English Standard Version
David Saves the City of Keilah
1Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors.” 2Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” 5And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
6When Abiathar the son of Ahimelech had fled to David to Keilah, he had come down with an ephod in his hand. 7Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand, for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9David knew that Saul was plotting harm against him. And he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10Then David said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city on my account. 11Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, please tell your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” 13Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up the expedition. 14And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.
Saul Pursues David
15David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.” 18And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
19Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon? 20Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down, and our part shall be to surrender him into the king’s hand.” 21And Saul said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me. 22Go, make yet more sure. Know and see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there, for it is told me that he is very cunning. 23See therefore and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you. And if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.” 24And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.
Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. 25And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told, so he went down to the rock and lived in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David was hurrying to get away from Saul. As Saul and his men were closing in on David and his men to capture them, 27a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid against the land.” 28So Saul returned from pursuing after David and went against the Philistines. Therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape.a 29b And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of Engedi.
a 28 Or Rock of Divisions
b 29 Ch 24:1 in Hebrew
ESV Text Edition® (2016).
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The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.