The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?”
So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search there for David. Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the desert. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.
Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the Army encamped around him.
David then asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?”
“I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.
So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.
Abishai said to David, “Today YAHWEH has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of my spear; I won’t strike him twice.”
But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on YAHWEH’s anointed and be guiltless? As surely as YAHWEH lives,” he said, “YAHWEH himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But YAHWEH forbid that I should lay a hand on YAHWEH’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”
So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because YAHWEH had put them into a deep sleep.
Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?”
Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?”
David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your master the king? Someone came to destroy your master the king. What you have done is not good. As surely as YAHWEH lives, you and your men deserve to die, because you did not guard your master, YAHWEH’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”
Doesn't this sound like David is almost "taunting" Saul's men? They never knew that David and Abishai were in Saul's tent! Once again, David had a chance to kill Saul but did not do it. Once again, David asks the king what it is he has done. Why do you think Saul keeps trying to kill David? Do you think David would have been right in taking Saul's life?
Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice, David my son?”
David replied, “Yes it is, my master the king.” And he added, “Why is my master pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrong am I guilty of? Now let my master the king listen to his servant’s words. If YAHWEH has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, men have done it, may they be cursed before YAHWEH! They have now driven me from my share in YAHWEH’s inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other mighty ones.’ Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of YAHWEH. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have erred greatly.”
“Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. YAHWEH rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness. YAHWEH delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on YAHWEH’s anointed. As surely as I valued your life today, so may YAHWEH value my life and deliver me from all trouble.”
Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, my son David; you will do great things and surely triumph.”
So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.
But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do is to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand.”
So David and the six hundred men with him left and went over to Achish son of Maoch king of Gath. David and his men settled in Gath with Achish. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, the widow of Nabal. 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 eyes, let a place be assigned to me in one of the country towns, that I may live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?”
So on that day Achish gave him Ziklag, and it has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. David lived in Philistine territory a year and four months.
Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. (From ancient times these peoples had lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt.) Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.
When Achish asked, “Where did you go raiding today?” David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah” or “Against the Negev of Jerahmeel” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.”
He did not leave a man or woman alive to be brought to Gath, for he thought, “They might inform on us and say, ‘This is what David did.’” And such was his practice as long as he lived in Philistine territory. Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He has become so odious to his people, the Israelites, that he will be my servant forever.”
In those days the Philistines gathered their forces to fight against Israel. Achish said to David, “You must understand that you and your men will accompany me in the army.”
David said, “Then you will see for yourself what your servant can do.”
Achish replied, “Very well, I will make you my bodyguard for life.”
Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land.
The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa. When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. He inquired of YAHWEH but YAHWEH did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets.
Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.”
“There is one in Endor,” they said.
So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”
But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?”
Saul swore to her by YAHWEH, “As surely as YAHWEH lives, you will not be punished for this.”
Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?”
“Bring up Samuel,” he said.
When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!”
The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”
The woman said, “I see a spirit coming up out of the ground.”
“What does he look like?” he asked.
“An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said.
Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
“I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and YAHWEH has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.”
Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that YAHWEH has turned away from you and become your enemy? YAHWEH has done what he predicted through me. YAHWEH has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey YAHWEH or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, YAHWEH has done this to you today. YAHWEH will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. YAHWEH will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines.”
Immediately, Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and night.
When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, “Look, your maidservant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way.”
He refused and said, “I will not eat.”
But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch.
The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast. Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.
|Check to see what you have learned by clicking here to take a quiz.
To continue with Chapters 29-31, click here.