1And the Ziphites come out of the dry country to Saul to the hill, saying, Behold, David hides himself with us in the hill Echela, opposite Jessemon.
2And Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, and with him went three thousand men chosen out of Israel, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.
3And Saul encamped in the hill of Echela in front of Jessemon, by the way, and David dwelt in the wilderness: and David saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness.
4And David sent spies, and ascertained that Saul was come prepared out of Keila.
5And David arose secretly, and goes into the place where Saul was sleeping, and there was Abenner the son of Ner, the captain of his host: and Saul was sleeping in a chariot, and the people had encamped round about him.
6And David answered and spoke to Abimelech the Chettite, and to Abessa the son of Saruia the brother of Joab, saying, Who will go in with me to Saul into the camp? And Abessa said, I will go in with thee.
7So David and Abessa go in among the people by night: and behold, Saul was fast asleep in the chariot, and his spear was stuck in the ground near his head, and Abenner and his people slept round about him.
8And Abessa said to David, The Lord has this day shut up thine enemy into thine hands, and now I will smite him to the earth with the spear to the ground once for all, and I will not smite him again.
9And David said to Abessa, Do not lay him low, for who shall lift up his hand against the anointed of the Lord, and be guiltless?
10And David said, As the Lord lives, if the Lord smite him not, or his day come and he die, or he go down to battle and be added to his fathers, do not so.
11The Lord forbid it me that I should lift up my hand against the anointed of the Lord: and now take, I pray thee, the spear from his bolster, and the pitcher of water, and let us return home.
12So David took the spear, and the pitcher of water from his bolster, and they went home: and there was no one that saw, and no one that knew, and there was no one that awoke, all being asleep, for a stupor from the Lord had fallen upon them.
13So David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of a hill afar off, and there was a good distance between them.
14And David called to the people, and spoke to Abenner, saying, Wilt thou not answer, Abenner? and Abenner answered and said, Who art thou that callest?
15And David said to Abenner, Art not thou a man? and who is like thee in Israel? Why then dost thou not guard thy lord the king? for one out of the people went in to destroy thy lord the king.
16And this thing is not good which thou hast done. As the Lord lives, ye are worthy of death, ye who guard your lord the king, the anointed of the Lord: and now behold, I pray you, the spear of the king, and the cruse of water: where are the articles that should be at his head?
17And Saul recognised the voice of David, and said, Is this thy voice, son David? and David said, I am thy servant, my lord, O king.
18And he said, Why does my lord thus pursue after his servant? for in what have I sinned? and what unrighteousness has been found in me?
19And now let my lord the king hear the word of his servant. If God stirs thee up against me, let thine offering be acceptable: but if the sons of men, they are cursed before the Lord, for they have cast me out this day so that I should not be established in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go, serve other gods.
20And now let not my blood fall to the ground before the Lord, for the king of Israel has come forth to seek thy life, as the night hawk pursues its prey in the mountains.
21And Saul said, I have sinned: turn, son David, for I will not hurt thee, because my life was precious in thine eyes; and to-day I have been foolish and have erred exceedingly.
22And David answered and said, Behold, the spear of the king: let one of the servants come over and take it.
23And the Lord shall recompense each according to his righteousness and his truth, since the Lord delivered thee this day into my hands, and I would not lift my hand against the Lord's anointed.
24And, behold, as thy life has been precious this very day in my eyes, so let my life be precious before the Lord, and may he protect me, and deliver me out of all affliction.
25And Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son; and thou shalt surely do valiantly, and surely prevail. And David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.