1And Ziphites came to Saul into Gibeah, and said, Lo! David is hid in the hill of Hachilah, which is even against the wilderness. (And the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, and said, Lo! David is hid on Mount Hachilah, overlooking Jeshimon.) 2And Saul rose up, and went down into the desert of Ziph, and with him three thousand of men of the chosen of Israel, that he should seek David in the desert of Ziph. (And Saul rose up, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, and three thousand chosen men of Israel went with him, to help him seek out David in the wilderness of Ziph.) 3And Saul setted his tents in the hill of Hachilah, that was even against the wilderness, in the way. And David dwelled in the desert. Forsooth David saw that Saul had come after him into desert; (And Saul pitched his tents on Mount Hachilah, on the way overlooking Jeshimon. And David stayed in the wilderness. And David knew that Saul had come after him into the wilderness;) 4and David sent spyers, and learned most certainly, that Saul had come thither. 5And David rose up privily, and came to the place where Saul was. And when David had seen the place, wherein Saul slept, and Abner, the son of Ner, the prince of his chivalry; and Saul sleeping in the tent, and the tother common people by his compass; (And David rose up quickly, and came to the place where Saul was. And when David had seen the place where Saul slept, and Abner, the son of Ner, the leader of his cavalry, or his army; and Saul was sleeping in his tent, and the other common people were all around him;)
6David said to Ahimelech, (the) Hittite, and to Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, the brother of Joab, saying, Who shall go down with me to Saul into his tents? And Abishai said, I shall go down with thee. 7Therefore David and Abishai came to the people in the night, and they found Saul lying and sleeping in the tent, and a spear set fast in the earth at his head; forsooth they found Abner and the people sleeping in his compass (and they found Abner and the other people sleeping all around him). 8And Abishai said to David, God hath closed today thine enemy into thine hands; now therefore I shall pierce him with the spear once (through, and) in(to) the earth, and no need shall be (for) the second time. (And Abishai said to David, God hath enclosed thy enemy in thy hands today; and so now I shall pierce him once through with the spear, and into the ground, and there shall be no need for a second thrust.) 9And David said to Abishai, Slay thou not him, for who shall hold forth his hand into the christ of the Lord, and shall be innocent? (And David said to Abishai, Kill thou him not, for who shall put his hand against the anointed of the Lord, and still be innocent?) 10And David said, (As) The Lord liveth, for no but the Lord smite him, either his day come that he die, either he go down into battle, and perish; 11the Lord be merciful to me, that I hold not forth mine hand into the christ of the Lord; now therefore take thou the spear, that is at his head, and the cup of water, and go we away. (the Lord forbid/God forbid that I put my hand against the Lord’s anointed; and so now, let us take the spear, that is at his head, and the cup of water, and go we away.) 12Then David took the spear, and the cup of water, that was at the head of Saul, and they went forth, and no man was that saw, and understood, and waked, but all men slept (and there was no one who saw it, or knew it, or even awoke, but all the men slept); for the sleep of the Lord had fallen [up]on them.
13And when David had passed [over] even against, and had stood on the top of the hill afar (off), and a great space was betwixt them, 14David cried to the people, and to Abner, the son of Ner, and said, Abner, whether thou wilt not answer? (Abner, wilt thou not answer me?) And Abner answered, and said, Who art thou, that criest, and dis-easest the king? 15And David said to Abner, Whether thou art not a man (Art thou not a man), and what other man is like thee in Israel? why therefore hast thou not kept thy lord the king (safe)? For one man of the company entered, that he should slay thy lord the king; 16this that thou hast done, is not good; the Lord liveth, for ye be sons of death, that kept not your lord, the christ of the Lord (this is not good, what thou hast done; as the Lord liveth, for ye be the sons of death, who kept not your lord safe, yea, the Lord’s anointed). Now therefore see thou, where is the spear of the king, and where is the cup of water, that was at his head.
17Forsooth Saul knew the voice of David, and said, Whether this voice is thine, my son David? And David said, My lord the king, it is my voice. (And Saul knew the voice of David, and said, Is this thy voice, David my son? And David said, My lord the king, it is my voice.) 18And David said, For what cause pursueth my lord his servant? What have I done, either what evil is in mine hand? 19Now therefore, my lord the king, I pray, hear the words of thy servant; if the Lord stirreth thee against me, the sacrifice be smelled; forsooth if [the] sons of men stir thee, they be cursed in the sight of the Lord, which have cast me out today, that I dwell not in the heritage of the Lord, and say, Go thou, serve thou alien gods. (And so now, my lord the king, I pray thee, listen to the words of thy servant; if the Lord stirreth thee against me, let the sacrifice be smelled; but if the sons of men stir thee, be they cursed before the Lord, they who have thrown me out today, so that I live not in the inheritance of the Lord, and who say to me, Go thou, serve thou foreign, or other, gods.) 20And now my blood be not shed out in the earth before the Lord; for the king of Israel hath gone out, that he seek a quick flea, as a partridge is pursued in hills. (And now let not my blood be shed out on the ground before the Lord; for the king of Israel hath gone out, so that he can seek after a quick, or an insignificant, flea, like a partridge is pursued over the hills.)
21And Saul said, I have sinned; turn thou again, my son David, for I shall no more do evil to thee, for my life was precious today in thine eyes; for it seemeth, that I have done follily (that I have done foolishly), and I have unknown full many things. 22And David answered and said, Lo! the spear of the king, one of the young men of the king pass (over hither), and take it; (And David replied, Lo! the spear of the king; one of the king’s young men come over here, and take it back;) 23forsooth the Lord shall yield to each man after his rightfulness and his faith; for the Lord betook thee today into mine hand, and I would not hold forth mine hand into the christ of the Lord; (and the Lord shall yield to each man after his uprightness and his faithfulness, or his loyalty; for the Lord delivered thee today into my hands, but I would not put my hand against the Lord’s anointed;) 24and as thy life is magnified today in mine eyes, so my life be magnified in the eyes of the Lord, and deliver he me from all anguish. (and as thy life is magnified today in my eyes, so let my life be magnified in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me from all anguish.) 25Therefore Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David; and soothly thou doing shalt do, and thou mighty shalt be mighty. Then David went forth into his way, and Saul turned again into his place (Then David went forth on his way, and Saul returned home).
Wycliffe’s Old Testament
Wycliffe’s New Testament
and JOHN PURVEY
A modern-spelling edition of their
14TH century Middle English translation,
the first complete English vernacular version,
with an Introduction by
TERENCE P. NOBLE
Used by Permission