Story Eight

HOW DAVID SPARED SAUL'S LIFE
AFTER this Dā́ vid and his men hid in many places in the mountains of Jū́ dah, often hunted by Sa̤ul, but always escaping from him. At one time Jŏń a˗than Sa̤ul’s son, came to meet Dā́ vid in a forest, and said to him, "Fear not, for the Lord is with you; and Sa̤ul, my father, shall not take you prisoner. You will yet be the king of Ĭś̝ ra-el, and I shall stand next to you; and my father knows this.”
And Jŏń a-than and Dā́ vid made again the promise to be true to each other, and to each other's children always. Then they parted; and Dā́ vid never again saw his dear friend, Jŏń a-than.
At one time Dā́ vid was hiding with a few men in a great cave near the Dead Sea, at a place called Ĕn=ḡḗ dī. They were far back in the darkness of the cave, when they saw Sa̤ul come into the cave alone, and lie down to sleep. Dā́ vid's men whispered to him, "Now is the time of which the Lord said, 'I will give your enemy into your hand, and you may do to him whatever you please." ”
Then Dā́ vid went toward Sa̤ul very quietly with his sword in his hand. His men looked to see him kill Sa̤ul, but instead, he only cut off a part of Sa̤ul's long robe. His men were not pleased at this; but Dā́ vid said to them, "May the Lord forbid that I should do harm to the man whom the Lord has anointed as king.”
And Dā́ vid would not allow his men to harm Sa̤ul. After a time Sa̤ul rose up from sleep and went out of the cave. Dā́ vid followed him at a distance, and called out to him. "My lord the king!” Sa̤ul looked around, and there stood Dā́ vid, bowing to him and holding up the piece of his royal robe. Dā́ vid said to Sa̤ul, "My lord, O king, why do you listen to the words of men who tell you that Dā́ vid is trying to do you harm? This very day the Lord gave you into my hand in the cave, and some told me to kill you, but I said, 'I will not do harm to my lord, for he is the Lord's anointed king.' See, my father, see the skirt of your robe. I cut it off to show you that I would do you no harm, though you are hunting after me to kill me. May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord do justice for me upon you; but my hand shall not touch you.”
When Sa̤ul heard these words his old love for Dā́ vid came back to him, and he cried out, "Is that your voice, my son Dā́ vid?" And Sa̤ul wept, and said, "You are a better man than I am, for you have done good to me, while I have been doing harm to you. May the Lord reward you for your kindness to me this day! I know that it is God's will that you shall be king, and you will rule over this people. Now give to me your word, in the name of the Lord, that you will not destroy my family, but that you will spare their lives.”
And Dā́ vid gave his promise to Sa̤ul in the name of the Lord; and Sa̤ul led his men away from hunting Dā́ vid to his palace at Ḡĭb́ e-ah; but Dā́ vid kept still in his hiding-place, for he could not trust Sa̤ul's promises to spare his life.
And it was not long before Sa̤ul was again seeking for Dā́ vid in the wilderness of Jū́ dah, with Ab́ ne͂r, Sa̤ul's uncle, the commander of his army, and under him three thousand men. From his hiding-place in the mountains Dā́ vid looked down on the plain, and saw Sa̤ul's camp almost at his feet. That night Dā́ vid and Ā̇-bĭsh́ a-ī., one of Dā́ vid's men, came down quietly and walked into the middle of Sa̤ul's camp, while all his guards were asleep. Sa̤ul himself was sleeping, with his spear standing in the ground at his head, and a bottle of water tied to it.
Dā́ vid's follower, knew that Dā́ vid would not kill King Sa̤ul, and he said to Dā́ vid, "God has given your enemy into your hand again. Let me strike him through to the ground at one stroke; only once; I will not need to strike twice.”
But Dā́ vid said, "You shall not destroy him. Who can strike the anointed of the Lord without being guilty of a crime? Let the Lord strike him, or let him die when God wills it, or let him fall in battle; but he shall not die by my hand. Let us take his spear and his water-bottle, and let us go.”
So Dā́ vid took Sa̤ul's spear and his bottle of water, and then Dā́ vid and Ā̇-bĭsh́ a-ī walked out of the camp without awakening any one. In the morning Dā́ vid called out to Sa̤ul's men and to Ăb́ nēr, the chief of Sa̤ul's army, "Ăb́ nēr, where are you? Why do you not answer, Ăb́ nēr?”
And Ăb́ nēr answered, "Who are you, calling to the camp?”
Then Dā́ vid said, "Are you not a great man, Ăb́ nēr? Who is like you in all Ĭś̝ ra-el? Why have you not kept your watch over the king? You deserve to be put to death for your neglect! See, here is the king's spear and his bottle of water!”
Sa̤ul knew Dā́ vid's voice, and he said, "Is that your voice, my son Dā́ vid?”
And Dā́ vid answered, "It is my voice, my lord, O king. Why do you pursue me? What evil have I done? May God deal with the men who have stirred you up against me. I am not worth all the trouble you are taking to hunt for me. The king of Ĭś̝ ra-el is seeking for one who is as small as a flea or a little bird in the mountains!”
Then Sa̤ul said, "I have done wrong; come back, my son Dā́ vid, and I will no longer try to do harm to you, for you have spared my life to-day!" Dā́ vid said, "Let one of the young men come and take the king's spear. As I have spared your life to-day, may the Lord spare mine.”
So Dā́ vid went his way, for he would not trust himself in Sa̤ul's hands, and Sa̤ul led his men back to his home at Ḡĭb́ e-ah. Dā́ vid now was leading quite an army and was a powerful ruler. He made an agreement with the king of the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝ who lived at Gath, King Ā́ chish, and went down to the plain by the Great Sea, to live among the Phĭ-lĭś tĭnes̝. And Ā́ chish gave him a city called Zĭḱ lăg, on the south of the tribe-land of Jū́ dah. To this place Dā́ vid took his followers, and there he lived during the last year of Sa̤ul's reign.
Lesson 25. David and Saul.
(Tell Stories 6, 7 and 8 in Part Third.)
1. What did Saul do with David after David had killed the Philistine giant? He made David an officer in his army.
2. Whom did David marry after this? A daughter of King Saul.
3. How did King Saul feel toward David? He was very jealous.
4. How did Saul show that he was jealous? He tried to kill David.
5. Who loved David greatly? Saul's son Jonathan.
6. What promise did David make to Jonathan? To be true to him and kind to his children.
7. What did David do on account of Saul's hate? He hid in the wilderness.
8. How did David treat Saul, when he found him asleep in a cave? He spared his life.