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1 Samuel 21; 1 Samuel 22; 1 Samuel 23; 1 Samuel 24

1 David went to Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech shook with fear when he saw David, and he asked, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?" 2 David answered him, "The king gave me a special order. He told me, 'No one must know what I am sending you to do or what I told you to do.' I told my men where to meet me. 3 Now, what food do you have with you? Give me five loaves of bread or anything you find." 4 The priest said to David, "I don't have any plain bread here, but I do have some holy bread. You may eat it if your men have kept themselves from women." 5 David answered, "No women have been near us for days. My men always keep themselves holy, even when we do ordinary work. And this is especially true when the work is holy." 6 So the priest gave David the holy bread from the presence of God because there was no other. Each day the holy bread was replaced with hot bread. 7 One of Saul's servants happened to be there that day. He had been held there before the Lord. He was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul's shepherds. 8 David asked Ahimelech, "Do you have a spear or sword here? The king's business was very important, so I left without my sword or any other weapon." 9 The priest answered, "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, the one you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here. It is wrapped in a cloth behind the holy vest. If you want it, you may take it. There's no other sword here but that one." David said, "There is no other sword like it. Give it to me." 10 That day David ran away from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, "This is David, the king of the Israelites. He's the man they dance and sing about, saying: 'Saul has killed thousands of his enemies, but David has killed tens of thousands.'" 12 David paid attention to these words and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be crazy in front of Achish and his servants. While he was with them, he acted like a madman and clawed on the doors of the gate and let spit run down his beard. 14 Achish said to his servants, "Look at the man! He's crazy! Why do you bring him to me? 15 I have enough madmen. I don't need you to bring him here to act like this in front of me! Don't let him in my house!"
1 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and other relatives heard that he was there, they went to see him. 2 Everyone who was in trouble, or who owed money, or who was unsatisfied gathered around David, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him. 3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and spoke to the king of Moab. He said, "Please let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God is going to do for me." 4 So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was hiding in the stronghold. 5 But the prophet Gad said to David, "Don't stay in the stronghold. Go to the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth. 6 Saul heard that David and his men had been seen. Saul was sitting under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, and all his officers were standing around him. He had a spear in his hand. 7 Saul said to them, "Listen, men of Benjamin! Do you think the son of Jesse will give all of you fields and vineyards? Will David make you commanders over thousands of men or hundreds of men? 8 You have all made plans against me! No one tells me when my son makes an agreement with the son of Jesse! No one cares about me! No one tells me when my son has encouraged my servant to ambush me this very day!" 9 Doeg the Edomite, who was standing there with Saul's officers, said, "I saw the son of Jesse. He came to see Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. 10 Ahimelech prayed to the Lord for David and gave him food and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine." 11 Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and for all of Ahimelech's relatives who were priests at Nob. And they all came to the king. 12 Saul said to Ahimelech, "Listen now, son of Ahitub." Ahimelech answered, "Yes, master." 13 Saul said, "Why are you and Jesse's son against me? You gave him bread and a sword! You prayed to God for him. David has turned against me and is waiting to attack me even now!" 14 Ahimelech answered, "You have no other servant who is as loyal as David, your own son-in-law and captain of your bodyguards. Everyone in your house respects him. 15 That was not the first time I prayed to God for David. Don't blame me or any of my relatives. I, your servant, know nothing about what is going on." 16 But the king said, "Ahimelech, you and all your relatives must die!" 17 Then he told the guards at his side, "Go and kill the priests of the Lord, because they are on David's side. They knew he was running away, but they didn't tell me." But the king's officers refused to kill the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king ordered Doeg, "Go and kill the priests." So Doeg the Edomite went and killed the priests. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen holy vest. 19 He also killed the people of Nob, the city of the priests. With the sword he killed men, women, children, babies, cattle, donkeys, and sheep. 20 But Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, who was the son of Ahitub, escaped. He ran away and joined David. 21 He told David that Saul had killed the Lord's priests. 22 Then David told him, "Doeg the Edomite was there at Nob that day. I knew he would surely tell Saul. So I am responsible for the death of all your father's family. 23 Stay with me. Don't be afraid. The man who wants to kill you also wants to kill me. You will be safe with me."
