1Saul returned from chasing the Philistines. Then he was told, ‘David is in the Desert of En Gedi.’2So Saul took 3,000 of the best soldiers from the whole nation of Israel. He started out to look for David and his men. He planned to look near the Rocky Cliffs of the Wild Goats.3He came to some sheepfolds along the way. A cave was there. Saul went in to go to the toilet. David and his men were far back in the cave.4David’s men said, ‘This is the day the LORD told you about. He said to you, “I will hand your enemy over to you. Then you can deal with him as you want to.” ’ So David came up close to Saul without being seen. He cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.5Later, David felt sorry that he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.6He said to his men, ‘May the LORD keep me from doing a thing like that again to my master. He is the LORD’s anointed king. So I promise that I will never lay my hand on him. The LORD has anointed him.’7David said that to correct his men. He wanted them to know that they should never suggest harming the king. He didn’t allow them to attack Saul. So Saul left the cave and went on his way.8Then David went out of the cave. He called out to Saul, ‘King Saul! My master!’ When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down. He lay down flat with his face towards the ground.9He said to Saul, ‘Why do you listen when men say, “David is trying to harm you”?10This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD handed you over to me in the cave. Some of my men begged me to kill you. But I didn’t. I said, “I will never lay my hand on my master. He is the LORD’s anointed king.”11Look, my father! Look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe. But I didn’t kill you. See, there is nothing in my hand that shows I am guilty of doing anything wrong. I haven’t turned against you. I haven’t done anything to harm you. But you are hunting me down. You want to kill me.12May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD pay you back because of the wrong things you have done to me. But I won’t do anything to hurt you.13People say, “Evil acts come from those who do evil.” So I won’t do anything to hurt you.14‘King Saul, who are you trying to catch? Who do you think you are chasing? I’m nothing but a dead dog or a flea!15May the LORD be our judge. May he decide between us. May he consider my case and stand up for me. May he show that I’m not guilty of doing anything wrong. May he save me from you.’16When David finished speaking, Saul asked him a question. He said, ‘My son David, is that your voice?’ And Saul wept out loud.17‘You are a better person than I am,’ he said. ‘You have treated me well. But I’ve treated you badly.18You have just now told me about the good things you did to me. The LORD handed me over to you. But you didn’t kill me.19Suppose a man finds his enemy. He doesn’t let him get away without harming him. May the LORD reward you with many good things. May he do it because of the way you treated me today.20I know for sure that you will be king. I know that the kingdom of Israel will be made secure under your control.21Now make a promise in the name of the LORD. Promise me that you won’t kill the children of my family. Also promise me that you won’t wipe out my name from my family line.’22So David made that promise to Saul. Then Saul returned home. But David and his men went up to his usual place of safety.
1 Samuel 24
English Standard Version
David Spares Saul’s Life
1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” (1Sa 23:28)2Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. (1Sa 26:2)3And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, 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. (Jud 3:24)4And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. (1Sa 24:7; 1Sa 26:8)5And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. (2Sa 24:10)6He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” (1Sa 12:3; 1Sa 26:11)7So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way. (Ps 7:4)8Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage.9And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’?10Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.’ (1Sa 24:4; 1Sa 24:6)11See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. (1Sa 26:20; Ps 7:3)12May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. (Ge 16:5; Jud 11:27)13As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you.14After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! (1Sa 17:43; 1Sa 26:20)15May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.” (1Sa 24:12; 1Sa 25:39; Ps 35:1; Ps 43:1; Ps 119:154)16As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. (1Sa 26:17)17He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. (1Sa 26:21)18And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands.19For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day.20And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. (1Sa 23:17)21Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” (Ge 21:23; 2Sa 21:7)22And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold. (1Sa 23:29)