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hastened and slung a stone at his forehead, so that he fell down upon his face; and before the Philistine could rise again, David took his sword and cut off his head with his own sword. a
Fear seized the Philistines, and they fled; and the Israelites pursued them, even to their own cities.
Saul asked David about his family. David said, "I am the son of thy servant Jesse, the Bethlehemite." And while David was speaking to Saul, the heart of Jonathan, Saul's son, knitted itself to the heart of David. And Jonathan loved him as his own soul. As a public mark of his friendship, the king's son gave to the brave shepherd his sword, his bow, and his girdle. Saul would not let David go home again, but placed him among his own officers.
38. DAVID'S PERSECUTION.
DAVID'S prosperity did not last long. As the Israelites returned home from the field of battle, victorious over the Philistines, the women sang in their dances, "Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." The king heard this with jealousy: "What can he have more," said he, "but the kingdom?" The more, therefore, the king saw that David won the affections of the people, so much the more did he hate him n; so that he at last sought to slay him. Whilst he was playing upon the harp before him, Saul cast a javelin at him. Then he sent messengers to mur
a1 Sam. xvii. 32-51.
b Sam. xvii. 17, 58.
der him in his own house; but Michal, his wife, who was Saul's daughter, let him down out of the window, and he escaped. David then fled.
Jonathan, who had succeeded once before in bringing his father to better thoughts, tried again to effect a reconciliation, but in vain. Saul told his son that he had determined that he should die. Jonathan, however, renewed his covenant of friendship with him, and advised him to flee. David then fled to the king of the Philistines, taking with him the sword of Goliath. But the princes of the Philistines looked upon him with great suspicion, and he scarcely escaped with his life.
David now dwelt among the rocks and caves in the mountains of Judea, where, by degrees, as many as six hundred men, together with many old men, and women, and children, came together to him, many of whom were friends and relations of David, and on that account persecuted by Saul. For Saul's revenge went to such length, that he ordered the high-priest to be slain, who had, without knowing that David fled from Saul, given him bread and Goliath's sword; and with him eightyfour innocent priests were also murdered. Nay, even this did not satisfy his revenge; but the whole city of the priests was destroyed, and many women and children were killed. One single individual escaped and fled to David; this was Abiathar, who then became the high-priest. So wickedly did Saul act after the Spirit of God had departed from him.
David still continued, after his flight, to have Jonathan for his most faithful friend; and he himself still retained towards Saul an affectionate and dutiful state of feeling; never forgetting that
Saul was his king, his father-in-law, and the father of his friend.
Shortly after the slaughter of the priests, Saul went out with three thousand men to seize David in the mountains of Judea. And it so happened, that Saul went into a cave to rest, whilst David and his men were themselves concealed in the inner part of the cave. And while Saul was asleep, David's men said to him, "Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee." And David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. Afterwards David's heart smote him because he had cut off Saul's skirt. And he said unto his men, "The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord." And David would not suffer his servants to hurt Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave and went on his way; and David also arose and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, "My lord the king! behold, this day the Lord delivered thee into mine hand in the cave and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee! and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord's anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand." Then Saul wept, and said, "Thou art more righteous than I."a So Saul was ashamed of his conduct, and went home.
But, not long after, he went out again against
a 1 Sam. xxiv. 4-17.
David, and he pitched his camp in the hill of Hachilah. Then David and Abishai came in the night into the midst of the camp, and Saul lay sleeping within a trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his bolster, and Abner and the people lay round about him. Then said Abishai to Da vid, "God hath delivered thine enemy into thine hand now, therefore, let me smite him with the spear." And David said to Abishai, 66 Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless?"
And David took the spear and the cruise of water from Saul's bolster. Then David went over to the other side, and stood on the top of the hill afar off. And he cried "Abner! Abner!" Saul's captain arose out of his sleep, and said, "Who art thou that criest to the king?" David said to him,
"Art not thou a valiant man? and who is like to
thee in Israel? wherefore then hast thou not kept thy lord the king? for there came one of the people in to destroy the king thy lord. And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruise of water that was at his bolster." And Saul knew David's voice, and he said, "Is this thy voice, my son David?" And David said, "It is my voice, my lord, O king. Wherefore doth my lord thus pursue after his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in my hand? The king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains." Then said Saul, "I have sinned; return, my son David; for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day." But David knew well that a passionate man was not to be trusted. said, "Behold the king's spear! let one of the young men come over and fetch it." So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place. b This was the last time that David and Saul saw each other. Saul did not live long after that.
39. SAUL'S DEATH.-DAVID BECOMES KING.
DAVID then went, with his six hundred men, over the boundary; for he feared that he should some day fall into Saul's hands. And Achish, the king of Gath, gave David the city of Ziklag, where he lived with his wives and children about and a half.
And the princes of the Philistines gathered their armies together to fight against Israel; and Achish said to David, "Thou shalt go with me to battle."
b 1 Sam. xxvi. 5-25.