1People told David, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against the city of Keilah. They are robbing grain from the threshing floors. 2David asked the Lord, “Should I go and fight these Philistines?” The Lord answered David, “Yes, go attack the Philistines. Save Keilah.” 3But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are here in Judah and we are scared. Just think how scared we will be if we go to where the Philistine army is.” 4David again asked the Lord. And the Lord answered David, “Go down to Keilah. I will help you defeat the Philistines.” 5So David and his men went to Keilah. David’s men fought the Philistines. David’s men defeated the Philistines and took their cattle. In this way, David saved the people of Keilah. 6(When Abiathar ran away to David, Abiathar took an ephod with him.) 7People told Saul that David was now at Keilah. Saul said, “God has given David to me! David has trapped himself. He went into a town that has gates and bars to lock the gates.” 8Saul called all his army together for battle. They prepared to go down to Keilah to attack David and his men. 9David learned that Saul was making plans against him. David then said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod.” 10David prayed, “Lord God of Israel, I have heard that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me. 11Will Saul come to Keilah? Will the people of Keilah give me to Saul? Lord God of Israel, I am your servant! Please tell me!” The Lord answered, “Saul will come.” 12Again David asked, “Will the people of Keilah give me and my men to Saul?” The Lord answered, “They will.” 13So David and his men left Keilah. There were about 600 men who went with David. David and his men kept moving from place to place. Saul learned that David escaped from Keilah. So Saul did not go to that city. 14David went to the desert and stayed in the fortresses there. David also went to the hill country in the Desert of Ziph. Every day Saul looked for David, but the Lord didn’t let Saul catch him. 15David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph. He was afraid, because Saul was coming to kill him. 16But Saul’s son Jonathan went to see David at Horesh. Jonathan helped David to have a stronger faith in God. 17Jonathan told David, “Don’t be afraid. My father Saul won’t hurt you. You will become the king of Israel. And I will be second to you. Even my father knows this.” 18Jonathan and David both made an agreement before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home. And David stayed at Horesh. 19The people from Ziph came to Saul at Gibeah. They told Saul, “David is hiding in our area. He is at the fortresses of Horesh on Hakilah Hill, south of Jeshimon. 20Now, King, come down any time you want. It is our duty to give David to you.” 21Saul answered, “The Lord bless you for helping me. 22Go and learn more about David. Learn where he is staying. And learn who has seen David there. Saul thought, 'David is smart. He is trying to trick me.’ 23Find all the hiding places that David uses. Then come back to me and tell me everything. Then I’ll go with you. If David is in the area, I will find him. I will find him even if I must look through all the families in Judah.” 24Then those people went back to Ziph. Saul went there later. David and his men were in the Desert of Maon. They were in the desert area south of Jeshimon. 25Saul and his men went to look for David. But people warned David. They told him that Saul was looking for him. David then went down to “The Rock” in the Desert of Maon. Saul heard that David had gone to the Desert of Maon. So Saul went to that place to find David. 26Saul was on one side of the mountain. David and his men were on the other side of the same mountain. David was hurrying to get away from Saul. Saul and his soldiers were going around the mountain to capture David and his men. 27Then a messenger came to Saul. The messenger said, “Come quickly! The Philistines are attacking us!” 28So Saul stopped chasing David and went to fight the Philistines. That is why people call this place “Slippery Rock.” 29David left the Desert of Maon and went to the fortresses near En Gedi.
1 Samuel 23