David Spares Saul
1When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines,24:1 1Sm 23:28–29 he was told, “David is in the wilderness near En-gedi.”24:1 1Sm 23:19
2So Saul took three thousand of Israel’s fit young men24:2 1Sm 13:2; 26:2 and went to look for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats.
3When Saul came to the sheep pens along the road, a cave was there, and he went in to relieve himself.24:3 Lit to cover his feet24:3 Jdg 3:24 David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave,24:3 Ps 57; Ps 142
4so they said to him, “Look, this is the day the Lord told you about: ‘I will hand your enemy over to you so you can do to him whatever you desire.’” Then David got up and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.
5Afterward, David’s conscience bothered24:5 Lit David’s heart struck24:5 2Sm 24:10 him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.24:5 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg; other Hb mss omit robe
6He said to his men, “As the Lord is my witness, I would never do such a thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed.24:6 1Sm 26:9–11 I will never lift my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”24:6 1Sm 10:1
7With these words David persuaded24:7 Or restrained his men, and he did not let them rise up against Saul.
Then Saul left the cave and went on his way.
8After that, David got up, went out of the cave, and called to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David knelt low with his face to the ground and paid homage.24:8 1Sm 25:23–24; 1Kg 1:31
9David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of people who say, ‘Look, David intends to harm you’?
10You can see with your own eyes that the Lord handed you over to me today in the cave.24:10 Ps 7:3–4 Someone advised me to kill you,24:10 1Sm 24:4 but I24:10 LXX, Syr, Tg; MT reads she or it24:10 Or my eye took pity on you and said: I won’t lift my hand against my lord, since he is the Lord’s anointed.
11Look, my father!24:11 2Kg 5:13 Look at the corner of your robe in my hand, for I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. Recognize24:11 Lit Know and see that I’ve committed no crime or rebellion. I haven’t sinned against you even though you are hunting me down to take my life.24:11 1Sm 23:14,23; 26:20
12“May the Lord judge between me and you, and may the Lord take vengeance on you for me, but my hand will never be against you.24:12 1Sm 26:10–11,23
13As the old proverb says, ‘Wickedness comes from wicked people.’24:13 Mt 7:16–20; Lk 6:43–45 My hand will never be against you.
14Who has the king of Israel come after? What are you chasing after? A dead dog? A single flea?24:14 1Sm 26:20; 2Sm 9:8
15May the Lord be judge and decide between you and me. May he take notice and plead my case and deliver24:15 Lit render a verdict for me from you.”24:15 Ps 35:1
16When David finished saying these things to him, Saul replied, “Is that your voice, David my son?” 24:16 1Sm 26:17 Then Saul wept aloud
17and said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have done what is good to me though I have done what is evil to you.24:17 1Sm 26:21
18You yourself have told me today what good you did for me: when the Lord handed me over to you, you didn’t kill me.24:18 1Sm 26:23
19When a man finds his enemy, does he let him go unharmed?24:19 Lit go on a good way24:19 1Sm 23:17; Pr 16:29 May the Lord repay you with good for what you’ve done for me today.
20“Now I know for certain you will be king, and the kingdom of Israel will be established24:20 Or will flourish in your hand.24:20 1Sm 13:14; 16:1–13
21Therefore swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”24:21 Gn 21:23; 1Sm 20:14–17; 2Sm 21:6–8
22So David swore to Saul. Then Saul went back home, and David and his men went up to the stronghold.24:22 1Sm 23:29