Good News Translation (GNB)
26

David Spares Saul's Life Again

261

26.1:
Ps 54
Some men from Ziph came to Saul at Gibeah and told him that David was hiding on Mount Hachilah at the edge of the Judean wilderness. 2Saul went at once with 3,000 of the best soldiers in Israel to the wilderness of Ziph to look for David, 3and camped by the road on Mount Hachilah. David was still in the wilderness, and when he learnt that Saul had come to look for him, 4he sent spies and found out that Saul was indeed there. 5He went at once and located the exact place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, slept. Saul slept inside the camp, and his men camped round him.

6Then David asked Ahimelech the Hittite, and Abishai the brother of Joab (their mother was Zeruiah), “Which of you two will go to Saul's camp with me?”

“I will,” Abishai answered.

7So that night David and Abishai entered Saul's camp and found Saul sleeping in the centre of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground near his head. Abner and the troops were sleeping round him. 8Abishai said to David, “God has put your enemy in your power tonight. Now let me plunge his own spear through him and pin him to the ground with just one blow — I won't have to strike twice!”

9But David said, “You must not harm him! The LORD will certainly punish whoever harms his chosen king. 10By the living LORD,” David continued, “I know that the LORD himself will kill Saul, either when his time comes to die a natural death or when he dies in battle. 11

26.11:
1 Sam 24.6
The LORD forbid that I should try to harm the one whom the LORD has made king! Let's take his spear and his water jar, and go.” 12So David took the spear and the water jar from just beside Saul's head, and he and Abishai left. No one saw it or knew what had happened or even woke up — they were all sound asleep, because the LORD had sent a heavy sleep on them all.

13Then David crossed over to the other side of the valley to the top of the hill, a safe distance away, 14and shouted to Saul's troops and to Abner, “Abner! Can you hear me?”

“Who is that shouting and waking up the king?” Abner asked.

15David answered, “Abner, aren't you the greatest man in Israel? So why aren't you protecting your master, the king? Just now someone entered the camp to kill your master. 16You failed in your duty, Abner! I swear by the living LORD that all of you deserve to die, because you have not protected your master, whom the LORD made king. Look! Where is the king's spear? Where is the water jar that was beside his head?”

17Saul recognized David's voice and asked, “David, is that you, my son?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” David answered. 18And he added, “Why, sir, are you still pursuing me, your servant? What have I done? What crime have I committed? 19Your Majesty, listen to what I have to say. If it is the LORD who has turned you against me, an offering to him will make him change his mind; but if human beings have done it, may the LORD's curse fall on them. For they have driven me out from the LORD's land to a country where I can only worship foreign gods. 20Don't let me be killed on foreign soil, away from the LORD. Why should the king of Israel come to kill a flea like me? Why should he hunt me down like a wild bird?”

21Saul answered, “I have done wrong. Come back, David, my son! I will never harm you again, because you have spared my life tonight. I have been a fool! I have done a terrible thing!”

22David replied, “Here is your spear, Your Majesty. Let one of your men come over and get it. 23The LORD rewards those who are faithful and righteous. Today he put you in my power, but I did not harm you, whom the LORD made king. 24Just as I have spared your life today, may the LORD do the same to me and free me from all troubles!”

25Saul said to David, “God bless you, my son! You will succeed in everything you do!”

So David went on his way, and Saul returned home.

27

David among the Philistines

271David said to himself, “One of these days Saul will kill me. The best thing for me to do is to escape to Philistia. Then Saul will give up looking for me in Israel, and I will be safe.” 2So David and his 600 men went over at once to Achish son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3David and his men settled there in Gath with their families. David had his two wives with him, Ahinoam from Jezreel, and Abigail, Nabal's widow, from Carmel. 4When Saul heard that David had fled to Gath, he gave up trying to find him.

5David said to Achish, “If you are my friend, let me have a small town to live in. There is no need, sir, for me to live with you in the capital city.” 6So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag, and for this reason Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since. 7David lived in Philistia for sixteen months.

