1 Samuel 23:7-29

David escapes from Saul again

7 Someone told Saul that David was now at Keilah. Saul said, ‘God has now put David under my power. David has gone into a town that has high walls and strong gates. He will not be able to leave that place.’ 8 So Saul called his army to join him. They prepared to go to Keilah and to attack David and his men.

23:7Keilah had a wall around it. The only way to go in and out of the town was through its gates.

9 Somebody told David that Saul was preparing to attack him. David said to Abiathar the priest, ‘Bring the ephod here.’ 10 David prayed, ‘Lord, Israel's God. I am your servant. I have heard news that Saul is preparing to attack Keilah. He wants to destroy this town because I am here. 11 Will the leaders in Keilah give me to Saul? Will Saul really come here, as I have heard that he will? Lord, Israel's God, please tell me what will happen.’ The Lord said, ‘Saul will come.’

12 David asked the Lord again, ‘Will the leaders in Keilah give me and my men to Saul?’ The Lord said, ‘They will do that.’

23:12The ephod had some special stones that showed the Lord's answer to David's questions.

13 So David and his 600 men left Keilah. They moved around to stay in different places. People told Saul that David had escaped from Keilah. So Saul decided that he would not go there.

14 David stayed in places where he would be safe. They were in the desert, and in the hill country of Ziph. Saul always tried to find David. But God did not let Saul catch David.

23:14Ziph was in David's home region of Judah.

15 David was at Horesh in the Ziph Desert. He heard news that Saul was coming there to kill him. 16 Saul's son, Jonathan, went to visit David at Horesh. He told David to be brave, because God would keep him safe. 17 Jonathan said to David, ‘Do not be afraid. My father will never be able to hurt you. You will be the next king to rule over Israel. I will be your most important officer. My father Saul also knows that is true.’

18 Jonathan and David promised again in the Lord's name that they would be faithful friends of one another. Then Jonathan went to his home. David stayed at Horesh.

19 Some people from Ziph went to visit Saul at Gibeah. They said to Saul, ‘David is hiding among our people. He is on Hakilah hill, south of Jeshimon. He is hiding in the Horesh hills. 20 Now, King Saul, we know that you want to catch David. So you can come to our land at any time. We will help you to catch him.’

21 Saul replied, ‘I ask the Lord to bless you, because you have been kind to me. 22 Do a bit more to help me now. Make sure that you know where he is. Find the people who have seen him there. I have heard that David is very clever. 23 Find all the places where he hides. When you know all about him, come back and tell me. Then I will come with you. If he is still in that region, I will surely find him. I will look through all the land of Judah and I will catch him.’

24 So the people returned to Ziph before Saul himself went there. David and his men were in the Maon Desert. This was south of Jeshimon, in the Jordan Valley. 25 Saul and his men started to look for David. But David heard about this. So he and his men went to hide at a great rock in the Maon Desert. When Saul heard about this, he and his men went into the Maon Desert to find David.

26 Saul and his men were going along one side of the mountain. David and his men were on the other side of the mountain. They were moving quickly to escape from Saul. Saul and his men were getting very near to David and his men. They would soon catch them.

27 But then a man arrived with a message for Saul. He said to Saul, ‘Come quickly. The Philistines are attacking our land!’ 28 So Saul stopped chasing after David. Instead, he went to fight against the Philistines. So people call that place ‘The rock where they escaped’.

29 David left that place. He went to hide in the safe places at En Gedi.