23 1THEN THEY told David, Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah and are robbing the threshing floors. 2So David inquired of the Lord, Shall I go and attack these Philistines? And the Lord said to David, Go, smite the Philistines and save Keilah. 3David’s men said to him, Behold, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more, then, if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand. 5So David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines with a great slaughter and brought away their cattle. So David delivered the people of Keilah. 6When Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, he came with an ephod in his hand. 7Now it was told Saul that David had come to Keilah. Saul said, God has delivered him into my hand, for he is shut in by going into a town that has gates and bars. 8Saul summoned all the men for war, to go to Keilah to besiege David and his men. 9David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring the ephod here. 10Then David said, O Lord, the God of Israel, Your servant has surely heard that Saul intends to come and destroy the city of Keilah on my account. 11Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, I beseech You, tell Your servant. And the Lord said, He will come down. 12Then David asked, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into Saul’s hand? The Lord said, They will deliver you up. 13Then David and his men, about 600, arose and left Keilah, going wherever they could go. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up going there. 14David remained in the wilderness strongholds in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hands. 15David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in the wood [at Horesh]. 16And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went into the wood to David [at Horesh] and strengthened his hand in God. 17He said to him, Fear not; 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 knows that too. 18And the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David remained in the wood [at Horesh], and Jonathan went to his house. 19Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, Does not David hide himself with us in strongholds in the wood [at Horesh], on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon? 20Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down, and our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hands. 21And Saul said, The Lord bless you, for you have compassion on me. 22Go, make yet more sure; and know and see where his haunt is and who has seen him there; for I am told he deals very craftily. 23See and take note of all his hiding places and come back to me with the certain facts, and I will go with you. If he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah. 24So they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the Wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah south of Jeshimon. 25Saul and his men went to seek him. And David was told; so he went down to the rock in the Wilderness of Maon and stayed. When Saul heard that, he pursued David in the Wilderness of Maon. 26And Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain. And David made haste to get away for fear of Saul, for Saul and his men were surrounding [him] and his men to capture them. 27But a messenger came to Saul, saying, Make haste and come, for the Philistines have made a raid on the land. 28So Saul returned from pursuing David and went against the Philistines. So they called that place the Rock of Escape. 29David went up from there and dwelt in the strongholds of En-gedi.
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