And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following thePhilistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is inthe wilderness of Engedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosenmen out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men uponthe rocks of the wild goats. And he came to the sheepcotes by theway, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: andDavid and his men remained in the sides of the cave.
And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of whichthe Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy intothine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good untothee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robeprivily. And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smotehim, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. And he said unto hismen, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master,the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him,seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.
So David stayed his servants with these words, and sufferedthem not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave,and went on his way. David also arose afterward, and went out ofthe cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. Andwhen Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to theearth and bowed himself.
And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words,saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? Behold, this day thineeyes have seen how that the Lord had delivered thee to-day intomine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee; but mine eyespared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand againstmy lord; for he is the Lord's anointed. Moreover, my father, see,yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut offthe skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and seethat there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and Ihave not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to takeit. The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me ofthee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. As saith the proverbof the ancients, Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked: but minehand shall not be upon thee. After whom is the king of Israelcome out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after aflea. The Lord therefore be judge, and judge between me and thee,and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thinehand.
And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speakingthese words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my sonDavid? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. And he said toDavid, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded megood, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And thou hast shewedthis day how that thou hast dealt well, with me: forasmuch aswhen the Lord had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst menot. For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away?wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done untome this day. And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surelybe king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established inthine hand. Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thouwilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroymy name out of my father's house.
And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David andhis men gat them up unto the hold.—2 Samuel xxiv, 2—22.