The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines."
Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel's words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and night.
When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, "Look, your maidservant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do.
Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way."
He refused and said, "I will not eat." But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch.
The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast.
Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.
The Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and Israel camped by the spring in Jezreel.
As the Philistine rulers marched with their units of hundreds and thousands, David and his men were marching at the rear with Achish.
The commanders of the Philistines asked, "What about these Hebrews?" Achish replied, "Is this not David, who was an officer of Saul king of Israel? He has already been with me for over a year, and from the day he left Saul until now, I have found no fault in him."
But the Philistine commanders were angry with him and said, "Send the man back, that he may return to the place you assigned him. He must not go with us into battle, or he will turn against us during the fighting. How better could he regain his master's favor than by taking the heads of our own men?
Isn't this the David they sang about in their dances: " 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?"
So Achish called David and said to him, "As surely as the LORD lives, you have been reliable, and I would be pleased to have you serve with me in the army. From the day you came to me until now, I have found no fault in you, but the rulers don't approve of you.
Turn back and go in peace; do nothing to displease the Philistine rulers."
"But what have I done?" asked David. "What have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now? Why can't I go and fight against the enemies of my lord the king?"
Achish answered, "I know that you have been as pleasing in my eyes as an angel of God; nevertheless, the Philistine commanders have said, 'He must not go up with us into battle.'
Now get up early, along with your master's servants who have come with you, and leave in the morning as soon as it is light."
So David and his men got up early in the morning to go back to the land of the Philistines, and the Philistines went up to Jezreel.
David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it,
and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.
So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.
David's two wives had been captured--Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.
Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod." Abiathar brought it to him,
and David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?" "Pursue them," he answered. "You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue."
David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Ravine, where some stayed behind,
for two hundred men were too exhausted to cross the ravine. But David and four hundred men continued the pursuit.
They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat--
part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.
David asked him, "To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?" He said, "I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago.
We raided the Negev of the Kerethites and the territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag."
David asked him, "Can you lead me down to this raiding party?" He answered, "Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them."
He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah.
David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled.