After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, "David is in the Desert of En Gedi.1"
So Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and set out to look2 for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave3 was there, and Saul went in to relieve4 himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.
The men said, "This is the day the LORD spoke5 of when he saida to you, 'I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.' "6 Then David crept up unnoticed and cut7 off a corner of Saul's robe.
Afterward, David was conscience-stricken8 for having cut off a corner of his robe.
He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD's anointed,9 or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD."
With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, "My lord the king!" When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.109
He said to Saul, "Why do you listen11 when men say, 'David is bent on harming12 you'?
This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared13 you; I said, 'I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the LORD's anointed.'
See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut14 off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. Now understand and recognize that I am not guilty15 of wrongdoing16 or rebellion. I have not wronged17 you, but you are hunting18 me down to take my life.1912
May the LORD judge20 between you and me. And may the LORD avenge21 the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.
As the old saying goes, 'From evildoers come evil deeds,22' so my hand will not touch you.
"Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog?23 A flea?2415
May the LORD be our judge25 and decide26 between us. May he consider my cause and uphold27 it; may he vindicate28 me by delivering29 me from your hand."
When David finished saying this, Saul asked, "Is that your voice,30 David my son?" And he wept aloud.
"You are more righteous than I,"31 he said. "You have treated me well,32 but I have treated you badly.3318
You have just now told me of the good you did to me; the LORD delivered34 me into your hands, but you did not kill me.
When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward35 you well for the way you treated me today.
I know that you will surely be king36 and that the kingdom37 of Israel will be established in your hands.
Now swear38 to me by the LORD that you will not cut off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father's family.39"
So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.40