1 Some people from Ziph went to Gibeah to talk with Saul, they said: »David has a hideout on Mount Hachilah near Jeshimon out in the desert.«
2 Saul went to the desert of Ziph. He took three thousand of Israels best-trained men to search for David.
3 Saul camped by the road at the hill of Hachilah near Jeshimon. David camped in the desert. He discovered that Saul come to the desert after him.
4 David sent spies to confirm Sauls arrival.
5 Then David went to the place where Saul camped. David saw the place where Saul and Ners son Abner, the commander of the army, were lying. Saul was lying in the camp. The troops were camped around him.
6 David asked Ahimelech the Hittite, and Abishai the brother of Joab: »Who will go to Sauls camp with me?« »I will,« Abishai answered.
7 David and Abishai entered Sauls camp at night. They found Saul sleeping in the center of the camp. His spear was stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the troops were sleeping around him.
8 Abishai said to David: »God put your enemy in your power tonight. Let me plunge his own spear through him and pin him to the ground. I will do it with just one blow. I will not have to strike twice!«
9 But David said: »Do not harm him! Jehovah will certainly punish whoever harms his chosen king.«
10 »By the living God Jehovah,« David declared, »I know that Jehovah will kill Saul, either when his time comes to die a natural death or when he dies in battle.
11 »Jehovah forbid that I should try to harm the one Jehovah anointed to be king. Just take his spear and his water jar and go.«
12 David took the spear and the water jar from beside Sauls head. Then he and Abishai left. No one saw it or knew what happened. No one woke up. They were all sound asleep, because Jehovah sent a heavy sleep on them all.
13 Then David crossed over to the other side of the valley. He went to the top of the hill a great distance away.
14 David shouted to Sauls troops and to Abner: »Abner! Can you hear me?« »Who is calling to the king?« Abner asked.
15 David answered, »Abner, are you the greatest man in Israel? Why are you not protecting your master, the king? Someone entered the camp to kill your master.
16 »You failed in your duty, Abner! I swear by the living God Jehovah all of you deserve to die. You have not protected your master, whom Jehovah made king. Look for the kings spear? Where is the water jar that was near his head?«
17 Saul recognized Davids voice and said: »Is that your voice my son David?« And David said: »It is my voice, my lord the king.
18 He also said: »Why are you my lord pursuing your servant? What have I done? Or what evil is in my hand?
19 »Please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If Jehovah has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering. If it is men, cursed are they before Jehovah. They have driven me out today so that I would have no attachment with the inheritance of Jehovah, saying: Go serve other gods.«
20 »Do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of Jehovah. The king of Israel comes to search for a flea. Yet he hunts me down like a partridge on the mountains.«
21 »My servant David,« Saul said, »I have sinned. Come back. I will not harm you again. You valued my life today. I have acted like a fool. I made a terrible mistake.«
22 David answered: »Here is the kings spear. Have one of your soldiers come and get it.«
23 »Jehovah put you in my power today. But you are his chosen king. I would not harm you. Jehovah rewards the righteous and faithful.
24 »I valued and saved your life today. I pray that you will value and save my life and that Jehovah will deliver me out of tribulation.«
25 Saul said: »David, my son, I pray that Jehovah will bless you and make you successful!« Saul went back home. David also left.