How David consulted God
1 David received a report that the Philistines were attacking Keilah and plun dering the threshing floors. 2 He, therefore, consulted Yahweh and asked, “Shall I go and fight with these Philis tines?” The answer was, “Go and attack the Philistines and rescue Keilah.” 3 But David’s men protested and said, “Look, here in Judah we are in danger and afraid. What then if we go to Keilah and face the Philistines?”
4 So David consulted Yahweh again and got this answer, “Go down to Keilah for I will deliver the Philistines into your hands.” 5 David went with his men to Keilah and fought with the Phi listines, seizing their cattle and causing a great slaughter among them; and he rescued the inhabitants of the place.
6 When Abiathar, son of Ahimelech, fled to David at Keilah, he took along the ephod. 7 When Saul was told that David had come to Keilah he said, “God has delivered him into my hands for he has shut himself in by entering a city with gates and bars.” 8 He then called on all the people to go down to Keilah and en gage David and his men in battle. 9 When David found out that Saul meant to harm him, he told the priest Abiathar to bring the ephod. 10 Then he consulted Yahweh, “O Yahweh, God of Israel, listen to your servant for I have heard that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the city on my account. 11 Will Saul come down as I heard? O Yahweh, God of Israel, speak to your servant.” Yahweh answered, “He will come down.” 12 Then David asked, “Will the lords of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?” Yahweh answered, “They will hand you over to him.” 13 So David set out with his six hundred men. He left Keilah and wandered from one place to another. When Saul was informed that David had escaped from Keilah, he abandoned the expedition. 14 Meanwhile David stayed in the strongholds in the hill country of the desert of Ziph. Saul, however, kept on searching for him but God did not deliver David into his hands.
15 David knew that Saul had come out to kill him. And he remained at Horesh in the desert of Ziph. 16 Saul’s son, Jona than, went to him and encouraged him in God’s name with these words, 17 “Have no fear, for my father Saul will not harm you. Even my father Saul knows that you shall be king over Israel and that I shall be second to you.” 18 The two made an agree ment before Yahweh in Horesh, after which David remained there while Jonathan returned home.
19 Some of the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and told him, “David is hiding among us in the refuges of Horesh on the hill of Hachilah, south of Jeshimon. 20 Come down, therefore, O king, whenever it may please you and we shall deliver him into your hands.” 21 Saul replied, “May Yahweh bless you for you have had mercy on me. 22 Go and make sure where he has been and who has seen him there for I am told that he is very cunning. 23 Check all the places where he may be hiding and come back to me, and I will go with you. If he is in the region, I will search him out among all the clans of Judah.”
24 So they went off to Ziph ahead of Saul. At this time, David and his men were in the desert of Maon, in the valley south of Jeshimon.
25 When David learned that Saul and his men were looking for him, he went down to a ravine in the desert of Maon. Saul heard of this and pursued David into the desert of Maon. 26 Saul moved along one side of the mountain, and David along the other. David was hurrying to escape from Saul who with his forces was closing in on him and his men. 27 It was then that a messenger came to Saul and said, “Come quickly be cause the Philistines have invaded the land!” 28 Saul then left off pursuing David and went to face the Philistines. This is how that place came to be called the Ravine of Parting.