1Samuel (NAB) 26

David Spares Saul's Life a Second Time

26 1 Men from Ziph came to Saul in Gibeah, reporting that David was hiding on the hill of Hachilah at the edge of the wasteland.2 So Saul went off down to the desert of Ziph with three thousand picked men of Israel, to search for David in the desert of Ziph.3 Saul camped beside the road on the hill of Hachilah, at the edge of the wasteland. David, who was living in the desert, saw that Saul had come into the desert after him4 and sent out scouts, who confirmed Saul's arrival.5 David himself then went to the place where Saul was encamped and examined the spot where Saul and Abner, son of Ner, the general, had their sleeping quarters. Saul's were within the barricade, and all his soldiers were camped around him.
David asked Ahimelech the Hittite, and Abishai, son of Zeruiah and brother of Joab, "Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?" Abishai replied, "I will."7 So David and Abishai went among Saul's soldiers by night and found Saul lying asleep within the barricade, with his spear thrust into the ground at his head and Abner and his men sleeping around him.8 Abishai whispered to David: "God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need a second thrust!"9 But David said to Abishai, "Do not harm him, for who can lay hands on the LORD'S anointed and remain unpunished?10 As the LORD lives," David continued, "it must be the LORD himself who will strike him, whether the time comes for him to die, or he goes out and perishes in battle.11 But the LORD forbid that I touch his anointed! Now take the spear which is at his head and the water jug, and let us be on our way."12 So David took the spear and the water jug from their place at Saul's head, and they got away without anyone's seeing or knowing or awakening. All remained asleep, because the LORD had put them into a deep slumber.
Going across to an opposite slope, David stood on a remote hilltop at a great distance from Abner, son of Ner, and the troops.14 He then shouted, "Will you not answer, Abner?" And Abner answered, "Who is it that calls me?"15 David said to Abner: "Are you not a man whose like does not exist in Israel? Why, then, have you not guarded your lord the king when one of his subjects went to kill the king, your lord?16 This is no creditable service you have performed. As the LORD lives, you people deserve death because you have not guarded your lord, the LORD'S anointed. Go, look: where are the king's spear and the water jug that was at his head?"17 Saul recognized David's voice and asked, "Is that your voice, my son David?" David answered, "Yes, my lord the king."18 He continued: "Why does my lord pursue his servant? What have I done? What evil do I plan?19 Please, now, let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If the LORD has incited you against me, let an offering appease him; but if men, may they be cursed before the LORD, because they have exiled me so that this day I have no share in the LORD'S inheritance, but am told: 'Go serve other gods!' 20 Do not let my blood flow to the ground far from the presence of the LORD. For the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea as if he were hunting partridge in the mountains."
Then Saul said: "I have done wrong. Come back, my son David, I will not harm you again, because you have held my life precious today. Indeed, I have been a fool and have made a serious mistake."22 But David answered: "Here is the king's spear. Let an attendant come over to get it.23 The LORD will reward each man for his justice and faithfulness. Today, though the LORD delivered you into my grasp, I would not harm the LORD'S anointed.24 As I valued your life highly today, so may the LORD value my life highly and deliver me from all difficulties."25 Then Saul said to David: "Blessed are you, my son David! You shall certainly succeed in whatever you undertake." David went his way, and Saul returned to his home.

David Serves King Achish of Gath

27 1 But David said to himself: "I shall perish some day at the hand of Saul. I have no choice but to escape to the land of the Philistines; then Saul will give up his continual search for me throughout the land of Israel, and I shall be out of his reach."2 Accordingly, David departed with his six hundred men and went over to Achish, son of Maoch, king of Gath.3 David and his men lived in Gath with Achish; each one had his family, and David had his two wives, Ahinoam from Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel.4 When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.5 David said to Achish: "If I meet with your approval, let me have a place to live in one of the country towns. Why should your servant live with you in the royal city?"6 That same day Achish gave him Ziklag, which has, therefore, belonged to the kings of Judah up to the present time. 7 In all, David lived a year and four months in the country of the Philistines.
David and his men went up and made raids on the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites-peoples living in the land between Telam, on the approach to Shur, and the land of Egypt.9 In attacking the land David would not leave a man or woman alive, but would carry off sheep, oxen, asses, camels, and clothes. On his return he brought these to Achish,10 who asked, "Whom did you raid this time?" And David answered, "The Negeb of Judah," or "The Negeb of Jerahmeel," or "The Negeb of the Kenites."11 But David would not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, fearing that they would betray him by saying, "This is what David did." This was his custom as long as he lived in the country of the Philistines.12 And Achish trusted David, thinking, "He must certainly be detested by his people Israel. I shall have him as my vassal forever."

