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William Shepard

Saul Again Pursues David

After Saul had returned to his palace, his old anger against David rose again within him, and he was sorry that he had not attacked him in the cave. Learning from some of the men of Ziph that David was in the wilderness of Maon, he took three thousand men and went in search of him.

David heard of his coming, and sent out spies, who returned and told him that Saul had made his camp in a place called Hachilah. Then David took with him his nephew Abishai, and at night-time, when all Saul's army was asleep, they entered the camp. They went into Saul's tent, and when Abishai would have slain the king, David prevented him. He took only the spear and the cruse (or bottle) of water that stood by Saul's bed, and then he and his nephew stole silently out of the camp without having been seen or heard by any one.

When David had reached the top of a neighboring hill, he cried out in a loud voice and awaked the soldiers out of their sleep.

And Abner, the commander, asked who it was that called. "It is I," said David, "the son of Jesse, whom thou seekest to capture. But what is the matter with thee, that being a man favored by the king and the commander of his armies, thou dost take so little care of thy master's body? If thou wilt look for the king's spear and his cruse of water, thou wilt learn what a mighty misfortune was ready to overtake thee in thy very camp without knowing anything about it."

Now when Saul knew David's voice, and understood what had happened, he confessed that David had done a very noble thing. And he said he would no longer molest David or seek to injure him, but that he might go back in safety to his family. When the day broke, Saul led his army homeward.