1 Samuel 24

David refuses to kill Saul

1 When Saul had finished fighting the Philistines, he returned to his home. Someone told him that David was in the desert at En Gedi. 2 So Saul chose 3,000 of the best soldiers in Israel. They went to look for David and his men near Wild Goat Rocks.

3 Saul came to the places where they kept the sheep, near to the road. There was a big hole in the hill near to this place. Saul went into it to use it as a toilet. David and his men were sitting at the back of this hole and they were hiding. 4 The men said to David, ‘This is the day that the Lord spoke about. The Lord said to you, “I will give your enemy to you. Then you can do to him what seems to you the right thing to do”.’ David walked up behind Saul. David was so quiet that Saul did not hear him. David cut off a small piece of cloth from Saul's coat.

5 After that, David felt sorry that he had cut a piece of cloth from Saul's coat. 6 David said to his men, ‘I am praying that the Lord will not let me do anything wrong to my master, Saul. The Lord anointed him as king. I must never do anything against Saul, because the Lord has anointed him as king.’ 7 David spoke like this so that his men would not attack Saul. David did not let them do it. Saul left the hole in the hill and he continued to go on his journey.

8 Then David went out of the hole and he shouted to Saul, ‘My master and my king!’ Saul looked behind him. David went down on his knees. He bent down so that his face touched the ground. 9 David said to Saul, ‘You should not listen to the people who say, “David wants to hurt you.” 10 Today the Lord made me able to hurt you in that place. Some of my men wanted me to kill you. But I let you go. I said, “I will not hurt my master because the Lord has anointed him as king.” 11 Look, my father. I have a small piece of your coat. I cut this off the corner of your coat but I did not kill you. Please know that I have not sinned against you. I will not hurt you. I have not done anything wrong to you. But you are running after me so that you can kill me. 12 The Lord will be the judge. He will know which one of us has done wrong things. And I ask that the Lord will punish you. I want him to punish you because you have done wrong things to me. But I will not do anything to hurt you. 13 You know that people often say, “Evil people do evil things.” But I will not touch you. 14 I do not know whom you have come to fight. I do not know whom you are running after. Perhaps you think that I am like a dead dog or a little insect! 15 The Lord will be the judge. He will know which one of us has done the right things. The Lord will see what I did. I know that I have done only good things. And I pray that he will show that. And I pray that he will save me from you.’

16 When David stopped speaking, Saul asked, ‘Is that really you, David my son?’ Then Saul started to cry aloud. 17 Saul said, ‘You are a better man than I am. You have been good to me. But I have done bad things to you. 18 You have told me all the good things that you did to me. The Lord made you able to hurt me, but you did not kill me. 19 If a person finds his enemy, he does not let him go away. He does not let him be safe. I ask that the Lord will give a lot of good gifts to you. I ask that because you were good to me today. 20 Now I know that you will be the king of Israel. You will rule all the people in Israel. 21 Please promise the Lord that you will not kill all my children and their families. Make sure that people do not forget my family's name.’

22 So David promised that to Saul. Saul went to his home. But David and his men returned to the safe place.