1After Saul had chased the Philistines away, people told Saul, “David is in the desert area near En Gedi.” 2So Saul chose 3,000 men from all over Israel. Saul took these men and began looking for David and his men. They looked near Wild Goat Rocks. 3Saul came to the sheep pens beside the road. There was a cave near there. Saul went into the cave to relieve himself. David and his men were hiding far back in the cave. 4The men said to David, “Today is the day the Lord talked about! The Lord told you, 'I will give your enemy to you, then you can do anything you want with your enemy.’” So David crawled closer and closer to Saul. Then David cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Saul did not see David. 5Later, David felt bad about cutting off a corner of Saul’s robe. 6David said to his men, “I hope the Lord stops me from doing anything like that to my master again! Saul is the person the Lord chose to be king. I should not do anything against Saul, because he is the Lord’s chosen king!” 7David said these things to stop his men. David would not let his men hurt Saul. Saul left the cave and went his way. 8David came out of the cave. David shouted to Saul, “My lord the king!” Saul looked back. David bowed with his face to the ground. 9David said to Saul, “Why do you listen when people say, 'David plans to hurt you’? 10˻I don’t want to hurt you!˼ You can see that with your own eyes! The Lord let me have you today in the cave. But I refused to kill you. I was merciful to you. I said, 'I won’t hurt my master. Saul is the Lord’s chosen king!’ 11Look at this piece of cloth in my hand. I cut off the corner of your robe. I could have killed you, but I didn’t! Now, I want you to understand this. I want you to know that I am not planning anything against you! I did nothing wrong to you! But you are hunting me and trying to kill me. 12Let the Lord be the judge! The Lord might punish you for the wrong you did me. But I myself won’t fight you. 13There is an old saying: 'Bad things come from bad people.’ ˻I haven’t done anything bad! I am not a bad person!˼ I won’t hurt you. 14Who are you chasing? Who is the king of Israel coming to fight against? You are not chasing someone who will hurt you! It is like you are chasing a dead dog or a flea. 15Let the Lord be the judge. Let him decide between you and me. The Lord will support me and show that I am right. The Lord will save me from you.” 16David finished speaking, and Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” Then Saul began to cry. Saul cried very much. 17Saul said, “You are right, and I am wrong. You have been good to me. But I have been bad to you. 18You told me about the good things you did. The Lord brought me to you, but you did not kill me. 19˻This shows I am not your enemy.˼ A man doesn’t catch his enemy, and then just let him go! He doesn’t do good things for his enemy. I hope the Lord rewards you for being good to me today. 20I know that you will become the new king. You will rule the kingdom of Israel. 21Now make a promise to me. Use the Lord’s name and promise that you will not kill my descendants, even after I die. Promise me that you will not erase my name from my father’s family.” 22So David made a promise to Saul. David promised that he would not kill Saul’s family. Then Saul went back home. David and his men went up to the fort.
1 Samuel 24