1 Someone told David, "Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and stealing grain from the threshing floors." 2 David asked the Lord, "Should I go and fight these Philistines?" The Lord answered him, "Go. Attack them, and save Keilah." 3 But David's men said to him, "We're afraid here in Judah. We will be more afraid if we go to Keilah where the Philistine army is." 4 David again asked the Lord, and the Lord answered, "Go down to Keilah. I will help you defeat the Philistines. 5 So David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines and took their cattle. David killed many Philistines and saved the people of Keilah. 6 (Now Abiathar son of Ahimelech had brought the holy vest with him when he came to David at Keilah.) 7 Someone told Saul that David was now at Keilah. Saul said, "God has handed David over to me! He has trapped himself, because he has entered a town with gates and bars." 8 Saul called all his army together for battle, and they prepared to go down to Keilah to attack David and his men. 9 David learned Saul was making evil plans against him. So he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the holy vest." 10 David prayed, "Lord, God of Israel, I have heard that Saul plans to come to Keilah to destroy the town because of me. 11 Will the leaders of Keilah hand me over to Saul? Will Saul come down to Keilah, as I heard? Lord, God of Israel, tell me, your servant!" The Lord answered, "Saul will come down." 12 Again David asked, "Will the leaders of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?" The Lord answered, "They will." 13 So David and his six hundred men left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul found out that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there. 14 David stayed in the desert hideouts and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Every day Saul looked for David, but the Lord did not surrender David to him 15 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul was coming to kill him. 16 But Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and strengthened his faith in God. 17 Jonathan told him, "Don't be afraid, because my father won't touch you. You will be king of Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this." 18 The two of them made an agreement before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David stayed at Horesh. 19 The people from Ziph went to Saul at Gibeah and told him, "David is hiding in our land. He's at the hideouts of Horesh, on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon 20 Now, our king, come down anytime you want. It's our duty to hand David over to you." 21 Saul answered, "The Lord bless you for helping me 22 Go and learn more about him. Find out where he is staying and who has seen him there. I have heard that he is clever. 23 Find all the hiding places he uses, and come back and tell me everything. Then I'll go with you. If David is in the area, I will track him down among all the families in Judah." 24 So they went back to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Desert of Maonn in the desert area south of Jeshimon. 25 Saul and his men went to look for David, but David heard about it and went down to a rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard that, he followed David into the Desert of Maon. 26 Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side. They were hurrying to get away from Saul, because Saul and his men were closing in on them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul, saying, "Come quickly! The Philistines are attacking our land!" 28 So Saul stopped chasing David and went to challenge the Philistines. That is why people call this place Rock of Parting. 29 David also left the Desert of Maon and stayed in the hideouts of En Gedi.
1 After Saul returned from chasing the Philistines, he was told, "David is in the Desert of En Gedi." 2 So he took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and began looking for David and his men near the Rocks of the Wild Goats. 3 Saul came to the sheep pens beside the road. A cave was there, and he went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were hiding far back in the cave. 4 The men said to David, "Today is the day the Lord spoke of when he said, 'I will give your enemy over to you. Do anything you want with him.'" Then David crept up to Saul and quietly cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 5 Later David felt guilty because he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 6 He said to his men, "May the Lord keep me from doing such a thing to my master! Saul is the Lord's appointed king. I should not do anything against him, because he is the Lord's appointed king!" 7 David used these words to stop his men; he did not let them attack Saul. Then Saul left the cave and went his way. 8 When David came out of the cave, he shouted to Saul, "My master and king!" Saul looked back, and David bowed facedown on the ground. 9 He said to Saul, "Why do you listen when people say, 'David wants to harm you'? 10 You have seen something with your own eyes today. The Lord put you in my power in the cave. They said I should kill you, but I was merciful. I said, 'I won't harm my master, because he is the Lord's appointed king.' 11 My father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe, but I didn't kill you. Now understand and know I am not planning any evil against you. I did nothing wrong to you, but you are hunting me to kill me. 12 May the Lord judge between us, and may he punish you for the wrong you have done to me! But I am not against you. 13 There is an old saying: 'Evil things come from evil people.' But I am not against you. 14 Whom is the king of Israel coming out against? Whom are you chasing? It's as if you are chasing a dead dog or a flea. 15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between you and me. May he support me and show that I am right. May he save me from you!" 16 When David finished saying these words, Saul asked, "Is that your voice, David my son?" And he cried loudly. 17 He said, "You are a better man than I am. You have been good to me, but I have done wrong to you. 18 You told me what good things you did. The Lord handed me over to you, but you did not kill me. 19 If a person finds his enemy, he doesn't just send him on his way, does he? May the Lord reward you because you were good to me today. 20 I know you will surely be king, and you will rule the kingdom of Israel. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill my descendants and that you won't wipe out my name from my father's family." 22 So David made the promise to Saul. Then Saul went back home, and David and his men went up to their hideout.
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