1 Ziphites came to Saul in Gibeah to tell him that David was hiding on the hill of Hachilah, east of Jeshimon. 2 On hearing this, Saul went down with three thousand picked men of Israel to the desert of Ziph in search of David. 3 He encamped on the hill of Hachilah beside the road east of Jeshimon. 4 When David who was in the desert saw that Saul had come after him, he sent out spies who confirmed Saul’s arrival. 5 David came to Saul’s place of encampment and saw where Saul was resting with Abner, son of Ner, chief of his army. Saul was sleeping in the center and his men were around him.
6 David then asked Ahimelech the Hittite, and Abishai, son of Zeruiah and Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?” Abishai answered, “I will go down with you.” 7 So, that night, David and Abishai went into the camp and found Saul sleeping in the center, his spear thrust into the ground at his head, while Abner and the rest of the soldiers were sleeping around him. 8 Abi shai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hands this day. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not repeat it.” 9 But David answered Abishai, “Do not harm him. For who could harm Yahweh’s anointed and not be punished? 10 As Yah weh lives, only Yahweh may strike him; either he dies on the day appointed or is killed in battle. 11 Don’t let me harm Yahweh’s anointed! Instead take the spear that is at his head and the water jug and let us be on our way.”
12 So David took the spear and the water jug from near Saul’s head and they left. Nobody saw, nobody knew, nobody woke up. All remained asleep, for a deep sleep from Yahweh had fallen on them.
13 On the opposite slope David stood at a dis tance, on top of the hill, 14 and called out to both Abner son of Ner and the soldiers, “Why don’t you answer, Ab ner?” Abner answered back, “Who are you to awaken the king?” 15 David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then did you not closely guard your lord the king? An ordinary man has broken into the camp and made an attempt on the life of the king your lord. 16 Is this the way you fulfill your duties? You deserve to die be cause you did not guard your lord, Yah weh’s anointed. Now look for the king’s spear and the water jug that were at his head.”
17 Saul recognized David’s voice and asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” David answered, “It is my voice, my lord, O king! 18 Why does my lord pursue me? What have I done? What am I guilty of? 19 Now, let my lord the king hear my words. If it is Yahweh who has incited you against me, may an offering appease him; but if men have done so, may they be cursed before Yahweh, for they have made me an exile to this day and have driven me from my share of the inheritance of Yahweh as if saying to me: ‘Go and serve other gods.’ 20 Let not my blood flow to the ground far from the presence of Yahweh! For the king of Israel has come to seek out a flea as a man hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Then Saul said, “I have done wrong. Come back, David my son. I will not harm you anymore since you valued my life this day. I have acted like a fool and have made a great mis take.” 22 David answered, “I have your spear with me, O king! Let one of your servants come over to fetch it. 23 Yahweh rewards a righteous and loyal man. Today he delivered you into my hands but I refused to harm Yahweh’s anointed. 24 As I valued your life today, may Yahweh value my life and deliver me from all distress.”
25 Finally Saul told David, “Blessed are you, David my son! You shall succeed in everything you do.” Then David went his way and Saul went home.