1 Samuel 26 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
David Again Spares Saul
26 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not keeping himself hidden on the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite [a]Jeshimon?” 2 So Saul set out and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, [b]taking with him three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul camped on the hill of Hachilah, which is opposite [c]Jeshimon, beside the road, and David was staying in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul had come after him into the wilderness, 4 David sent out spies, and he learned that Saul was definitely coming. 5 David then set out and came to the place where Saul had camped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; and Saul was lying in the circle of the camp, and the people were camped around him.
6 Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, saying, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” And Abishai said, “I will go down with you.” 7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping inside the circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people were lying around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has handed your enemy over to you; now then, please let me [d]pin him with the spear to the ground with one thrust, and I will not [e]do it to him a second time.” 9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not [f]kill him, for who can reach out with his hand against the Lord’s anointed and remain innocent?” 10 David also said, “As the Lord lives, the Lord certainly will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down in battle and [g]perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I would reach out with my hand against the Lord’s anointed! But now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let’s go.” 12 So David took the spear and the jug of water that were at Saul’s head, and they left; and no one saw or knew about it, nor did anyone awaken, for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.
13 Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance with a large area between them. 14 And David called to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, “Will you not answer, Abner?” Then Abner replied, “Who are you who calls to the king?” 15 So David said to Abner, “Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came to [h]kill the king your lord! 16 This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, all of you undoubtedly [i]must die, because you did not guard your lord, the Lord’s anointed. And now, see where the king’s spear is and the jug of water that was at his head!”
17 Then Saul recognized David’s voice and said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And David said, “It is my voice, my lord the king.” 18 He also said, “Why then is my lord pursuing his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand? 19 Now then, please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If the Lord has incited you against me, may He [j]accept an offering; but if it is [k]people, cursed [l]are they before the Lord, because they have driven me out today so that I would have no share in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, ‘Go, serve other gods.’ 20 Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord; for the king of Israel has come out to search for a single flea, just as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
21 Then Saul said, “I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again since my life was precious in your sight this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have made a very great mistake.” 22 David replied, “Behold, the spear of the king! Now have one of the young men come over and take it. 23 And the Lord will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord handed you over to me today, but I refused to reach out with my hand against the Lord’s anointed. 24 Therefore behold, just as your life was highly valued in my sight this day, so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the Lord, and may He rescue me from all distress.” 25 Then Saul said to David, “Blessed are you, my son David; you will both accomplish much and assuredly prevail.” So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
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.