1 Samuel 23
New American Standard Bible►► 

David Saves Keilah

1Then they informed David, saying, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are plundering the threshing floors.” 2So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go and [a]attack these Philistines?” And the LORD said to David, “Go and [b]attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” 3But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are fearful here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the ranks of the Philistines?” 4So David inquired of the LORD once more. And the LORD answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I am going to hand the Philistines over to you.” 5Then David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines; and he drove away their livestock and struck them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

6Now it came about, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7When it was reported to Saul that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has handed him over to me, for he shut himself in by entering a city with double gates and bars.” 8So Saul summoned all the people for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. 9But David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; so he said to Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10Then David said, “LORD God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul is seeking to come to Keilah to destroy the city on my account. 11Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down just as Your servant has heard? LORD God of Israel, please, tell Your servant.” And the LORD said, “He will come down.” 12Then David said, “Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will hand you over.” 13Then David and his men, about six hundred, rose up and departed from Keilah, and they went wherever they could go. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up [c]the pursuit. 14David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand him over to him.

Saul Pursues David

15Now David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life while David was in the wilderness of Ziph, at Horesh. 16And Jonathan, Saul’s son, set out and went to David at Horesh, and [d]encouraged him in God. 17He said to him, “Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel, and I will be second in command to you; and Saul my father knows that as well.” 18So the two of them made a covenant before the LORD; and David stayed at Horesh, while Jonathan went to his house.

19Then Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not keeping himself hidden with us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of [e]Jeshimon? 20Now then, O king, come down, [f]since you fully desire to [g]do so; and our part shall be to hand him over to the king.” 21Saul said, “May you be blessed of the LORD, since you have had compassion on me. 22Go now, be more persistent, and investigate and see his place where [h]he is hiding, and who has seen him there; for I am told that he is very cunning. 23So look, and learn about all the hiding places where he keeps himself hidden, and return to me with certainty, and I will go with you; and if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.”

24So they set out 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 [i]Jeshimon. 25When Saul and his men went to seek him, they informed David, and he came down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard about it, he pursued 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, while Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men to apprehend them. 27But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have launched an attack against the land!” 28So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to confront the Philistines; therefore they called that place [j]the Rock of Division. 29[k]And David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of Engedi.

[a] 2 Lit strike
[b] 2 Lit strike
[c] 13 Lit going out
[d] 16 Lit strengthened his hand
[e] 19 Or the desert
[f] 20 Lit according to all your soul’s desire
[g] 20 Lit come down
[h] 22 Lit his foot is
[i] 24 Or the desert
[j] 28 Heb Sela-hammahlekoth; meaning uncertain, possibly Rock of Smoothness (i.e., “Slippery Rock”)
[k] 29 Ch 24:1 in Heb

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