Deliverance at Keilah
1It was reported to David, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah23:1 Jos 15:44; Neh 3:17–18 and raiding the threshing floors.”
2So David inquired of the Lord:23:2 1Sm 23:4,6,9–12; 2Sm 5:19,23 “Should I launch an attack against these Philistines?”
The Lord answered David, “Launch an attack against the Philistines and rescue Keilah.”
3But David’s men said to him, “Look, we’re afraid here in Judah; how much more if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!”
4Once again, David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go at once to Keilah, for I will hand the Philistines over to you.”23:4 Jos 8:7; Jdg 7:7
5Then David and his men went to Keilah, fought against the Philistines, drove their livestock away, and inflicted heavy losses on them. So David rescued the inhabitants of Keilah.
6Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, and he brought an ephod with him.
7When it was reported to Saul that David had gone to Keilah, he said, “God has handed him over to me, for he has trapped himself by entering a town with barred gates.”
8Then Saul summoned all the troops to go to war at Keilah and besiege David and his men.
9When David learned that Saul was plotting evil against him, he said to the priest Abiathar,23:9 1Sm 22:20 “Bring the ephod.”23:9 1Sm 23:6; 30:7
10Then David said, “Lord God of Israel, your servant has reliable information that Saul intends to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me.
11Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? Lord God of Israel, please tell your servant.”
The Lord answered, “He will come down.”
12Then David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?”
“They will,”23:12 Jdg 15:10–13; 1Sm 23:20 the Lord responded.
13So David and his men, numbering about six hundred,23:13 1Sm 22:2; 25:13 left Keilah at once and moved from place to place.23:13 2Sm 15:20 When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he called off the expedition.
14David then stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph.23:14 Jos 15:55; 2Ch 11:8 Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand David over to him.23:14 Ps 32:7
A Renewed Covenant
15David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in Horesh when he saw that Saul had come out to take his life.
16Then Saul’s son Jonathan came to David in Horesh and encouraged him in his faith23:16 Lit and strengthened his hand in God,23:16 1Sm 30:6
17saying, “Don’t be afraid, for my father Saul will never lay a hand on you. You yourself will be king over Israel,23:17 1Sm 16:1–13; 24:20–22 and I’ll be your second-in-command. Even my father Saul knows it is true.”23:17 1Sm 20:31
18Then the two of them made a covenant in the Lord’s presence.23:18 1Sm 18:3; 20:12–17,42 Afterward, David remained in Horesh, while Jonathan went home.
David’s Narrow Escape
19Some Ziphites23:19 1Sm 26:1; Ps 54 came up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t it true that David is hiding among us in the strongholds in Horesh on the hill of Hachilah south of Jeshimon?
20So now, whenever the king wants to come down, let him come down. As for us, we will be glad to hand him over to the king.”23:20 1Sm 23:12
21“May you be blessed by the Lord,” replied Saul, “for you have shown concern for me.23:21 1Sm 22:8
22Go and check again. Investigate23:22 Lit Know and see where he goes23:22 Lit watch his place where his foot will be and who has seen him there; they tell me he is extremely cunning.
23Investigate23:23 Lit See and know all the places where he hides. Then come back to me with accurate information, and I’ll go with you. If it turns out he really is in the region, I’ll search for him among all the clans23:23 Or thousands of Judah.”
24So they went to Ziph ahead of Saul.
Now David and his men were in the wilderness near Maon23:24 Jos 15:55; 1Sm 25:2 in the Arabah south of Jeshimon,
25and Saul and his men went to look for him. When David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Wilderness of Maon. Saul heard of this and pursued David there.
26Saul went along one side of the mountain and David and his men went along the other side. Even though David was hurrying to get away from Saul, Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them.23:26 Ps 17:9
27Then a messenger came to Saul saying, “Come quickly, because the Philistines have raided the land!”
28So Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to engage the Philistines. Therefore, that place was named the Rock of Separation.
29From there David went up and stayed in the strongholds of En-gedi.23:29 Jos 15:62; 2Ch 20:2