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1 Samuel 23 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Deliverance at Keilah

23 It was reported to David, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and raiding the threshing floors.”

So David inquired of the Lord: “Should I launch an attack against these Philistines?”

The Lord answered David, “Launch an attack against the Philistines and rescue Keilah.”

But David’s men said to him, “Look, we’re afraid here in Judah; how much more if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!”

Once again, David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go at once to Keilah, for I will hand the Philistines over to you.” Then David and his men went to Keilah, fought against the Philistines, drove their livestock away, and inflicted heavy losses on them. So David rescued the inhabitants of Keilah. Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, and he brought an ephod with him.

When it was reported to Saul that David had gone to Keilah, he said, “God has handed him over to me, for he has trapped himself by entering a town with barred gates.” Then Saul summoned all the troops to go to war at Keilah and besiege David and his men.

When David learned that Saul was plotting evil against him, he said to the priest Abiathar, “Bring the ephod.”

10 Then David said, “Lord God of Israel, your servant has reliable information that Saul intends to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me. 11 Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? Lord God of Israel, please tell your servant.”

The Lord answered, “He will come down.”

12 Then David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?”

“They will,” the Lord responded.

13 So David and his men, numbering about six hundred, left Keilah at once and moved from place to place. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he called off the expedition. 14 David then stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand David over to him.

A Renewed Covenant

15 David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in Horesh when he saw that Saul had come out to take his life. 16 Then Saul’s son Jonathan came to David in Horesh and encouraged him in his faith[a] in God, 17 saying, “Don’t be afraid, for my father Saul will never lay a hand on you. You yourself will be king over Israel, and I’ll be your second-in-command. Even my father Saul knows it is true.” 18 Then the two of them made a covenant in the Lord’s presence. Afterward, David remained in Horesh, while Jonathan went home.

David’s Narrow Escape

19 Some Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t it true that David is hiding among us in the strongholds in Horesh on the hill of Hachilah south of Jeshimon? 20 So now, whenever the king wants to come down, let him come down. As for us, we will be glad to hand him over to the king.”

21 “May you be blessed by the Lord,” replied Saul, “for you have shown concern for me. 22 Go and check again. Investigate[b] where he goes[c] and who has seen him there; they tell me he is extremely cunning. 23 Investigate[d] all the places where he hides. Then come back to me with accurate information, and I’ll go with you. If it turns out he really is in the region, I’ll search for him among all the clans[e] of Judah.” 24 So they went to Ziph ahead of Saul.

Now David and his men were in the wilderness near Maon in the Arabah south of Jeshimon, 25 and Saul and his men went to look for him. When David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Wilderness of Maon. Saul heard of this and pursued David there.

26 Saul went along one side of the mountain and David and his men went along the other side. Even though David was hurrying to get away from Saul, Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them. 27 Then a messenger came to Saul saying, “Come quickly, because the Philistines have raided the land!” 28 So Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to engage the Philistines. Therefore, that place was named the Rock of Separation. 29 From there David went up and stayed in the strongholds of En-gedi.

Footnotes:

  1. 23:16 Lit and strengthened his hand
  2. 23:22 Lit Know and see
  3. 23:22 Lit watch his place where his foot will be
  4. 23:23 Lit See and know
  5. 23:23 Or thousands
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

1 Samuel 23 New International Version (NIV)

David Saves Keilah

23 When David was told, “Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are looting the threshing floors,” he inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah.”

But David’s men said to him, “Here in Judah we are afraid. How much more, then, if we go to Keilah against the Philistine forces!”

Once again David inquired of the Lord, and the Lord answered him, “Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand. So David and his men went to Keilah, fought the Philistines and carried off their livestock. He inflicted heavy losses on the Philistines and saved the people of Keilah. (Now Abiathar son of Ahimelek had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah.)

Saul Pursues David

Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and he said, “God has delivered him into my hands, for David has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars.” And Saul called up all his forces for battle, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men.

When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod. 10 David said, “Lord, God of Israel, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. 11 Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? Lord, God of Israel, tell your servant.”

And the Lord said, “He will.”

12 Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?”

And the Lord said, “They will.”

13 So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there.

14 David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.

15 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that[a] Saul had come out to take his life. 16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18 The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.

19 The Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? 20 Now, Your Majesty, come down whenever it pleases you to do so, and we will be responsible for giving him into your hands.”

21 Saul replied, “The Lord bless you for your concern for me. 22 Go and get more information. Find out where David usually goes and who has seen him there. They tell me he is very crafty. 23 Find out about all the hiding places he uses and come back to me with definite information. Then I will go with you; if he is in the area, I will track him down among all the clans of Judah.”

24 So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Desert of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon. 25 Saul and his men began the search, and when David was told about it, he went down to the rock and stayed in the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this, he went into the Desert of Maon in pursuit of David.

26 Saul was going along one side of the mountain, and David and his men were on the other side, hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his forces were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27 a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land.” 28 Then Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why they call this place Sela Hammahlekoth.[b] 29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.[c]

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 23:15 Or he was afraid because
  2. 1 Samuel 23:28 Sela Hammahlekoth means rock of parting.
  3. 1 Samuel 23:29 In Hebrew texts this verse (23:29) is numbered 24:1.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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