2 So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to searchj there for David. 3 Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilahk facing Jeshimon, but David stayed in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had followed him there, 4 he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had definitely arrived.
5 Then David set out and went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw where Saul and Abnerl son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.
“I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointedp and be guiltless?q 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will striker him, or his times will come and he will die,t or he will go into battle and perish. 11 But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let’s go.”
12 So David took the spear and water jug near Saul’s head, and they left. No one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone wake up. They were all sleeping, because the Lord had put them into a deep sleep.u
13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the hill some distance away; there was a wide space between them. 14 He called out to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Aren’t you going to answer me, Abner?”
Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?”
15 David said, “You’re a man, aren’t you? And who is like you in Israel? Why didn’t you guard your lord the king? Someone came to destroy your lord the king. 16 What you have done is not good. As surely as the Lord lives, you and your men must die, because you did not guard your master, the Lord’s anointed. Look around you. Where are the king’s spear and water jug that were near his head?”
17 Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is that your voice,v David my son?”
David replied, “Yes it is, my lord the king.” 18 And he added, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done, and what wrongw am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listenx to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering.y If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the Lord! They have driven me today from my share in the Lord’s inheritancez and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’a 20 Now do not let my bloodb fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a fleac—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.d”
21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned.e Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life preciousf today, I will not try to harm you again. Surely I have acted like a fool and have been terribly wrong.”
22 “Here is the king’s spear,” David answered. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord rewardsg everyone for their righteousnessh and faithfulness. The Lord deliveredi you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. 24 As surely as I valued your life today, so may the Lord value my life and deliverj me from all trouble.”
25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed,k David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”
So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.