David went from there and stayed in the wildernesses of En-gedi.
When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told that David was in the wilderness of En-gedi.
So Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel and went in search of David and his men aMeaning of Heb. uncertain.in the direction of the rocks of the wild goats;-a
and he came to the sheepfolds along the way. There was a cave there, and Saul went in bLit. “to cover his feet.”to relieve himself.-b Now David and his men were sitting in the back of the cave.
David’s men said to him, “This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘I will deliver your enemy into your hands; you can do with him as you please.’” cVv. 5b–6 read well after 8a.David went and stealthily cut off the corner of Saul’s cloak.
But afterward dLit. “David’s heart struck him.”David reproached himself-d for cutting off eSo several mss. and ancient versions; cf. v. 5. Most mss. and editions read “Saul’s corner.”the corner of Saul’s cloak.-e
He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my lord—the LORD’s anointed—that I should raise my hand against him; for he is the LORD’s anointed.”
David rebukedaMeaning of Heb. uncertain. his men and did not permit them to attack Saul.
Saul left the cave and started on his way.
Then David also went out of the cave and called after Saul, “My lord king!” Saul looked around and David bowed low in homage, with his face to the ground.
And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the people who say, ‘David is out to do you harm?’
You can see for yourself now that the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave today. And though aMeaning of Heb. uncertain.I was urged-a to kill you, I showed you pity;fUnderstanding the Heb. as an ellipsis of wattaḥos ‘eni (cf., e.g., Deut. 7.16). for I said, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord, since he is the LORD’s anointed.’
Please, sir,gLit. “[my] father,” cf. 2 Kings 5.13. take a close look at the corner of your cloak in my hand; for when I cut off the corner of your cloak, I did not kill you. You must see plainly that I have done nothing evil or rebellious, and I have never wronged you. Yet you are bent on taking my life.
May the LORD judge between you and me! And may He take vengeance upon you for me, but my hand will never touch you.
As the ancient proverb has it: ‘Wicked deeds come from wicked men!’ My hand will never touch you.
Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog? A single flea?
May the LORD be arbiter and may He judge between you and me! May He take note and uphold my cause, and vindicate me against you.”
When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” And Saul broke down and wept.
He said to David, “You are right, not I; for you have treated me generously, but I have treated you badly.
Yes, you have just revealed how generously you treated me, for the LORD delivered me into your hands and you did not kill me.
If a man meets his enemy, does he let him go his way unharmed? Surely, the LORD will reward you generously for hMeaning of Heb. uncertain. Emendation yields “the generosity you have shown me.”what you have done for me this day.-h
I know now that you will become king, and that the kingship over Israel will remain in your hands.
So swear to me by the LORD that you will not destroy my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s house.”
David swore to Saul, Saul went home, and David and his men went up to the strongholds.