New Heart English Bible
1It happened, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, "Look, David is in the wilderness of En Gedi." 2Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the rocks of the wild goats. 3He came to the sheep pens by the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave. 4The men of David said to him, "Look, the day of which the LORD said to you, 'Look, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.'" Then David arose, and cut off an edge of Saul's robe secretly. 5It happened afterward, that David's heart struck him, because he had cut off an edge of Saul's robe. 6He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD's anointed, to put forth my hand against him, since he is the LORD's anointed." 7So David restrained his men with these words and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way.
8Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, saying, "My lord the king." When Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and showed respect. 9David said to Saul, "Why do you listen to men's words, saying, 'Look, David seeks your harm?' 10Look, this day your eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered you today into my hand in the cave, but I refused to kill you, and my eye spared you; and I said, 'I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is the LORD's anointed.' 11Moreover, my father, look, yes, see the skirt of your robe in my hand; for in that I cut off the skirt of your robe, and did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor disobedience in my hand, and I have not sinned against you, though you hunt for my life to take it. 12May the LORD judge between me and you, and may the LORD avenge me of you; but my hand shall not be on you. 13As the proverb of the ancients says, 'Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness;' but my hand shall not be on you. 14Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? After a dead dog, or one flea? 15May the LORD therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and you, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of your hand."
16It came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17He said to David, "You are more righteous than I; for you have done good to me, whereas I have done evil to you. 18And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that the LORD had delivered me up into your hand and you did not kill me. 19For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away unharmed? Therefore may the LORD reward you good for that which you have done this day. 20Now, look, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21Swear now therefore to me by the LORD, that you will not cut off my descendants after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father's house." 22David swore to Saul. Saul went home; but David and his men went up to the stronghold.