The entire Philistine army now mobilized at Aphek, and the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel.
As the Philistine rulers were leading out their troops in groups of one hundred and one thousand, David and his men marched at the rear with King Achish.
But the Philistine commanders demanded, "What are these Hebrews doing here?" And Achish told them, "This is David, the man who ran away from King Saul of Israel. He's been with me for years, and I've never found a single fault in him since he defected to me."
But the Philistine commanders were angry. "Send him back!" they demanded. "He can't go into the battle with us. What if he turns against us? Is there any better way for him to reconcile himself with his master than by turning on us in battle?
Isn't this the same David about whom the women of Israel sing in their dances, 'Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands'?"
So Achish finally summoned David and his men. "I swear by the LORD," he told them, "you are some of the finest men I've ever met. I think you should go with us, but the other Philistine rulers won't hear of it.
Please don't upset them, but go back quietly."
"What have I done to deserve this treatment?" David demanded. "Why can't I fight the enemies of my lord, the king?"
But Achish insisted, "As far as I'm concerned, you're as perfect as an angel of God. But my commanders are afraid to have you with them in the battle.
Now get up early in the morning, and leave with your men as soon as it gets light."
So David headed back into the land of the Philistines, while the Philistine army went on to Jezreel.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)