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

1 David went to the priest Ahimelech at Nob. Ahimelech trembled with fear when he met him. He asked David, "Why are you alone? Why isn't anyone with you?" 2 David answered the priest Ahimelech, "The king gave me a special job to do. He said to me, 'I don't want anyone to know what I'm sending you to do. So don't say anything about it.' I've told my men to meet me at a certain place. 3 Do you have anything for us to eat? Give me five loaves of bread, or anything else you can find." 4 But the priest answered David, "I don't have any bread that isn't holy. I only have some holy bread here. But it's for men who haven't made love to women recently." 5 David replied, "Well, we haven't made love to women recently. That's the way it is every time I lead my men out to battle. We keep ourselves holy even when we do jobs that aren't holy. And that's even more true today." 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread. It was the only bread he had. It had been removed from the table that was in front of the Lord. On the same day, hot bread had been put in its place. 7 One of Saul's servants was there that day. He had been made to stay at the holy tent for a while. He was Doeg from Edom. He was Saul's chief shepherd. 8 David asked Ahimelech, "Don't you have a spear or sword here? I haven't brought my sword or any other weapon. That's because the king's business had to be done right away." 9 The priest replied, "The sword of Goliath, the Philistine, is here. You killed him in the Valley of Elah. His sword is wrapped in a cloth. It's behind the sacred linen apron. If you want it, take it. It's the only sword here." David said, "There isn't any sword like it. Give it to me." 10 That day David ran away from Saul. He went to Achish, the king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish spoke to him. They said, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one the Israelites sing about when they dance? They sing, " 'Saul has killed thousands of men. David has killed tens of thousands.' " 12 David paid close attention to what the servants were saying. He became very much afraid of what Achish, the king of Gath, might do. 13 So he pretended to be out of his mind when he was with them. As long as he was in Gath, he acted like someone who was crazy. He made marks on the doors of the city gate. He let spit run down his beard. 14 Achish said to his servants, "Just look at the man! He's out of his mind! Why are you bringing him to me? 15 Don't I have enough crazy people around me already? So why do you have to bring this fellow here? Just look at how he's carrying on in front of me! Why do you have to bring this man into my house?"
1 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. His brothers and the other members of his family heard about it. So they went down to join him there. 2 Everyone who was in trouble or owed money or was unhappy gathered around him. He became their leader. About 400 men were with him. 3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab. He spoke to the king of Moab. He said, "Please let my father and mother come and stay with you. Let them stay until I learn what God will do for me." 4 So David left his parents with the king of Moab. They stayed with him as long as David was in his usual place of safety. 5 But the prophet Gad spoke to David. He said, "Don't stay in your usual place of safety. Go into the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth. 6 Saul heard that the place where David and his men were hiding had been discovered. Saul was sitting under a tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah. He was holding his spear. All of his officials were standing around him. 7 Saul said to them, "Men of Benjamin, listen to me! Do you think Jesse's son will give all of you fields and vineyards? Do you think he'll make some of you commanders of thousands of men? Do you think he'll make the rest of you commanders of hundreds? 8 Is that why all of you have joined together against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with Jesse's son. None of you is concerned about me. No one tells me that my son has stirred up Jesse's son to hide and wait to attack me. But that's exactly what's happening now." 9 Doeg was standing with Saul's officials. He was from Edom. He said, "I saw Jesse's son David come to Ahimelech at Nob. Ahimelech is the son of Ahitub. 10 Ahimelech asked the LORD a question for David. He also gave him food and the sword of Goliath, the Philistine." 11 Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub. He sent for all of the men in his family. They were the priests at Nob. All of them came to the king. 12 Saul said, "Son of Ahitub, listen to me." "Yes, master," he answered. 13 Saul said to him, "Why have you and Jesse's son joined together against me? Why did you give him bread and a sword? Why did you ask God a question for him? Now he has turned against me. He is hiding and waiting to attack me right now." 14 Ahimelech answered the king, "David is true to you. In fact, he's more true to you than anyone else who serves you. He's your own son-in-law. He's the captain of your own personal guards. He's highly respected by everyone in your palace. 15 Was that day the first time I asked God a question for him? Of course not! "Please don't bring charges against me. Please don't bring charges against anyone in my family. I don't know anything at all about this whole matter." 16 But the king said, "Ahimelech, you will certainly be put to death. You and your whole family will be put to death." 17 Then the king gave an order to the guards who were at his side. He said, "Go and kill the priests of the Lord. They are on David's side too. They knew he was running away from me. And they didn't even tell me." But the king's officials wouldn't raise a hand to strike down the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king ordered Doeg, "You go and strike the priests down." So Doeg, the Edomite, went and struck them down. That day he killed 85 men who wore linen aprons. 19 He also killed the people of Nob with his sword. Nob was a town where priests lived. Doeg killed its men and women. He killed its children and babies. He also destroyed its cattle, donkeys and sheep. 20 But Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, escaped. Ahimelech was the son of Ahitub. Abiathar ran away and joined David. 21 He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, "One day I was at Nob. I saw Doeg, the Edomite, there. I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. Your whole family has been killed. And I'm accountable for it. 23 So stay with me. Don't be afraid. The man who wants to kill you wants to kill me too. You will be safe with me."
