A SOLDIER WHO SPARED HIS ENEMY 99
"Go, attack the Philistines and save Keilah." But David's men said to him, "See, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more will we be if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?" When David again inquired of Jehovah, Jehovah answered him, "Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand." So David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and drove away their cattle and killed a great many of them. In this way David delivered the people of Keilah.
Now when Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, fled to David in Keilah, he came down with the priestly robe used in consulting Jehovah in his hand. And when Saul was told that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, "God has given him into my power, for by entering a town that has doors and bars he has let himself be trapped."
So Saul called all the people to arms to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. But when David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him, he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring here the priestly robe." Then David said, "0 Jehovah, the God of Israel, thy servant has surely heard that Saul is planning to come to Keilah, to destroy the town because of me. Will Saul come down, as thy servant has heard ? 0 Jehovah, God of Israel, tell thy servant." Jehovah said, "He will come down." Then David said, "Will the men of Keilah turn me and my men over to Saul?" Jehovah said, "They will." Then David and his men, who were about six hundred, left Keilah, and wandered from one place to another. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he no longer followed him. So David lived in the Wilderness of Ziph and stayed in the mountain strongholds.
Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, "Is not David hiding in the hill country of Hachilah?" So Saul went down to the Wilderness of Ziph with three thousand men of Israel to hunt for David. And Saul camped in the hill country of Hachilah; but David stayed in the wilderness. When David saw that Saul was following him into the wilderness, he sent out scouts and learned that Saul had come to the place just in front of him. David then arose and went to the place where Saul had camped. And he saw the place where Saul lay, with Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; and Saul was within the barricade, and the people were camped about him.
Then David turned to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and said, "Who will go down with