1David was told, “The Philistines are fighting against the town of Keilah. They are stealing grain from the threshing floors.”2So he asked the Lord for advice. He said, “Should I go and attack those Philistines?” The Lord answered him, “Go and attack them. Save Keilah.”3But David's men said to him, “We're afraid here in Judah. Suppose we go to Keilah and fight against the Philistine army. Then we'll be even more afraid.”4Once again David asked the Lord what he should do. The Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah. I am going to hand the Philistines over to you.”5So David and his men went to Keilah. They fought against the Philistines and carried off their livestock. David wounded and killed large numbers of Philistines. And he saved the people of Keilah.6Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, had brought the linen apron down with him from Nob. He did it when he ran away to David at Keilah.
Saul Chases David
7Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. He said, “God has handed him over to me. David has trapped himself by entering a town that has gates and heavy metal bars.”8So Saul brought together all of his soldiers to go to battle. He ordered them to go down to Keilah. He told them to surround David and his men. He told them to get ready to attack them.9David learned that Saul was planning to attack him. So he said to the priest Abiathar, “Bring the linen apron.”10Then David said, “Lord, you are the God of Israel. I know for sure that Saul plans to come to Keilah. He plans to destroy the town because of me.11Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down here, as I've heard he would? Lord, you are the God of Israel. Please answer me.” The Lord said, “He will come down.”12Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will.”13So David and his men left Keilah. The total number of them was about 600. They kept moving from place to place. Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah. So he didn't go there.14Sometimes David stayed in places of safety in the desert. At other times he stayed in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul looked for him. But God didn't hand David over to him.15David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph. There he learned that Saul had come out to kill him.16Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh. He told David that God would make him strong.17“Don't be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul won't lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel. And I will be next in command. Even my father Saul knows this.”18The two of them made a covenant in the sight of the Lord. Then Jonathan went home. But David remained at Horesh.19The people of Ziph went up to Saul at Gibeah. They said, “David is hiding among us. He's hiding in places of safety at Horesh. Horesh is south of Jeshimon on the hill of Hakilah.20King Saul, come down when it pleases you to come. It will be our duty to hand David over to you.”21Saul replied, “May the Lord bless you because you were concerned about me.22Make sure you are right. Go and check things out again. Find out where David usually goes. Find out who has seen him there. People tell me he's very tricky.23Find out about all of the hiding places he uses. Come back to me with all of the facts. I'll go with you. Suppose he's in the area. Then I'll track him down among all of the family groups of Judah.”24So they started out. They went to Ziph ahead of Saul. David and his men were in the Desert of Maon. Maon is south of Jeshimon in the Arabah Valley.25Saul and his men started out to look for David. David was told about it. So he went down to a rock in the Desert of Maon to hide. Saul heard he was there. So he went into the Desert of Maon to chase David.26Saul was going along one side of the mountain. David and his men were on the other side. They were hurrying to get away from Saul. Saul and his army were closing in on David and his men. They were about to capture them.27Just then a messenger came to Saul. He said, “Come quickly! The Philistines are attacking the land.”28So Saul stopped chasing David. He went to fight against the Philistines. That's why they call that place Sela Hammahlekoth.29David left that place. He went and lived in places of safety near En Gedi.
1 Samuel 23
English Standard Version
David Saves the City of Keilah
1Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” (Jos 15:44)2Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” (1Sa 22:10)3But David’s men said to him, “Behold, 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. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” (Jos 24:11; Jud 7:7; Jud 20:28; 1Sa 23:2; 1Sa 23:14)5And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.6When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. (1Sa 22:20)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.”8And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men.9David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” (Nu 27:21; 1Sa 30:7)10Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account.11Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And 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?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” (1Sa 23:20)13Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. (1Sa 22:2; 1Sa 25:13; 1Sa 27:2; 1Sa 30:9; 2Sa 15:20)14And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand. (Jos 15:24)
Saul Pursues David
15David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh.16And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God.17And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.” (1Sa 20:31; 1Sa 24:20)18And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home. (1Sa 18:3; 1Sa 20:8; 1Sa 20:16; 1Sa 20:42; 2Sa 21:7)19Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon? (Nu 21:20; 1Sa 26:1)20Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down, and our part shall be to surrender him into the king’s hand.” (1Sa 23:12)21And Saul said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me. (Ru 2:20; 1Sa 22:8)22Go, make yet more sure. Know and see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there, for it is told me that he is very cunning.23See therefore and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, 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.”24And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. (De 1:1; Jos 15:55; 1Sa 23:19; 1Sa 25:2)25And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon.26Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them,27a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.”28So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape.29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi. (Jos 15:62; 2Ch 20:2; So 1:14; Eze 47:10)