1 Samuel 26:20
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
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."

New Living Translation
Must I die on foreign soil, far from the presence of the LORD? Why has the king of Israel come out to search for a single flea? Why does he hunt me down like a partridge on the mountains?"

English Standard Version
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the LORD, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains.”

New American Standard Bible
"Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away 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."

King James Bible
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
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."

International Standard Version
Now, don't let my blood fall to the ground away from the LORD's presence. Indeed, the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea, like someone hunts a partridge in the mountains."

NET Bible
Now don't let my blood fall to the ground away from the LORD's presence, for the king of Israel has gone out to look for a flea the way one looks for a partridge in the hill country."

New Heart English Bible
Now therefore, do not let my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the LORD; for the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Don't let my blood fall to the ground, away from the LORD's presence. The king of Israel has come to search for one flea like someone hunting a partridge in the hills."

JPS Tanakh 1917
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the LORD; for the king of Israel is come out to seek a single flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.'

New American Standard 1977
“Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away 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.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Now therefore, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD, for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains.

King James 2000 Bible
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one does hunt a partridge in the mountains.

American King James Version
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one does hunt a partridge in the mountains.

American Standard Version
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of Jehovah: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And now let not my blood be shed upon the earth before the Lord: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as the partridge is hunted in the mountains.

Darby Bible Translation
And now, let not my blood fall to the earth far from the face of Jehovah; for the king of Israel is come out to seek a single flea, as when they hunt a partridge on the mountains.

English Revised Version
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.

Webster's Bible Translation
Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel hath come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains.

World English Bible
Now therefore, don't let my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of Yahweh; for the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains."

Young's Literal Translation
And now, let not my blood fall to the earth over-against the face of Jehovah, for the king of Israel hath come out to seek one flea, as one pursueth the partridge in mountains.'
Study Bible
David Reproves Abner
19"Now therefore, please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If the LORD has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering; but if it is men, cursed are they before the LORD, for they have driven me out today so that I would have no attachment with the inheritance of the LORD, saying, 'Go, serve other gods.' 20"Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away 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." 21Then Saul said, "I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again because my life was precious in your sight this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have committed a serious error."…
Cross References
1 Samuel 24:11
"Now, my father, see! Indeed, see the edge of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the edge of your robe and did not kill you, know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it.

1 Samuel 24:14
"After whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, a single flea?

Jeremiah 16:16
"Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen," declares the LORD, "and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks.

Lamentations 3:52
My enemies without cause Hunted me down like a bird;
Treasury of Scripture

Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one does hunt a partridge in the mountains.

let not my

1 Samuel 2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent …

1 Samuel 25:29 Yet a man is risen to pursue you, and to seek your soul…

the king

1 Samuel 24:14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom do you pursue? …

Matthew 26:47,55 And while he yet spoke, see, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and …

a flea Parohs, (in Arabic borghooth, Syriac, poorthano,) the well known little contemptible and troublesome insect, the flea, seems to be so called from its agility in leaping and skipping, from {para} `free' and `raash', `to leap, bound.' David, by comparing himself to this insect, seems to import, that while it would cost Saul much pains to catch him, he would obtain but very little advantage from it.

a partridge. {Korai} certainly denotes the {partridge}, which is called in Arabic, {kiraa} It seems to be so called from the {cry} or {cur} which it utters when calling its young.

(20) Before the face of the Lord.--Better rendered, far from the presence of the Lord. The same thought dwelt upon in the last verse is here enlarged. "If this savage persecution continues," David goes on to say, "sooner or later I shall fall a victim to one or other of the countless perils to which one in my situation, as leader of a band of outlaws, is daily exposed. Let not such hard, cruel fate be mine--to die a violent death far away from the land which Jehovah loves." It was the same thought which inspires so touchingly this last prayer he made to Saul which, ever present in his heart, made the bringing up of the Ark to a permanent sanctuary, where the visible symbol of the Eternal Presence should dwell for ever, the dream of David's life. It was the same holy thought which induced him to spend so much time and to lay up such vast stores for the building of a glorious sanctuary. The passionate longing of the "man after God's own heart" to worship his Eternal Master in a fitting house devoted to His service, and in the company of men who loved and honoured the Name of names, is to be found in some of the most soul-searching of his psalms.

To seek a flea.--The same humiliating comparison he had made once before on a similar occasion again occurs to him. Such repetition is of ordinary occurrence, as we well know, both in speeches and writings. The LXX. here substitute for "a flea" "my soul," probably with the view of avoiding the repetition of the simile of a flea, which David had made use of on the previous occasion of his sparing the king's life at En-gedi.

