1 Samuel 24:3-11

3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.
4 The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said[a] to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’ ” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe.
6 He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.”
7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
9 He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’?
10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the LORD’s anointed.’
11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life.

1 Samuel 24:3-11 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 24

Saul being returned from following the Philistines, renews his pursuit after David, 1Sa 24:1,2; and they meeting in a cave, where David had the opportunity of taking away the life of Saul, which his men pressed him to, yet only cut off the skirt of his robe, 1Sa 24:3-8; which, calling after him, he held up to him to convince him he had his life in his hands, but spared it, 1Sa 24:9,10; upon which he very pathetically reasons with him about the unreasonableness and unrighteousness of his pursuit after him, to take away his life, 1Sa 24:11-15; which so affected Saul, that he confessed he was more righteous than he, and owned that the kingdom would be his, and only desired him to swear to him not to cut off his offspring, which David did, and so they parted, 1Sa 24:16-22.

1 Samuel 24:3-11 In-Context

1 After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.”
2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave.
4 The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’ ” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe.
6 He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.”
7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
9 He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’?
10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the LORD’s anointed.’
11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life.
12 May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you.
13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.

Cross References 17

  • 1. Psalms 57 Title; Psalms 142 Title
  • 2. Judges 3:24
  • 3. 1 Samuel 25:28-30
  • 4. 2 Samuel 4:8; 1 Samuel 23:17; 1 Samuel 26:8
  • 5. ver 10,11
  • 6. 1 Samuel 26:9; 2 Samuel 24:10
  • 7. S Genesis 26:11; S 1 Samuel 12:3; 1 Samuel 26:11
  • 8. S 1 Samuel 20:41; 1 Samuel 25:23-24
  • 9. 1 Samuel 26:19
  • 10. 1 Samuel 20:1
  • 11. S ver 4
  • 12. S ver 4
  • 13. Psalms 7:3
  • 14. 1 Samuel 25:28
  • 15. Psalms 35:7
  • 16. S Genesis 31:36; 1 Samuel 23:14,23; 1 Samuel 26:20
  • 17. S 1 Samuel 20:1

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "“Today the " Lord"is saying"