1 And it came to pass when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.
2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.
3 And he came to a flock of sheep by the way where there was a cave, and Saul went in to cover his feet, and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave.
4 Then the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thy enemy into thy hand that thou may do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose and silently cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe.
5 And it came to pass afterward that David’s heart smote him because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.
6 And he said unto his men, The LORD keep me from doing this thing unto my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch forth my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.
7 So David stayed his servants with these words and did not allow them to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave and went on his way.
8 David also arose afterward and went out of the cave and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth and worshipped.
9 And David said to Saul, Why hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeks thy hurt?
10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee today into my hand in the cave, and some bade me kill thee, but I forgave thee, and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD’s anointed.
11 Moreover, my father, see; see the skirt of thy robe is even in my hand, for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe and did not kill thee, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou doest hunt my life to take it.
12 The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee, but my hand shall not be upon thee.
13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Wickedness proceeds from the wicked, but my hand shall not be upon thee.
14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? After whom dost thou pursue? After a dead dog? After a flea?
15 The LORD, therefore, shall judge, and he shall judge between me and thee. Let him see and plead my cause, and defend me from thy hand.
16 And it came to pass, when David had finished speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice and wept.
17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I, for thou hast repaid me with good, whereas I have repaid thee with evil.
18 And thou hast showed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me; forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thy hand, thou didst not kill me.
19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe and sound? The LORD reward thee with good for that which thou hast done unto me this day.
20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel shall be firm and stable in thy hand.
21 Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house.
22 Then David swore unto Saul. And Saul went home, but David and his men went up unto the fortress.