1It came to pass when Saul returned from following the Philistines that it was told to him, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi.”
2Then Saul took 3,000 chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men on the face of the cliffs of the wild goats.
3He came to the sheep pens along the path, and there was a cave there, and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were staying in the innermost recesses of the cave.
4And David’s men said to him, “Behold, the day of which Yahweh said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand and you will do to him as is good in your eyes.’” Then David arose and secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s cloak.
5But it came to pass afterward that David’s heart struck him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s cloak.
6He said to his men, “Yahweh forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, Yahweh’s anointed,a to stretch out my hand against him, since he is Yahweh’s anointed.”
7So David restrained his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. Then Saul rose up out of the cave and went on down the path.
8Then David rose up afterward and went out of the cave and called out after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David kneeled and bowed down with his face to the earth.
9And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to men’s words, saying, ‘Behold, David is seeking to do you harm?’
10Behold, this day your eyes have seen that Yahweh had given you into my hand today in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I had compassion on you and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is Yahweh’s anointed.’
11Moreover, my father, see! Indeed, see the corner of your cloak in my hand. By the fact that I cut off the corner of your cloak but did not kill you, know and see that there is neither evil nor disobedience in my hand and I have not sinned against you, though you hunt for my life to take it.
12“May Yahweh judge between me and you and may Yahweh avenge me against you, but my hand will not be upon you.
13As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘From the wicked comes out wickedness,’ so my hand will not be upon you.
14After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom are you pursuing? After a dead dog? After a flea?
15May Yahweh be the judge and pass judgment between me and you, and see and plead my cause, and judge to deliver me out of your hand.”
16And when David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept.
17And he said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have done good to me whereas I have done evil to you.
18You have told me this day how you have dealt well with me; how Yahweh gave me over into your hand, yet you did not kill me.
19For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away unharmed? So may Yahweh reward you good in return for what you have done to me this day.
20“Now, behold, I know that you will be king, yes, be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand.
21So now swear to me by Yahweh that you will not cut off my seed after me and that you will not destroy my name from my father’s house.”
22And David swore to Saul. So Saul went to his house, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.