A partridge in the mountains.--The LXX. needlessly alters "partridge" into "screech-owl," and changes the sense: "as the screech-owl hunts on the mountains." The meaning of the simile in the Hebrew original is well given by Erdmann, in Lange: "The isolated from God's people, far from all association, a fugitive from their plots on the mountain heights, thou seekest at all cost to destroy, as one hunts a single fugitive partridge on the mountain, only to kill it at all costs, while otherwise, from its insignificance, it would not be hunted, since partridges are to be found in the field in coveys." Conder (Tent Life in Palestine) especially tells us that partridges still tenant these wilds; and speaking of the precipitous cliffs overhanging the Dead Sea, he says: "Among the rocks of the wild goats the bands of ibex may be seen still bounding, and the partridge is still chased on the mountains, as David was followed by the stealthy hunter Saul."

Verse 20. - Let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of Jehovah. Hebrew, "far from the presence of Jehovah." The point of David's appeal is not that his life may be spared, but that he may not thus be driven far away from the land where Jehovah manifests himself; nor does he seem so much to contemplate Saul's putting him to death as the probability that sooner or later the life of an exile will be cut short by one or other of the many dangers by which he is surrounded. A flea. Hebrew, "a single flea," as in 1 Samuel 24:14. A partridge. Many emendations of the text have been proposed on the supposition that partridges are only to be found in plains. But Mr. Condor tells us that partridges are among the few living creatures which still tenant these wilds; and, speaking of the precipitous cliffs which overhang the Dead Sea, he says, Here, among "the rocks of the wild goats, the herds of ibex may be seen bounding, and the partridge is still chased on the mountains, as David was followed by the stealthy hunter Saul" ('Tent Work,' 2:90: see also 1 Samuel 23:19). Now therefore let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord,.... For should it be spilled, God, who is omniscient, will see it, and take notice of it; and being righteous, and to whom vengeance belongs, he will avenge it: some render it, "my blood shall not fall to the earth before the face of the Lord" (r); I am continually under his eye and care, and he will protect and defend me; and in vain is it for thee to pursue after me; I shall never fall into thine hands, though I may be obliged to quit my country, and go into an idolatrous nation, against my will:

for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea; which leaps from place to place and is not easily taken: or this may denote what a mean, poor, weak, insignificant person David was; and how much it was below Saul to come out with an army of chosen men in pursuit of him; so the Targum,"the king of Israel is come out to seek one that is weak or feeble:"

as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains; as kings for their delight used to do, as Abarbinel observes; but this being a business of pleasure, and this a bird of worth, some other is thought to be here intended. Indeed the is represented as worth no more than an "obolus", or five farthings, though fifty drachmas or drachms were ordered to be paid for one (s); the Septuagint renders the word an "owl": the word is "kore", and from the etymology of it one would think it was the raven or crow. Jarchi on Jeremiah 17:11 takes it to be the cuckoo, though here the partridge as others; Bochart (t) will have it to be the woodcock, snipe, or snite (u). Some choose to read the words,"as the kore or partridge on the mountains hunts;''which, it is said, hunts and seeks after the nests of other birds, and sits on their eggs (v): see Jeremiah 17:11; so Saul hunted after David, though he could not take him; several naturalists (w) observe, that the partridge is very difficult to be taken by the hunter.

(r) "non effundetur", Martyr. and to this sense are Syr. Ar. vers. (s) Laert. l. 2. in Vita Aristippi. (t) Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 1. c. 12. Colossians 81. (u) (A snite is like a snipe, yet a different species of lark-like bird. Oxford English Dictionary. Editor) (v) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 140. 2. Jarchi & Abarbinel in loc. (w) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 8. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 33. Aelian. Hist. Animal. l. 3. c. 16. 20. as when one doth hunt a partridge—People in the East, in hunting the partridge and other game birds, pursue them, till observing them becoming languid and fatigued after they have been put up two or three times, they rush upon the birds stealthily and knock them down with bludgeons [Shaw, Travels]. It was exactly in this manner that Saul was pursuing David. He drove him from time to time from his hiding-place, hoping to render him weary of his life, or obtain an opportunity of accomplishing his destruction.26:13-20 David reasoned seriously and affectionately with Saul. Those who forbid our attendance on God's ordinances, do what they can to estrange us from God, and to make us heathens. We are to reckon that which exposes us to sin the greatest injury that can be done us. If the Lord stirred thee up against me, either in displeasure to me, taking this way to punish me for my sins against him, or in displeasure to thee, if it be the effect of that evil spirit from the Lord which troubles thee; let Him accept an offering from us both. Let us join in seeking peace, and to be reconciled with God by sacrifice.
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