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 hundreds and thousands, 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 servant of King Saul of Israel. He’s been with me for years, and I’ve never found a single fault in him from the day he arrived until today.”
But the Philistine commanders were angry. “Send him back to the town you’ve given him!” they demanded. “He can’t go into the battle with us. What if he turns against us in battle and becomes our adversary? Is there any better way for him to reconcile himself with his master than by handing our heads over to him?
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 said to him, “I swear by the LORD that you have been a trustworthy ally. I think you should go with me into battle, for I’ve never found a single flaw in you from the day you arrived until today. 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. “What have you ever found in your servant, that I can’t go and 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 the Philistine 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 and his men headed back into the land of the Philistines, while the Philistine army went on to Jezreel.