1 Then David ascended from there, and he lived in very secure places in Engedi.
2 And when Saul had returned after pursuing the Philistines, they reported to him, saying, “Behold, David is in the desert of Engedi.”
3 Therefore, Saul, taking three thousand elect men from all of Israel, traveled in order to search for David and his men, even upon the most broken rocks, which are passable only to mountain goats.
4 And he arrived at the sheepfolds, which presented themselves along the way. And a cave was in that place, which Saul entered, so that he might ease his bowels. But David and his men were hiding in the interior part of the cave.
5 And the servants of David said to him: “Behold the day, about which the Lord said to you, ‘I will deliver your enemy to you, so that you may do to him as it will be pleasing in your eyes.’ ” Then David rose up, and he quietly cut off the edge of Saul’s cloak.
David Spares Saul\'s Life
6 After this, his own heart struck David, because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s cloak.
7 And he said to his men: “May the Lord be gracious to me, lest I do this thing to my lord, the Christ of the Lord, so that I lay my hand upon him. For he is the Christ of the Lord.”
8 And David restrained his men with his words, and he would not permit them to rise up against Saul. And so Saul, going out of the cave, continued to undertake his journey.
9 Then David also rose up after him. And departing from the cave, he cried out behind the back of Saul, saying: “My lord, the king!” And Saul looked behind him. And David, bowing himself face down to the ground, reverenced.
10 And he said to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of men who say: ‘David seeks evil against you?’
11 Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord has delivered you into my hand, in the cave. And I thought that I might kill you. But my eye has spared you. For I said: I will not extend my hand against my lord, for he is the Christ of the Lord.
12 Moreover, see and know, O my father, the edge of your cloak in my hand. For though I cut off the top of your cloak, I was not willing to extend my hand against you. Turn your soul and see that there is no evil in my hand, nor any iniquity or sin against you. Yet you lie in wait for my life, so that you may take it away.
13 May the Lord judge between me and you. And may the Lord vindicate me from you. But my hand will not be against you.
14 So too, it is said in the ancient proverb, ‘From the impious, impiety will go forth.’ Therefore, my hand will not be upon you.
15 Whom are you pursuing, O king of Israel? Whom are you pursuing? You are pursuing a dead dog, a single flea.
16 May the Lord be the judge, and may he judge between me and you. And may he see and judge my case, and rescue me from your hand.”
17 And when David had completed speaking words in this way to Saul, Saul said, “Could this be your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice, and he wept.
18 And he said to David: “You are more just than I am. For you have distributed good to me, but I have repaid evil to you.
19 And you have revealed this day the good that you have done for me: how the Lord delivered me into your hand, but you did not kill me.
20 For who, when he will have found his enemy, will release him along a good path? So may the Lord repay you for this good turn, because you have acted on my behalf this day.
21 And now I know certainly that you shall be king, and you shall have the kingdom of Israel in your hand.
22 Swear to me in the Lord that you will not take away my offspring after me, nor take away my name from the house of my father.”
23 And David swore to Saul. Therefore, Saul went away to his own house. And David and his men ascended to places that were more secure.