1 Samuel 24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
David Spares Saul’s Life
24 [a]Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, it was reported to him, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to search for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Mountain Goats. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to [b]relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave. 4 Then David’s men said to him, “Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold; I am about to hand your enemy over to you, and you shall do to him as it seems good [c]to you.’” Then David got up and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly. 5 But it came about afterward that David’s [d]conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe. 6 So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the Lord that I would do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to reach out with my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.” 7 And David rebuked his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul got up, [e]left the cave, and went on his way.
8 Afterward, however, David got up and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men [f]who say, ‘Behold, David is seeking [g]to harm you’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had handed you over to me today in the cave, and someone said to kill you, but [h]I spared you; and I said, ‘I will not reach out with my hand against my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 So, my father, look! Indeed, look at the edge of your robe in my hand! For by the fact that I cut off the edge of your robe but did not kill you, know and understand that there is no evil or [i]rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life, to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between [j]you and me, and may the Lord take vengeance on you for me; but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel gone out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, a single flea? 15 May the Lord therefore be judge and decide between [k]you and me; and may He see and plead my cause and save me from your hand.”
16 When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Then Saul raised his voice and wept. 17 And he said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt maliciously with you. 18 You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord handed me over to you and yet you did not kill me. 19 Though if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away [l]unharmed? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. 20 Now, behold, I know that you will certainly be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 So now swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my [m]descendants after me, and that you will not eliminate my name from my father’s household.” 22 And David swore an oath to Saul. Then Saul went to his home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.
1 Samuel 24 New International Version (NIV)
David Spares Saul’s Life
24 [a]After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of En Gedi.” 2 So Saul took three thousand able young men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats.
3 He came to the sheep pens along the way; a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said[b] to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9 He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.
14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”
16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”
22 So David gave his oath to Saul. Then Saul returned home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.