28 1 In those days the Philistines mustered their military forces to fight against Israel. So Achish said to David, "You realize, of course, that you and your men must go out on campaign with me to Jezreel."2 David answered Achish, "Good! Now you shall learn what your servant can do." Then Achish said to David, "I shall appoint you my permanent bodyguard."

Saul Consults a Medium

3 Now Samuel had died and, after being mourned by all Israel, was buried in his city, Ramah. Meanwhile Saul had driven mediums and fortune-tellers out of the land.4 The Philistine levies advanced to Shunem and encamped. Saul, too, mustered all Israel; they camped on Gilboa.5 When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was dismayed and lost heart completely.6 He therefore consulted the LORD; but the LORD gave no answer, whether in dreams or by the Urim or through prophets.
Then Saul said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, to whom I can go to seek counsel through her." His servants answered him, "There is a woman in Endor who is a medium."8 So he disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and set out with two companions. They came to the woman by night, and Saul said to her, "Tell my fortune through a ghost; conjure up for me the one I ask you to."9 But the woman answered him, "You are surely aware of what Saul has done, in driving the mediums and fortune-tellers out of the land. Why, then, are you laying snares for my life, to have me killed?"10 But Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As the LORD lives, you shall incur no blame for this."11 Then the woman asked him, "Whom do you want me to conjure up?" and he answered, "Samuel."12 When the woman saw Samuel, she shrieked at the top of her voice and said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!" 13 But the king said to her, "Have no fear. What do you see?" The woman answered Saul, "I see a preternatural being rising from the earth."14 "What does he look like?" asked Saul. And she replied, "It is an old man who is rising, clothed in a mantle." Saul knew that it was Samuel, and so he bowed face to the ground in homage.
Samuel then said to Saul, "Why do you disturb me by conjuring me up?" Saul replied: "I am in great straits, for the Philistines are waging war against me and God has abandoned me. Since he no longer answers me through prophets or in dreams, I have called you to tell me what I should do."16 To this Samuel said: "But why do you ask me, if the LORD has abandoned you and is with your neighbor?17 The LORD has done to you what he foretold through me: he has torn the kingdom from your grasp and has given it to your neighbor David.18 "Because you disobeyed the LORD'S directive and would not carry out his fierce anger against Amalek, the LORD has done this to you today.19 Moreover, the LORD will deliver Israel, and you as well, into the clutches of the Philistines. By tomorrow you and your sons will be with me, and the LORD will have delivered the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines."
Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, for he was badly shaken by Samuel's message. Moreover, he had no bodily strength left, since he had eaten nothing all that day and night.21 Then the woman came to Saul, and seeing that he was quite terror-stricken, said to him: "Remember, your maidservant obeyed you: I took my life in my hands and fulfilled the request you made of me.22 Now you, in turn, please listen to your maidservant. Let me set something before you to eat, so that you may have strength when you go on your way."23 But he refused, saying, "I will not eat." However, when his servants joined the woman in urging him, he listened to their entreaties, got up from the ground, and sat on a couch.24 The woman had a stall-fed calf in the house, which she now quickly slaughtered. Then taking flour, she kneaded it and baked unleavened bread.25 She set the meal before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they stood up and left the same night.

The Philistines Reject David

29 1 Now the Philistines had mustered all their forces in Aphek, and the Israelites were encamped at the spring of Harod near Jezreel.2 As the Philistine lords were marching their groups of a hundred and a thousand, David and his men were marching in the rear guard with Achish.3 The Philistine chiefs asked, "What are those Hebrews doing here?" And Achish answered them: "Why, that is David, the officer of Saul, king of Israel. He has been with me now for a year or two, and I have no fault to find with him from the day he came over to me until the present."4 But the Philistine chiefs were angered at this and said to him: "Send that man back! Let him return to the place you picked out for him. He must not go down into battle with us, lest during the battle he become our enemy. For how else can he win back his master's favor, if not with the heads of these men of ours?5 Is this not the David of whom they sing during their dances, 'Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands'?"
So Achish summoned David and said to him: "As the LORD lives, you are honest, and I should be pleased to have you active with me in the camp, for I have found nothing wrong with you from the day of your arrival to this day. But you are not welcome to the lords.7 Withdraw peaceably, now, and do nothing that might displease the Philistine lords."8 But David said to Achish: "What have I done? Or what have you against your servant from the first day I have been with you to this day, that I cannot go to fight against the enemies of my lord the king?"9 "You know," Achish answered David, "that you are acceptable to me. But the Philistine chiefs have determined you are not to go up with us to battle.10 So the first thing tomorrow, you and your lord's servants who came with you, go to the place I picked out for you. Do not decide to take umbrage at this; you are as acceptable to me as an angel of God. But make an early morning start, as soon as it grows light, and be on your way."11 So David and his men left early in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines. The Philistines, however, went on up to Jezreel.

