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1Now they told David, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keiʹlah, and are robbing the threshing floors.” 2Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keiʹlah.” 3But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keiʹlah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keiʹlah; for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” 5And David and his men went to Keiʹlah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and made a great slaughter among them. So David delivered the inhabitants of Keiʹlah.

6When Abiʹathar the son of Ahimʹelech fled to David to Keiʹlah, he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keiʹlah. And Saul said, “God has given him into my hand; for he has shut himself in by entering a town that has gates and bars.” 8And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keiʹlah, to besiege David and his men. 9David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; and he said to Abiʹathar the priest, “Bring the ephod here.” 10Then said David, “O Lord, the God of Israel, thy servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keiʹlah, to destroy the city on my account. 11Will the men of Keiʹlah surrender me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as thy servant has heard? O Lord, the God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12Then said David, “Will the men of Keiʹlah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the Lord said, “They will surrender you.” 13Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed from Keiʹlah, and they went wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keiʹlah, he gave up the expedition. 14And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.

15And David was afraid because Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the Wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose, and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17And he said to him, “Fear not; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you; you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you; Saul my father also knows this.” 18And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.

19Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibʹe-ah, saying, “Does not David hide among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachiʹlah, which is south of Jeshiʹmon? 20Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down; and our part shall be to surrender him into the king’s hand.” 21And Saul said, “May you be blessed by the Lord; for you have had compassion on me. 22Go, make yet more sure; know and see the place where his haunt is, and who has seen him there; for it is told me that he is very cunning. 23See therefore, and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you; and if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.” 24And they arose, and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.

Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maʹon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshiʹmon. 25And Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told; therefore he went down to the rock which is in the wilderness of Maʹon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maʹon. 26Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was making haste to get away from Saul, as Saul and his men were closing in upon David and his men to capture them, 27when a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Make haste and come; for the Philistines have made a raid upon the land.” 28So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines; therefore that place was called the Rock of Escape. 29And David went up from there, and dwelt in the strongholds of En-geʹdi.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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