1 David was told, "The Philistines are fighting against the town of Keilah. They are stealing grain from the threshing floors." 2 So he asked the LORD for advice. He said, "Should I go and attack those Philistines?" The LORD answered him, "Go and attack them. Save Keilah." 3 But David's men said to him, "We're afraid here in Judah. Suppose we go to Keilah and fight against the Philistine army. Then we'll be even more afraid." 4 Once again David asked the LORD what he should do. The LORD answered him, "Go down to Keilah. I am going to hand the Philistines over to you. 5 So David and his men went to Keilah. They fought against the Philistines and carried off their livestock. David wounded and killed large numbers of Philistines. And he saved the people of Keilah. 6 Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, had brought the linen apron down with him from Nob. He did it when he ran away to David at Keilah. 7 Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah. He said, "God has handed him over to me. David has trapped himself by entering a town that has gates and heavy metal bars." 8 So Saul brought together all of his soldiers to go to battle. He ordered them to go down to Keilah. He told them to surround David and his men. He told them to get ready to attack them. 9 David learned that Saul was planning to attack him. So he said to the priest Abiathar, "Bring the linen apron." 10 Then David said, "Lord, you are the God of Israel. I know for sure that Saul plans to come to Keilah. He plans to destroy the town because of me. 11 Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down here, as I've heard he would? Lord, you are the God of Israel. Please answer me." The LORD said, "He will come down." 12 Again David asked, "Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?" And the LORD said, "They will." 13 So David and his men left Keilah. The total number of them was about 600. They kept moving from place to place. Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah. So he didn't go there. 14 Sometimes David stayed in places of safety in the desert. At other times he stayed in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul looked for him. But God didn't hand David over to him 15 David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph. There he learned that Saul had come out to kill him. 16 Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh. He told David that God would make him strong. 17 "Don't be afraid," he said. "My father Saul won't lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel. And I will be next in command. Even my father Saul knows this." 18 The two of them made a covenant in the sight of the Lord. Then Jonathan went home. But David remained at Horesh. 19 The people of Ziph went up to Saul at Gibeah. They said, "David is hiding among us. He's hiding in places of safety at Horesh. Horesh is south of Jeshimon on the hill of Hakilah 20 King Saul, come down when it pleases you to come. It will be our duty to hand David over to you." 21 Saul replied, "May the LORD bless you because you were concerned about me 22 Make sure you are right. Go and check things out again. Find out where David usually goes. Find out who has seen him there. People tell me he's very tricky. 23 Find out about all of the hiding places he uses. Come back to me with all of the facts. I'll go with you. Suppose he's in the area. Then I'll track him down among all of the family groups of Judah." 24 So they started out. They went to Ziph ahead of Saul. David and his men were in the Desert of Maon. Maon is south of Jeshimon in the Arabah Valley. 25 Saul and his men started out to look for David. David was told about it. So he went down to a rock in the Desert of Maon to hide. Saul heard he was there. So he went into the Desert of Maon to chase David. 26 Saul was going along one side of the mountain. David and his men were on the other side. They were hurrying to get away from Saul. Saul and his army were closing in on David and his men. They were about to capture them. 27 Just then a messenger came to Saul. He said, "Come quickly! The Philistines are attacking the land." 28 So Saul stopped chasing David. He went to fight against the Philistines. That's why they call that place Sela Hammahlekoth. 29 David left that place. He went and lived in places of safety near En Gedi.
1 Saul returned from chasing the Philistines. Then he was told, "David is in the Desert of En Gedi." 2 So Saul took 3,000 of the best soldiers from the whole nation of Israel. He started out to look for David and his men. He planned to look near the Rocky Cliffs of the Wild Goats. 3 He came to some sheep pens along the way. A cave was there. Saul went in to go to the toilet. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 David's men said, "This is the day the LORD told you about. He said to you, 'I will hand your enemy over to you. Then you can deal with him as you want to.' " So David came up close to Saul without being seen. He cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 5 Later, David felt sorry that he had cut off a corner of Saul's robe. 6 He said to his men, "May the LORD keep me from doing a thing like that to my master again. He is the LORD's anointed king. So I promise that I will never lift my hand to strike him down. The LORD has anointed him." 7 David said that to warn his men. He didn't allow them to attack Saul. So Saul left the cave and went on his way. 8 Then David went out of the cave. He called out to Saul, "King Saul! My master!" When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down. He lay down flat with his face toward the ground. 9 He said to Saul, "Why do you listen when men say, 'David is trying to harm you'? 10 This very day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD handed you over to me in the cave. Some of my men begged me to kill you. But I spared you. I said, 'I will never lift my hand to strike my master down. He is the LORD's anointed king.' 11 "Look, 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. I want you to know and understand that I'm not guilty of doing anything wrong. I haven't turned against you. I haven't done anything to harm you. But you are hunting me down. You want to kill me. 12 "May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD pay you back because of the wrong things you have done to me. But I won't lay a hand on you. 13 People say, 'Evil acts come from those who do evil.' So I won't lay a hand on you. 14 "King Saul, who are you trying to catch? Who do you think you are chasing? I'm nothing but a dead dog or a flea! 15 May the LORD be our judge. May he decide between us. May he consider my case and stand up for me. May he show that I'm not guilty of doing anything wrong. May he save me from your powerful hand." 16 When David finished speaking, Saul asked him a question. He said, "My son David, is that your voice?" And Saul sobbed out loud. 17 "You are a better person than I am," he said. "You have treated me well. But I've treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good things you did to me. The LORD handed me over to you. But you didn't kill me. 19 Suppose a man finds his enemy. He doesn't let him get away without harming him. May the LORD reward you with many good things. May he do it because of the way you treated me today. 20 I know for sure that you will be king. I know that the kingdom of Israel will be made secure under your control. 21 Now take an oath in the name of the Lord. Promise me that you won't cut off my children from my family. Also promise me that you won't wipe out my name from my family line." 22 So David took an oath and made that promise to Saul. Then Saul returned home. But David and his men went up to his usual place of safety.
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