David Avenges the Destruction of Ziklag

30 1 Before David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had raided the Negeb and Ziklag, had stormed the city, and had set it on fire.2 They had taken captive the women and all who were in the city, young and old, killing no one; they had carried them off when they left.3 David and his men arrived at the city to find it burned to the ground and their wives, sons and daughters taken captive.4 Then David and those who were with him wept aloud until they could weep no more.5 David's two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal from Carmel, had also been carried off with the rest.6 Now David found himself in great difficulty, for the men spoke of stoning him, so bitter were they over the fate of their sons and daughters. But with renewed trust in the LORD his God,
David said to Abiathar, the priest, son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod!" When Abiathar brought him the ephod,8 David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I pursue these raiders? Can I overtake them?" The LORD answered him, "Go in pursuit, for you shall surely overtake them and effect a rescue."9 So David went off with his six hundred men and came as far as the Wadi Besor, where those who were to remain behind halted.10 David continued the pursuit with four hundred men, but two hundred were too exhausted to cross the Wadi Besor and remained behind.11 An Egyptian was found in the open country and brought to David. He was provided with food, which he ate, and given water to drink;12 a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of pressed raisins were also offered to him. When he had eaten, he revived; he had not taken food nor drunk water for three days and three nights.13 Then David asked him, "To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?" He replied: "I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me because I fell sick three days ago today.14 We raided the Negeb of the Cherethites, the territory of Judah, and the Negeb of Caleb; and we set Ziklag on fire."15 David then asked him, "Will you lead me down to this raiding party?" He answered, "Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me to my master, and I will lead you to the raiding party."16 He did lead them, and there were the Amalekites scattered all over the ground, eating, drinking, and in a festive mood because of all the rich booty they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.17 From dawn to sundown David attacked them, putting them under the ban so that none escaped except four hundred young men, who mounted their camels and fled.18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, and rescued his two wives.19 Nothing was missing, small or great, booty or sons or daughters, of all that the Amalekites had taken. David brought back everything.20 Moreover, David took all the sheep and oxen, and as they drove these before him, they shouted, "This is David's spoil!"
When David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him, and whom he had left behind at the Wadi Besor, they came out to meet David and the men with him. On nearing them David greeted them.22 But all the stingy and worthless men among those who had accompanied David spoke up to say, "Since they did not accompany us, we will not give them anything from the booty, except to each man his wife and children. Let them take those along and be on their way."23 But David said: "You must not do this, my brothers, after what the LORD has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our grip the band that came against us.24 Who could agree with this proposal of yours? Rather, the share of the one who goes down to battle and that of the one who remains with the baggage shall be the same; they shall share alike."25 And from that day forward he made it a law and a custom in Israel, as it still is today.26 When David came to Ziklag, he sent part of the spoil to the elders of Judah, city by city, saying, "This is a gift to you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD":27 to those in Bethel, to those in Ramoth-negeb, to those in Jattir,28 to those in Aroer, to those in Siphmoth, to those in Eshtemoa,29 to those in Racal, to those in the Jerahmeelite cities, to those in the Kenite cities,30 to those in Hormah, to those in Borashan, to those in Athach,31 to those in Hebron, and to all the places frequented by David and his men.

The Death of Saul and His Sons

31 1 As they pressed their attack on Israel, with the Israelites fleeing before them and falling mortally wounded on Mount Gilboa,2 the Philistines pursued Saul and his sons closely, and slew Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, sons of Saul.3 The battle raged around Saul, and the archers hit him; he was pierced through the abdomen.4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, lest these uncircumcised come and make sport of me." But his armor-bearer, badly frightened, refused to do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 Thus Saul, his three sons, and his armor-bearer died together on that same day.7 When the Israelites on the slope of the valley and those along the Jordan saw that the men of Israel had fled and that Saul and his sons were dead, they too abandoned their cities and fled. Then the Philistines came and lived in those cities.
The day after the battle the Philistines came to strip the slain, and found Saul and his three sons lying on Mount Gilboa.
They cut off Saul's head and stripped him of his armor, and then sent the good news throughout the land of the Philistines to their idols and to the people.
They put his armor in the temple of Astarte, but impaled his body on the wall of Bethshan.
When the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,
all their warriors set out, and after marching throughout the night, removed the bodies of Saul and his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and brought them to Jabesh, where they cremated them.
Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted for seven days.

1Samuel (NAB) 26