1 Samuel 26
David Again Spares Saul
The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding on the hill of Hachilah, east of Jeshimon?” So Saul arose and went down to the Wilderness of Ziph, taking with him three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search for David [there] in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul camped on the hill of Hachilah, which is beside the road east of Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul came into the wilderness after him, David sent out spies, and he learned that Saul was definitely coming. So David arose and went to the place where Saul had camped, and saw the spot where Saul lay, as well as Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; and Saul was lying inside the circle of the camp, with the army camped around him.
Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother of Joab, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.” So David and Abishai went to the army during the night, and there was Saul lying asleep inside the circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head; and Abner and the people were lying around him. Then Abishai said to David, “God has given your enemy into your hand this day; now then, please let me strike him with the spear driving it to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time.” But David said to Abishai, “Do not kill him, for who can put out his hand against the Lord’s anointed [king] and be guiltless (innocent)?” David also said, “As the Lord lives, most certainly the Lord will strike him [in His own time and way], or his day will come and he will die, or he will go down into battle and be carried off [dead]. The Lord forbid that I would put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed; but now take the spear that is by his head and the jug of water, and let us go.” So David took the spear and the jug of water from beside Saul’s head, and they left, and no one saw or knew nor did anyone awaken, because they were all sound asleep, for a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.
Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on the top of the mountain at a distance, with a large area between them. David called to the army and to Abner the son of Ner, “Will you not answer, Abner?” Abner replied, “Who are you who calls [and disturbs] the king?” David said to Abner, “Are you not a [brave] man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came [into your camp] to kill the king your lord. This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, you surely [a]deserve to die, because you have not guarded your lord, the Lord’s anointed. And now, see where the king’s spear is, and the jug of water that was by his head.”
Then Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord the king!” And David said, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand? Now therefore, please let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the Lord has incited you against me, let Him accept an offering [from me]; but if it is men, may they be cursed before the Lord, because they have driven me out this day to keep me from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away from the presence of the Lord; for the king of Israel has come out to search for a single flea, just as when one hunts a [defenseless] partridge in the mountains.”
Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again because my life was precious in your sight this day. Hear me, I have played the fool and have done a very great wrong [to you].” David answered, “Look, here is the king’s spear! Now let one of the young men come over and get it. The Lord will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord handed you over to me today, but I refused to put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Now behold, just as your life was precious in my sight this day, so let my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may He rescue me from all distress.” Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, my son David; you will both accomplish much and certainly prevail.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
- 1 Samuel 26:16 Lit are sons of death.
1 Samuel 27
David Flees to the Philistines
But David said in his heart, “Now I will die one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me inside the borders of Israel, and I will escape from his hand [once and for all].” So David and the six hundred men who were with him arose and crossed over to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, [who was] Nabal’s widow. When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.
Then David said to Achish, “If I have found favor in your sight, let me be given a place [of my own] in one of the cities in the country, so that I may live there; for why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” Then Achish gave David [the town of] Ziklag that day. Therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to [a]this day. The number of days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites [the enemies of Israel that Joshua had failed to annihilate]; for they had inhabited the land from ancient times, as one comes to Shur even as far as the land of Egypt. David attacked the land and did not leave a man or a woman alive, but he took the sheep, the cattle, the donkeys, the camels, and the clothing, and returned to Achish. When Achish asked, “Where did you raid today?” David replied, “Against the Negev (the South country) of Judah, and against the Negev of the Jerahmeelites, and against the Negev of the Kenites.” David did not leave a man or a woman alive to bring news to Gath, saying [to himself], “Otherwise they will tell about us, saying, ‘This is what David has done, and this has been his practice all the time that he has lived in the country of the Philistines.’” Achish believed David, saying, “He has certainly become hated by his people in Israel; so he will always be my servant.”
- 1 Samuel 27:6 I.e. the time of this writing.
1 Samuel 28
Saul and the Spirit Medium
In those days the Philistines gathered their forces for war to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “Understand for certain that you and your men will go out with me to battle.” David said to Achish, “All right, you shall know what your servant can do.” So Achish said to David, “Therefore I will make you my bodyguard for life.”
Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. And Saul had removed the mediums and the spiritists (soothsayers) from the land. The Philistines assembled and came and camped at Shunem; and Saul gathered all the Israelites and they camped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid and [a]badly shaken. So Saul inquired of the Lord, but the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim [used like lots by the priest to determine the will of God] or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Find for me a woman who is a medium [between the living and the dead], so that I may go to her and ask her advice.” His servants said to him, “There is a woman who is a medium at En-dor.”
So Saul disguised himself by wearing different clothes, and he left with two men, and they came to the woman at night. He said to her, “Conjure up for me, please, and bring up [from the dead] for me [the spirit] whom I shall name to you.” But the woman said to him, “See here, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off (eliminated) those who are mediums and spiritists from the land. So why are you laying a trap for my life, to cause my death?” Then Saul swore [an oath] to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this.” So the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” He said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed with a loud voice; and she said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” The king said to her, “Do not be afraid; but [tell me] what do you see?” The woman said to Saul, “I see a [b]divine [superhuman] being coming up from the earth.” He said to her, “What is his appearance?” And she said, “An old man is coming up, wrapped in a robe.” Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and paid respect [to him].
Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are making war against me, and God has left me and no longer answers me, either through prophets or by dreams; therefore I have called you to make known to me what I should do.” Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has left you and has become your enemy? The Lord has done [to you] just as He said through me [when I was with you]; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. Moreover, the Lord will also put Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me [among the dead]. Indeed, the Lord will put the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.”
Then Saul immediately fell full length on the earth [floor of the medium’s house], and was very afraid because of Samuel’s words; [c]and he was thoroughly exhausted because he had not eaten all day and all night. The woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly troubled, and she said to him, “Look, your maidservant has obeyed you, and I have taken my life in my hand and have listened to everything you said to me. So now, please listen to the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you, and eat, so that you may have strength when you go on your way.” But he refused and said, “I will not eat.” But his servants together with the woman urged him, and he [finally] listened to them. So he got up from the ground and sat on the bed. The woman had a fattened calf in the house; she quickly killed it, and took flour, kneaded it and baked unleavened bread. She brought it before Saul and his servants, and they ate. Then they got up and went away that night.
- 1 Samuel 28:5 Lit his heart trembled greatly.
- 1 Samuel 28:13 Or god.
- 1 Samuel 28:20 Lit there was no strength in him.