1 Samuel 24

David Spares Saul’s Life

24 [a]Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, it was reported to him, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to search for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Mountain Goats. And he came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to [b]relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave. Then David’s men said to him, “Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold; I am about to hand your enemy over to you, and you shall do to him as it seems good [c]to you.’” Then David got up and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly. But it came about afterward that David’s [d]conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe. So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the Lord that I would do this thing to my lord, the Lords anointed, to reach out with my hand against him, since he is the Lords anointed.” And David rebuked his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul got up, [e]left the cave, and went on his way.

Afterward, however, David got up and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself. And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men [f]who say, ‘Behold, David is seeking [g]to harm you’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had handed you over to me today in the cave, and someone said to kill you, but [h]I spared you; and I said, ‘I will not reach out with my hand against my lord, because he is the Lords anointed.’ 11 So, my father, look! Indeed, look at the edge of your robe in my hand! For by the fact that I cut off the edge of your robe but did not kill you, know and understand that there is no evil or [i]rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life, to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between [j]you and me, and may the Lord take vengeance on you for me; but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel gone out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, a single flea? 15 May the Lord therefore be judge and decide between [k]you and me; and may He see and plead my cause and save me from your hand.”

16 When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Then Saul raised his voice and wept. 17 And he said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt maliciously with you. 18 You have declared today that you have done good to me, that the Lord handed me over to you and yet you did not kill me. 19 Though if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away [l]unharmed? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. 20 Now, behold, I know that you will certainly be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 So now swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my [m]descendants after me, and that you will not eliminate my name from my father’s household.” 22 And David swore an oath to Saul. Then Saul went to his home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.


  1. 1 Samuel 24:1 Ch 24:2 in Heb
  2. 1 Samuel 24:3 Lit cover his feet
  3. 1 Samuel 24:4 Lit in your eyes
  4. 1 Samuel 24:5 Lit heart struck
  5. 1 Samuel 24:7 Lit from
  6. 1 Samuel 24:9 Lit saying
  7. 1 Samuel 24:9 Lit your harm
  8. 1 Samuel 24:10 As in ancient versions; MT, my eye had pity on
  9. 1 Samuel 24:11 Lit offense
  10. 1 Samuel 24:12 Lit me and you
  11. 1 Samuel 24:15 Lit me and you
  12. 1 Samuel 24:19 Lit on a good road
  13. 1 Samuel 24:21 Lit seed