23:6 Now when Abiathar son of Ahimelech had fled to David at Keilah, he had brought with him an ephod.2 23:7 When Saul was told that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has delivered3 him into my hand, for he has boxed himself into a corner by entering a city with two barred gates.”4 23:8 So Saul mustered all his army to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men.5
23:9 When David realized that Saul was planning to harm him,6 he told Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod!” 23:10 Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, your servant has clearly heard that Saul is planning7 to come to Keilah to destroy the city because of me. 23:11 Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, please inform your servant!”
Then the Lord said, “He will come down.” 23:12 David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me and my men into Saul’s hand?” The Lord said, “They will deliver you over.”
23:13 So David and his men, who numbered about six hundred, set out and left Keilah; they moved around from one place to another.8 When told that David had escaped from Keilah, Saul called a halt to his expedition. 23:14 David stayed in the strongholds that were in the desert and in the hill country of the desert of Ziph. Saul looked for him all the time,9 but God did not deliver David10 into his hand. 23:15 David realized11 that Saul had come out to seek his life; at that time David was in Horesh in the desert of Ziph.
23:16 Then Jonathan son of Saul left and went to David at Horesh. He encouraged him12 through God. 23:17 He said to him, “Don’t be afraid! For the hand of my father Saul cannot find you. You will rule over Israel, and I will be your second in command. Even my father Saul realizes this.” 23:18 When the two of them had made a covenant before the Lord, David stayed on at Horesh, but Jonathan went to his house.
23:19 Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? 23:20 Now at your own discretion,13 O king, come down. Delivering him into the king’s hand will be our responsibility.”
23:21 Saul replied, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me. 23:22 Go and make further arrangements. Determine precisely14 where he is15 and who has seen him there, for I am told that he is extremely cunning. 23:23 Locate precisely all the places where he hides and return to me with dependable information.16 Then I will go with you. If he is in the land, I will find him17 among all the thousands of Judah.”
23:24 So they left and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the desert of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. 23:25 Saul and his men went to look for him.18 But David was informed and went down to the rock and stayed in the desert of Maon. When Saul heard about it, he pursued David in the desert of Maon. 23:26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, while David and his men went on the other side of the mountain. David was hurrying to get away from Saul, but Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men so they could capture them. 23:27 But a messenger came to Saul saying, “Come quickly, for the Philistines have raided the land!”
23:28 So Saul stopped pursuing David and went to confront the Philistines. Therefore that place is called Sela Hammahlekoth.19 23:29 (24:1)20 Then David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of En Gedi.
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