Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, "God has handed him over1 to me, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars."28
And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.
When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar3 the priest, "Bring the ephod.4"
David said, "O LORD, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me.
Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD, God of Israel, tell your servant." And the LORD said, "He will."
Again David asked, "Will the citizens of Keilah surrender5 me and my men to Saul?" And the LORD said, "They will."
So David and his men,6 about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.
David stayed in the desert7 strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph.8 Day after day Saul searched9 for him, but God did not10 give David into his hands.
While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life.1116
And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength12 in God.
"Don't be afraid," he said. "My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king13 over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this."
The two of them made a covenant14 before the LORD. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.
The Ziphites15 went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, "Is not David hiding among us16 in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hakilah,17 south of Jeshimon?
Now, O king, come down whenever it pleases you to do so, and we will be responsible for handing18 him over to the king."
Saul replied, "The LORD bless19 you for your concern20 for me.
Go and make further preparation. Find out where David usually goes and who has seen him there. They tell me he is very crafty.
Find out about all the hiding places he uses and come back to me with definite information.a Then I will go with you; if he is in the area, I will track21 him down among all the clans of Judah."
So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Desert of Maon,22 in the Arabah south of Jeshimon.2325
Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David.
Saul24 was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them,
a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land."
Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth.b29
And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds25 of En Gedi.26