strapped on his sword; David also strapped on his sword; and about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.14But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, “David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he shouted insults at them.15Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we never missed anything when we were in the fields, as long as we were with them;16they were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.17Now therefore know this and consider what you should do; for evil has been decided against our master and against all his house; he is so ill-natured that no one can speak to him.”18Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep ready dressed, five measures of parched grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs. She loaded them on donkeys19and said to her young men, “Go on ahead of me; I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.20As she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, David and his men came down toward her; and she met them.21Now David had said, “Surely it was in vain that I protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; but he has returned me evil for good.22God do so to David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.”23When Abigail saw David, she hurried and alighted from the donkey, fell before David on her face, bowing to the ground.24She fell at his feet and said, “Upon me alone, my lord, be the guilt; please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant.25My lord, do not take seriously this ill-natured fellow, Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I, your servant, did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.26“Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, since the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from taking vengeance with your own hand, now let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be like Nabal.27And now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord.28Please forgive the trespass of your servant; for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord; and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live.29If anyone should rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living under the care of the Lord your God; but the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling.30When the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel,31my lord shall have no cause of grief, or pangs of conscience, for having shed blood without cause or for having saved himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”32David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today!33Blessed be your good sense, and blessed be you, who have kept me today from bloodguilt and from avenging myself by my own hand!34For as surely as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there would not have been left to Nabal so much as one male.”35Then David received from her hand what she had brought him; he said to her, “Go up to your house in peace; see, I have heeded your voice, and I have granted your petition.”36Abigail came to Nabal; he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she told him nothing at all until the morning light.37In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him; he became like a stone.38About ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.39When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has judged the case of Nabal's insult to me, and has kept back his servant from evil; the Lord has returned the evildoing of Nabal upon his own head.” Then David sent and wooed Abigail, to make her his wife.40When David's servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.”41She rose and bowed down, with her face to the ground, and said, “Your servant is a slave to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.”42Abigail got up hurriedly and rode away on a donkey; her five maids attended her. She went after the messengers of David and became his wife.43David also married Ahinoam of Jezreel; both of them became his wives.44Saul had given his daughter Michal, David's wife, to Palti son of Laish, who was from Gallim.Chapter 26David Spares Saul's Life a Second Time
1Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “David is in hiding on the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite Jeshimon.”2So Saul rose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, with three thousand chosen men of Israel, to seek David in the Wilderness of Ziph.