New Heart English Bible
1The Ziphites came to Saul to Gibeah, saying, "Doesn't David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before the desert?" 2Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3Saul camped in the hill of Hachilah, which is before the desert, near the road. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness. 4David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul had certainly come. 5David arose, and came to the place where Saul had camped; and David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his army: and Saul lay within the place of the wagons, and the people were camped around him.
6Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, "Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp?" Abishai said, "I will go down with you." 7So David and Abishai came to the people by night: and, look, Saul lay sleeping within the place of the wagons, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people lay around him. 8Then Abishai said to David, "God has delivered up your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore please let me strike him with the spear to the earth at one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time." 9David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him; for who can put forth his hand against the LORD's anointed, and be guiltless?" 10David said, "As the LORD lives, the LORD will strike him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall go down into battle and perish. 11The LORD forbid that I should put forth my hand against the LORD's anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head, and the jar of water, and let us go." 12So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul's head; and they went away: and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither did any awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen on them.
13Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of the mountain afar off; a great space being between them; 14and David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, "Do you not answer, Abner?" Then Abner answered, "Who are you who cries to the king?" 15David said to Abner, "Aren't you a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept watch over your lord, the king? For one of the people came in to destroy the king your lord. 16This thing isn't good that you have done. As the LORD lives, you are worthy to die, because you have not kept watch over your lord, the LORD's anointed. Now see where the king's spear is, and the jar of water that was at his head."
17Saul knew David's voice, and said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" David said, "It is my voice, my lord, O king." 18He said, "Why does my lord pursue after his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand? 19Now therefore, please let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is so that God has stirred you up against me, let him accept an offering. But if it is the children of men, they are cursed before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day that I shouldn't cling to the LORD's inheritance, saying, 'Go, serve other gods.' 20Now 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."
21Then Saul said, "I have sinned. Return, my son David; for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Look, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly." 22And David answered and said, "Look, the king's spear. Now let one of the young men come over and get it. 23The LORD will render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; because the LORD delivered you into my hand today, and I wouldn't put forth my hand against the LORD's anointed. 24Look, as your life was respected this day in my eyes, so let my life be respected in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all oppression." 25Then Saul said to David, "You are blessed, my son David. You shall both do mightily, and shall surely prevail." So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.