1One day some of the people of Ziph town went to Saul while he was at Gibeah, and they said to him, “David is hiding in a cave on Hakilah hill, across from Jeshimon town.”
2So Saul chose 3,000 of the best Israeli soldiers and went with them to Ziph Desert to search for David.
3Saul and his men set up their tents close to the road on Hakilah hill, east of Jeshimon town, but David and his men stayed in the desert. When David heard that Saul was searching for him,
4he sent some spies to find out for certain that Saul had come to Hakilah.
5Then that evening David went to the place where Saul had set up his tent. From a distance he saw where Saul and his army commander, Abner, were sleeping. Saul was sleeping with all his army sleeping around him.
6David went back to where his men were and talked to Ahimelech, who was from the Heth people-group, and Joab's brother Abishai, whose mother was David's older sister Zeruiah. He asked them, “Who will go with me down into the camp where Saul is?” Abishai replied, “I will go with you.”
7So that night David and Abishai crept into Saul's camp. They saw that Saul was asleep. His spear was stuck in the ground near his head. Saul was asleep in the middle of the camp. Abner the army commander and the other soldiers were sleeping around Saul.
8Abishai whispered to David, “Today Yahweh has enabled us to kill your enemy! Allow me to fasten Saul to the ground by thrusting my spear into him. It will be necessary for me to strike him only once. I will not need to strike him twice.”
9But David whispered to Abishai, “No, do not kill Saul. Yahweh has appointed him to be king, so Yahweh will surely RHQ punish anyone who kills him.
10Just as surely as Yahweh lives, he himself will punish Saul. Perhaps Yahweh will strike him when it is Saul's time to die, or perhaps Saul will be killed in a battle.
11But I hope/desire that Yahweh will prevent me from harming the king whom he has appointed. Let's take Saul's spear and water jug that are near his head. Then let's get out of here!”
12So David took the spear and the jug, and he and Abishai left. No one saw them or knew what they were doing, and no one woke up, because Yahweh had caused them to be sound asleep.
13David and Abishai went across the valley and climbed to the top of the hill, a long way from Saul's camp.
14Then David shouted to Abner, “Abner, can you hear me?” Abner woke up and replied “Who are you, waking up the king by calling out to him?”
15David replied, “ I am sure that you are the greatest man in Israel IRO, RHQ! So why did you not guard your master, the king? Someone came into your camp in order to kill your master, the king.
16You have done a very poor job of guarding Saul. So just as surely as Yahweh lives, you and your men should be executed! You have not guarded your master whom Yahweh appointed to be the king. Where are the king's spear and the water jug that were close to his head?”
17The shouting woke Saul up and he recognized that it was David's voice. He called out, saying, “My son David, is that your voice?” David replied, “Yes, your majesty it is my voice.”
18Then David added, “Sir, why are you pursuing me RHQ? What wrong have I done RHQ?
19Your majesty, listen to me! If Yahweh has caused you to be angry with me, I should offer a sacrifice in order to appease him. But if it is people who have caused you to be angry with me, I hope/desire that Yahweh will curse them. They have forced me to leave the land that Yahweh gave to me. They have told me, ‘Go somewhere else and worship other gods!’
20Now do not force me to die MTY far from where we worship Yahweh. You, the king of Israel, have come here searching for me. But I do not want to harm you! I am as harmless as a flea MET. You are searching for me like people hunt for a bird in the mountains! MET”
21Then Saul said, “David, my son. I have sinned by trying to kill you. So come back home. Today you have considered my life to be very valuable and so you have not killed me. So I will not try to harm you. I have made a big mistake and have acted foolishly.”
22David replied, “I will leave your spear here. Send one of your young men here to get it.
23Yahweh rewards us for the things that we do that are right and for being loyal to him. Even when Yahweh placed me where I could easily have killed you, I refused to do that, because you are the one whom Yahweh has appointed MTY to be the king.
24Just like I considered your life to be valuable and spared your life today, I hope/desire that Yahweh will consider my life to be valuable and spare my life and save me from all my troubles.”
25Then Saul said to David, “My son David, I pray that Yahweh will bless you. You will do great things very successfully.” Then David returned to his men, and Saul went back home.