1 Samuel 26 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
David Again Spares Saul
26 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, “David is hiding on the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon.” 2 So Saul, accompanied by 3,000 of the choice men of Israel, went to the Wilderness of Ziph to search for David there. 3 Saul camped beside the road at the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon. David was living in the wilderness and discovered Saul had come there after him. 4 So David sent out spies and knew for certain that Saul had come. 5 Immediately, David went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the general of his army, were lying down. Saul was lying inside the inner circle of the camp with the troops camped around him. 6 Then David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab’s brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, “Who will go with me into the camp to Saul?”
“I’ll go with you,” answered Abishai.
7 That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won’t have to strike him twice!”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed and be blameless?” 10 David added, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. 11 However, because of the Lord, I will never lift my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let’s go.”
12 So David took the spear and the water jug by Saul’s head, and they went their way. No one saw them, no one knew, and no one woke up; they all remained asleep because a deep sleep from the Lord came over them. 13 David crossed to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance; there was a considerable space between them. 14 Then David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner: “Aren’t you going to answer, Abner?”
“Who are you who calls to the king?” Abner asked.
15 David called to Abner, “You’re a man, aren’t you? Who in Israel is your equal? So why didn’t you protect your lord the king when one of the people came to destroy him? 16 What you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, all of you deserve to die since you didn’t protect your lord, the Lord’s anointed. Now look around; where are the king’s spear and water jug that were by his head?”
17 Saul recognized David’s voice and asked, “Is that your voice, my son David?”
“It is my voice, my lord and king,” David said. 18 Then he continued, “Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What evil is in my hand? 19 Now, may my lord the king please hear the words of his servant: If it is the Lord who has incited you against me, then may He accept an offering. But if it is people, may they be cursed in the presence of the Lord, for today they have driven me away from sharing in the inheritance of the Lord saying, ‘Go and worship other gods.’ 20 So don’t let my blood fall to the ground far from the Lord’s presence, for the king of Israel has come out to search for a flea, like one who pursues a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Saul responded, “I have sinned. Come back, my son David, I will never harm you again because today you considered my life precious. I have been a fool! I’ve committed a grave error.”
22 David answered, “Here is the king’s spear; have one of the young men come over and get it. 23 May the Lord repay every man for his righteousness and his loyalty. I wasn’t willing to lift my hand against the Lord’s anointed, even though the Lord handed you over to me today. 24 Just as I considered your life valuable today, so may the Lord consider my life valuable and rescue me from all trouble.”
25 Saul said to him, “You are blessed, my son David. You will certainly do great things and will also prevail.” Then David went on his way, and Saul returned home.
1 Samuel 26 New International Version (NIV)
David Again Spares Saul’s Life
26 The Ziphites went to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Is not David hiding on the hill of Hakilah, which faces Jeshimon?”
2 So Saul went down to the Desert of Ziph, with his three thousand select Israelite troops, to search there for David. 3 Saul made his camp beside the road on the hill of Hakilah 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 Abner son of Ner, the commander of the army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the camp, with the army encamped around him.
6 David then asked Ahimelek the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down into the camp with me to Saul?”
“I’ll go with you,” said Abishai.
7 So David and Abishai went to the army by night, and there was Saul, lying asleep inside the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the soldiers were lying around him.
8 Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t strike him twice.”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? 10 As surely as the Lord lives,” he said, “the Lord himself will strike him, or his time will come and he will die, 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.
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, 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 wrong am I guilty of? 19 Now let my lord the king listen to his servant’s words. If the Lord has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. 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 inheritance and have said, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Come back, David my son. Because you considered my life precious 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 rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The Lord delivered 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 deliver me from all trouble.”
25 Then Saul said to David, “May you be blessed, David my son; you will do great things and surely triumph.”
So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.