1After Saul and his soldiers returned home after fighting against the Philistia army, someone reported to Saul that David and his men had gone into the desert near En-Gedi.
2When Saul heard that, he chose 3,000 men from various areas in Israel, and they went to search for David and his men at a place named Rocks of Wild Goats.
3At a place where the road was alongside some sheep pens, Saul left the road and entered a cave to defecate EUP. He did not know that David and his men were hiding further inside that same cave!
4David's men saw Saul and whispered to David, “Today is the day that Yahweh spoke about when he said, ‘I will enable you to defeat your enemy.’ You can do to him whatever you want to!” So David crept toward the entrance of the cave and with his knife he cut off a piece of Saul's robe.
5And then he returned to his men. But then David felt guilty for having cut off a piece of Saul's robe.
6He said to his men, “I should not have done that to the king! I hope/desire that Yahweh will never allow me to attack the one whom God has appointed, because Yahweh is the one who chose him to be the king.”
7By saying that, David restrained his men, and did not allow them to kill Saul.
8After Saul left the cave and started to walk on the road again, David came out of the cave and shouted to Saul, “King Saul!” Saul turned around and looked, and David bowed down with his face touching the ground.
9Then he said to Saul, “◄Why do you pay attention to people when they say ‘David wants to harm you’?/You should not pay attention to people when they say ‘David wants to harm you’.► RHQ
10Today you can see with your own eyes that what they say is not true. Yahweh put you in a place where my men and I could have killed you when you were in this cave. Some of my men told me that I should do that, but I did not do that. I said to them, ‘I will not harm my master, because he is the king whom Yahweh appointed.’
11Your majesty, look at this piece of your robe that is in my hand! I cut it from your robe, but I did not kill you. So now you should be able to understand that I am not planning to do anything evil to you. I have not done anything wrong to you, but you are searching for me to kill me.
12I hope/desire that Yahweh will judge and decide which of us ◄ is doing what is right/pleases him►. And I hope/desire that he will punish you for the wrong things that you have done to me. But I will not try to harm you.
13There is a proverb that has the words, ‘Evil things are done by evil people.’ But I am not evil, so I will not do evil things to you.
14You are the king of Israel. So ◄why are you pursuing me?/you should not be pursuing me.► RHQ I am as harmless as MET a dead dog or a flea.
15I hope/desire that Yahweh will judge which of us is doing what ◄he wants/is right►. I trust that he will act like a lawyer and judge ◄my case/what I have done►, and that he will rescue me from your power MTY.”
16When David finished speaking, Saul called out to him and asked, “My son David, is that your voice that I am hearing?” Then he began to cry loudly.
17He said, “You are a better man than I am. You have done something very good to me when I tried to do something very bad to you.
18When Yahweh put me in a place in that cave where you could have easily killed me, you did not do that.
19◄Who else would/No one else would► find his enemy and allow his enemy to escape when he could kill him instead RHQ. I hope/desire that Yahweh will reward you for being kindly to me today.
20I know that some day you will surely become the king, and that your kingdom will prosper as you rule the Israeli people.
21Now while Yahweh is listening, solemnly promise to me that you will not kill my family and get rid of all my descendants.”
22David solemnly promised Saul that he would not harm Saul's family. Then Saul went back home, and David and his men went back up into the place where they had been hiding.