The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 26

Saul, by the discovery of the Ziphites, comes to Hachilah against David, 1-3. David, coming into the trench, prevents Abishai from killing Saul, but takes his spear and cruse, 4-12. David reproves Abner, 13-16; and exhorts Saul, 17-20. Saul acknowledges his sin, 21-25.

1 And the Ziphites came to Saul to Gibeah, saying, "Does David not hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?" 2 Then Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness. 4 David therefore sent out spies and understood that Saul had indeed come. 5 And David arose and came to the place where Saul had encamped. And David beheld the place where Saul lay, along with Abner, the son of Ner, the captain of his host. And Saul lay in the trench and the people pitched around him.

6 Then David answered and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, "Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?" And Abishai said, "I will go down with you." 7 So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping within the trench and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster, but Abner and the people lay around him. 8 Then Abishai said to David, "God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, let me smite him, I pray you, with the spear, even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time." 9 And David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him. For who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD'S anointed and be guiltless?" 10 David said furthermore, "As the LORD lives, the LORD will smite him, or his day will come to die, or he will descend into battle and perish. 11 The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against the LORD'S anointed. But now, I pray you, take the spear that is at his bolster and the cruse of water and let us go." 12 So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul's bolster, and they departed, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awakened, for they were all asleep because a deep sleep from the LORD had fallen upon them.

13 Then David went over to the other side and stood on the top of a hill afar off, a great space being between them. 14 And David cried to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, "Do you not answer, Abner?" Then Abner answered and said, "Who are you who cries to the king?" 15 And David said to Abner, "Are you not a valiant man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept your lord the king? For there came in one of the people to destroy the king your lord. 16 This thing is not good that you have done. As the LORD lives, you are worthy to die because you have not kept your master, the LORD'S anointed. And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster."

17 And Saul knew David's voice and said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" And David said, "It is my voice, my lord, O king." 18 And he said, "Why does my lord thus pursue his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand? 19 Now therefore, I pray you, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD has stirred you up against me, let him accept an offering, but if they are the children of men, they are cursed before the LORD, for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, 'Go, serve other gods.' 20 Now therefore, do not let my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one hunts a partridge in the mountains."

21 Then Saul said, "I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no longer do you harm because my soul was precious in your eyes this day. Behold I have played the fool and have erred exceedingly." 22 And David answered and said, "Behold the king's spear! And let one of the young men come over and take it. 23 May the LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the LORD delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch forth my hand against the LORD'S anointed. 24 And behold, as your life was precious this day in my eyes, so let my life be precious in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation." 25 Then Saul said to David, "Blessed are you, my son David. You shall both do great things and also shall still prevail." So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Samuel, Chapter 26[➚]


[v.23] - "May the LORD render to every man" - Reference, Psalm 62:12.