1The people of Ziph went to see Saul at Gibeah. They said to Saul, “David is hiding on the hill of Hakilah. This hill is across from Jeshimon.” 2Saul went down to the desert of Ziph. Saul took the 3,000 soldiers he had chosen from all over Israel. Saul and these men looked for David in the desert of Ziph. 3Saul set up his camp on the hill of Hakilah. The camp was beside the road across from Jeshimon. David was staying in the desert. David learned that Saul had followed him there. 4So David sent out spies. David learned that Saul had come to Hakilah. 5Then David went to the place where Saul had set up his camp. David saw where Saul and Abner were sleeping. (Abner son of Ner was the commander of Saul’s army.) Saul was sleeping in the middle of the camp. The army was all around Saul. 6David talked to Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah. (Abishai was Joab’s brother.) He asked them, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?” Abishai answered, “I’ll go with you.” 7Night came. David and Abishai went into Saul’s camp. Saul was asleep in the middle of the camp. His spear was stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the other soldiers were asleep around Saul. 8Abishai said to David, “Today God has let you defeat your enemy. Let me pin Saul to the ground with his spear. I’ll only do it once!” 9But David said to Abishai, “Don’t kill Saul! Any person who hurts the Lord’s chosen king must be punished! 10Surely as the Lord lives, the Lord himself will punish Saul. Maybe Saul will die naturally or maybe Saul will be killed in battle. 11But I pray that the Lord never lets me hurt the Lord’s chosen king! Now pick up the spear and water jug by Saul’s head. Then let’s go.” 12So David took the spear and water jug that were near Saul’s head. Then David and Abishai left Saul’s camp. No one knew what had happened! No one saw it. No one even woke up! Saul and all of his soldiers slept because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep. 13David crossed over to the other side of the valley. David stood on top of the mountain across the valley from Saul’s camp. David and Saul’s camp were far apart. 14David shouted to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Answer me, Abner!” Abner answered, “Who are you? Why are you calling the king?” 15David said, “You are a man, aren’t you? And you are better than any other man in Israel. Is that right? Then why didn’t you guard your master, the king? An ordinary man came into your camp to kill your master, the king. 16You made a big mistake! As sure as the Lord is alive, you and your men should die. Why? Because you didn’t protect your master, the Lord’s chosen king. Look for the king’s spear and the water jug that was near Saul’s head! Where are they?” 17Saul knew David’s voice. Saul said, “Is that your voice, David my son?” David answered, “Yes, it is my voice, my master and king.” 18David also said, “Sir, why are you chasing me? What wrong have I done? What am I guilty of? 19My master and king, listen to me! If the Lord caused you to be angry at me, then let him accept an offering. But if men caused you to be angry at me, then let the Lord cause bad things to happen to them. Men have forced me to leave the land the Lord gave me. Men have told me, '˻Go live with the foreigners.˼ Go and serve other gods.’ 20Now don’t make me die far away from the Lord’s presence. The king of Israel has come out looking for a flea. You are like a man hunting partridges in the mountains!” 21Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Today you showed me that my life is important to you. So I will not try to hurt you. I have acted foolishly. I have made a big mistake.” 22David answered, “Here is the king’s spear. Let one of your young men come here and get it. 23The Lord pays every man for the things he does—he rewards him if he does right, and he punishes him if he does wrong. The Lord let me defeat you today, but I wouldn’t hurt the Lord’s chosen king. 24Today I showed you that your life is important to me! In the same way, the Lord will show that my life is important to him! The Lord will save me from every trouble.” 25Then Saul said to David, “God bless you, David my son. You will do great things and you will win.” David went on his way, and Saul went back home.
1 Samuel 26