1 Saul returned from fighting the Philistines. He declared: »I have heard that David is in the desert around En-Gedi.«
2 Saul led three thousand of Israels best soldiers out to look for David and his men near Wild Goat Rocks at En-Gedi.
3 There were some sheep pens along the side of the road. One of them was built around the entrance to a cave. So Saul went into the cave to relieve himself. David and his men were hiding at the back of the cave.
4 They whispered to David: »Jehovah told you he was going to let you defeat your enemies and do whatever you want with them. This must be the day Jehovah was talking about.« David sneaked over and cut off a small piece of Sauls robe and Saul did not notice.
5 Later Davids conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Sauls robe.
6 He told his men: »Stop talking foolishly. We are not going to attack Saul. He is my king. I pray that Jehovah will keep me from doing anything to harm his chosen king.«
7 David stopped his men by saying this to them. He did not let them attack Saul. Saul left the cave and went out onto the road.
8 Then David got up and left the cave. He called to Saul: »My lord!« When Saul looked back. David knelt down with his face touching the ground.
9 David asked Saul: »Why do you listen to rumors that I am trying to harm you?
10 »Today you saw how Jehovah handed you over to me in the cave. Although I was told to kill you I spared you. I said: I will not raise my hand against my lord because you are Jehovahs anointed.«
11 »My master, look at this! The border of your robe is in my hand! I cut off the border of your robe and did not kill you. You should know and be able to see I mean no harm or rebellion. I have not sinned against you! But you are trying to ambush me in order to take my life.
12 »I will let Jehovah decide which one of us has done right. I pray that Jehovah will punish you for what you are doing to me. However, I will not do anything to you.
13 »An old proverb says: Only evil people do evil things. So I will not harm you.
14 »Why should the king of Israel be out chasing me, anyway? I am as worthless as a dead dog or a flea.
15 »I pray that Jehovah will help me escape and show that I am in the right.«
16 »David, my son is that you?« Saul asked. Then he started crying.
17 He said: »David, you are a better person than I am. You treated me with kindness when I was cruel to you.
18 »You have shown me how you were kind enough not to kill me when Jehovah gave you the chance.
19 »You would not let me live if you were my enemy. I pray that Jehovah will reward you for what you did today.
20 »I know now you will be the next king. You will be a powerful king too.
21 »Promise me with Jehovah as your witness, that you will not destroy my descendants. Let them live to keep my family name alive.«
22 David promised and Saul went home. David and his men returned to their hideout.