The Philistines mustered all their troops at Aphek. Meanwhile Israel had made camp at the spring at Jezreel.
As the Philistine warlords marched forward by regiments and divisions, David and his men were bringing up the rear with Achish.
The Philistine officers said, "What business do these Hebrews have being here?" Achish answered the officers, "Don't you recognize David, ex-servant of King Saul of Israel? He's been with me a long time. I've found nothing to be suspicious of, nothing to complain about, from the day he defected from Saul until now."
Angry with Achish, the Philistine officers said, "Send this man back to where he came from. Let him stick to his normal duties. He's not going into battle with us. He'd switch sides in the middle of the fight! What better chance to get back in favor with his master than by stabbing us in the back!
Isn't this the same David they celebrate at their parties, singing, Saul kills by the thousand, David by the ten thousand!"
So Achish had to send for David and tell him, "As God lives, you've been a trusty ally - excellent in all the ways you have worked with me, beyond reproach in the ways you have conducted yourself. But the warlords don't see it that way.
So it's best that you leave peacefully, now. It's not worth it, displeasing the Philistine warlords."
"But what have I done?" said David. "Have you had a single cause for complaint from the day I joined up with you until now? Why can't I fight against the enemies of my master the king?"
"I agree," said Achish. "You're a good man - as far as I'm concerned, God's angel! But the Philistine officers were emphatic: 'He's not to go with us into battle.'
So get an early start, you and the men who came with you. As soon as you have light enough to travel, go."
David rose early, he and his men, and by daybreak they were on their way back to Philistine country. The Philistines went on to Jezreel.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)