David Spares Saul’s Life

24 [a]After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.(A) So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look(B) for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.

He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave(C) was there, and Saul went in to relieve(D) himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke(E) of when he said[b] to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’”(F) Then David crept up unnoticed and cut(G) off a corner of Saul’s robe.

Afterward, David was conscience-stricken(H) for having cut off a corner of his robe. He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed,(I) or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.(J) He said to Saul, “Why do you listen(K) when men say, ‘David is bent on harming(L) you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared(M) you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut(N) off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty(O) of wrongdoing(P) or rebellion. I have not wronged(Q) you, but you are hunting(R) me down to take my life.(S) 12 May the Lord judge(T) between you and me. And may the Lord avenge(U) the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,(V)’ so my hand will not touch you.

14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog?(W) A flea?(X) 15 May the Lord be our judge(Y) and decide(Z) between us. May he consider my cause and uphold(AA) it; may he vindicate(AB) me by delivering(AC) me from your hand.”

16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice,(AD) David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,”(AE) he said. “You have treated me well,(AF) but I have treated you badly.(AG) 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered(AH) me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward(AI) you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king(AJ) and that the kingdom(AK) of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear(AL) to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.(AM)

22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.(AN)

Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 24:1 In Hebrew texts 24:1-22 is numbered 24:2-23.
  2. 1 Samuel 24:4 Or “Today the Lord is saying

24 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.

Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.

And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.

And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.

And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt.

And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.

So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.

David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself.

And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt?

10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed.

11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.

12 The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea.

15 The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thine hand.

16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.

17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.

18 And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.

19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.

20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.

21 Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house.

22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.

David Spares Saul

24 Now it happened, (A)when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and (B)went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats. So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and (C)Saul went in to (D)attend to his needs. ((E)David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) (F)Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that (G)David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe. And he said to his men, (H)“The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.” So David (I)restrained his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up from the cave and went on his way.

David also arose afterward, went out of the cave, and called out to Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down. And David said to Saul: (J)“Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Indeed David seeks your harm’? 10 Look, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord delivered you today into my hand in the cave, and someone urged me to kill you. But my eye spared you, and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 Moreover, my father, see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is (K)neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you (L)hunt my life to take it. 12 (M)Let the Lord judge between you and me, and let the Lord avenge me on you. But my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, (N)‘Wickedness proceeds from the wicked.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? (O)A dead dog? (P)A flea? 15 (Q)Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and (R)see and (S)plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.”

16 So it was, when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, (T)Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 (U)Then he said to David: “You are (V)more righteous than I; for (W)you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil. 18 And you have shown this day how you have dealt well with me; for when (X)the Lord delivered me into your hand, you did not kill me. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him get away safely? Therefore may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now (Y)I know indeed that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 (Z)Therefore swear now to me by the Lord (AA)that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s house.”

22 So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up to (AB)the stronghold.

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