December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- David then went up from there and stayed in the refuges behind Engedi.
- And when Saul returned from the pursuit of the Philistines, he was told that David was in the desert near Engedi.
- So Saul took three thousand picked men from all Israel and went in search of David and his men in the direction of the wild goat crags.
- When he came to the sheepfolds along the way, he found a cave, which he entered to ease nature. David and his men were occupying the inmost recesses of the cave.
- David's servants said to him, "This is the day of which the LORD said to you, 'I will deliver your enemy into your grasp; do with him as you see fit.'" So David moved up and stealthily cut off an end of Saul's mantle.
- Afterward, however, David regretted that he had cut off an end of Saul's mantle.
- He said to his men, "The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD'S anointed, as to lay a hand on him, for he is the Lord's anointed."
- With these words David restrained his men and would not permit them to attack Saul. Saul then left the cave and went on his way.
- David also stepped out of the cave, calling to Saul, "My lord the king!" When Saul looked back, David bowed to the ground in homage
- and asked Saul: "Why do you listen to those who say, 'David is trying to harm you'?
- You see for yourself today that the LORD just now delivered you into my grasp in the cave. I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead. I decided, 'I will not raise a hand against my lord, for he is the LORD'S anointed and a father to me.'
- Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold. Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you, see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion. I have done you no wrong, though you are hunting me down to take my life.
- The LORD will judge between me and you, and the LORD will exact justice from you in my case. I shall not touch you.
- The old proverb says, 'From the wicked comes forth wickedness.' So I will take no action against you.
- Against whom are you on campaign, O king of Israel? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, or a single flea!
- The LORD will be the judge; he will decide between me and you. May he see this, and take my part, and grant me justice beyond your reach!"
- When David finished saying these things to Saul, Saul answered, "Is that your voice, my son David?" And he wept aloud.
- Saul then said to David: "You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm.
- Great is the generosity you showed me today, when the LORD delivered me into your grasp and you did not kill me.
- For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed? May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day.
- And now, since I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession,
- swear to me by the LORD that you will not destroy my descendants and that you will not blot out my name and family."
- David gave Saul his oath and Saul returned home, while David and his men went up to the refuge.
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