8During that time David and his men would attack the people of Geshur, Girzi, and Amalek, who had been living in the region a very long time. He would raid their land as far as Shur, all the way down to Egypt, 9killing all the men and women and taking the sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and even the clothes. Then he would come back to Achish, 10who would ask him, “Where did you go on a raid this time?” and David would tell him that he had gone to the southern part of Judah or to the territory of the clan of Jerahmeel or to the territory where the Kenites lived. 11David would kill everyone, men and women, so that no one could go back to Gath and report what he and his men had really done. This is what David did the whole time he lived in Philistia. 12But Achish trusted David and said to himself, “He is hated so much by his own people the Israelites that he will have to serve me all his life.”

28

281Some time later, the Philistines gathered their troops to fight Israel, and Achish said to David, “Of course you understand that you and your men are to fight on my side.”

2“Of course,” David answered. “I am your servant, and you will see for yourself what I can do.”

Achish said, “Good! I will make you my permanent bodyguard.”

Saul Consults a Medium

3

28.3:
Lev 20.27
Deut 18.10–11
1 Sam 25.1
Now Samuel had died, and all the Israelites had mourned for him and had buried him in his own city of Ramah. Saul had forced all the fortune tellers and mediums to leave Israel.

4The Philistine troops assembled and camped near the town of Shunem; Saul gathered the Israelites and camped at Mount Gilboa. 5When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was terrified, 6

28.6:
Num 27.21
and so he asked the LORD what to do. But the LORD did not answer him at all, either by dreams or by the use of Urim and Thummim or by prophets. 7Then Saul ordered his officials, “Find me a woman who is a medium, and I will go and consult her.”

“There is one in Endor,” they answered.

8So Saul disguised himself; he put on different clothes, and after dark he went with two of his men to see the woman. “Consult the spirits for me and tell me what is going to happen,” he said to her. “Call up the spirit of the man I name.”

9The woman answered, “Surely you know what King Saul has done, how he forced the fortune tellers and mediums to leave Israel.28.9 he forcedIsrael; or he put to death the fortune tellers and mediums in Israel. Why, then, are you trying to trap me and get me killed?”

10Then Saul made a sacred vow. “By the living LORD I promise that you will not be punished for doing this,” he told her.

11“Whom shall I call up for you?” the woman asked.

“Samuel,” he answered.

12When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed and said to Saul, “Why have you tricked me? You are King Saul!”

13“Don't be afraid!” the king said to her. “What do you see?”

“I see a spirit coming up from the earth,” she answered.

14“What does it look like?” he asked.

“It's an old man coming up,” she answered. “He is wearing a cloak.”

Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed to the ground in respect.

15Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me? Why did you make me come back?”

Saul answered, “I am in great trouble! The Philistines are at war with me, and God has abandoned me. He doesn't answer me any more, either by prophets or by dreams. And so I have called you, for you to tell me what I must do.”

16Samuel said, “Why do you call me when the LORD has abandoned you and become your enemy? 17

28.17:
1 Sam 15.28
The LORD has done to you what he told you through me: he has taken the kingdom away from you and given it to David instead. 18
28.18:
1 Sam 15.3–9
You disobeyed the LORD's command and did not completely destroy the Amalekites and all they had. That is why the LORD is doing this to you now. 19He will hand you and Israel over to the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will join me, and the LORD will also hand the army of Israel over to the Philistines.”

20At once Saul fell down and lay stretched out on the ground, terrified by what Samuel had said. He was weak, because he had not eaten anything all day and all night. 21The woman went over to him and saw that he was terrified, so she said to him, “Please, sir, I risked my life by doing what you asked. 22Now please do what I ask. Let me prepare some food for you. You must eat so that you will be strong enough to travel.”

23Saul refused and said he would not eat anything. But his officers also urged him to eat. He finally gave in, got up from the ground, and sat on the bed. 24The woman quickly killed a calf which she had been fattening. Then she took some flour, prepared it, and baked some bread without yeast. 25She set the food before Saul and his officers, and they ate it. And they left that same night.