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Chapter 23

1They told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and are robbing the threshing floors. 2Therefore David inquired of Yahweh, saying, Shall I go and strike these Philistines? Yahweh said to David, Go, and strike the Philistines, and save Keilah. 3David’s men said to him, Behold, we are afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4Then David inquired of Yahweh yet again. Yahweh answered him, and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand. 5David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their livestock, and killed them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. 6It happened, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7It was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. Saul said, God has delivered him into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that has gates and bars. 8Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9David knew that Saul was devising mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring here the ephod. 10Then said David, O Yahweh, the God of Israel, your servant has surely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. 11Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? Yahweh, the God of Israel, I beg you, tell your servant. Yahweh said, He will come down. 12Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver up to me and my men into the hand of Saul? Yahweh said, They will deliver you up. 13Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went wherever they could go. It was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he gave up going there. 14David abode in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God didn’t deliver him into his hand. 15David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in the wood. 16Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. 17He said to him, Don’t be afraid; for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you; and you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you; and that also Saul my father knows. 18They two made a covenant before Yahweh: and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house. 19Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doesn’t David hide himself with us in the strongholds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of the desert? 20Now therefore, O king, come down, according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him up into the king’s hand. 21Saul said, Blessed be you of Yahweh; for you have had compassion on me. 22Please go make yet more sure, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who has seen him there; for it is told me that he deals very subtly. 23See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides himself, and come you again to me of a certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall happen, if he be in the land, that I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah. 24They arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah on the south of the desert. 25Saul and his men went to seek him. When David was told, he went down to the rock, and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. When Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. 26Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. 27But there came a messenger to Saul, saying, Haste you, and come; for the Philistines have made a raid on the land. 28So Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Sela Hammahlekoth. 29David went up from there, and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.

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