2 And Saul proceeded to take three thousand chosen men+ out of all Israel and to go looking for David+ and his men upon the bare rocks of the mountain goats.+ 3 At length he came to the stone sheepfolds along the road, where a cave was. So Saul came in to ease nature,*+ while David and his men were in the parts of the cave+ farthest back, sitting down. 4 And David’s men began to say to him: “Here is the day on which Jehovah does say to you, ‘Look! I am giving your enemy into your hand,+ and you must do to him just as it may seem good in your eyes.’”+ So David rose up and quietly cut off the skirt of the sleeveless coat that belonged to Saul. 5 But it came about afterward that David’s heart kept striking+ him for the reason that he had cut off the skirt [of the sleeveless coat]* that belonged to Saul. 6 Hence he said to his men: “It is unthinkable, on my part, from Jehovah’s standpoint, that I should do this thing to my lord, the anointed*+ of Jehovah, by thrusting out my hand against him, for he is the anointed of Jehovah.”+ 7 Accordingly David dispersed his men with these words, and he did not allow them to rise up against Saul.+ As for Saul, he rose up from the cave and kept going on his way.
8 So David rose up afterward and went out from the cave and called out after Saul, saying: “My lord+ the king!” At this Saul looked behind him, and David proceeded to bow low with his face to the earth+ and prostrate himself. 9 And David went on to say to Saul: “Why do you listen to the words of man,+ saying, ‘Look! David is seeking your hurt’? 10 Here this day your eyes have seen how Jehovah gave you today into my hand in the cave; and someone said to kill+ you, but I felt sorry for you and said, ‘I shall not thrust out my hand against my lord, for he is the anointed+ of Jehovah.’ 11 And, my father,+ see, yes, see the skirt of your sleeveless coat in my hand, for when I cut off the skirt of your sleeveless coat I did not kill you. Know and see that there is no badness+ or revolt in my hand, and I have not sinned against you, while you are lying in wait for my soul to take it away.+ 12 May Jehovah judge between me and you;+ and Jehovah must take vengeance+ for me from you, but my own hand will not come to be upon you.+ 13 Just as the proverb of the ancients says, ‘From the wicked ones wickedness will go forth,’+ but my own hand will not come to be upon you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel gone out? After whom are you chasing? After a dead dog?+ After a single flea?+ 15 And Jehovah must become judge, and he must judge between me and you, and he will see and he will conduct the legal case+ for me and judge me [to free me] from your hand.”
16 And it came about that, at the moment that David finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul proceeded to say: “Is this your voice, my son David?”+ And Saul began to raise his own voice and weep.+ 17 And he went on to say to David: “You are more righteous than I am,+ for it is you who have rendered me good,+ and it is I who have rendered you evil. 18 And you—you have told today what good you have done in connection with me in that Jehovah surrendered me into your hand+ and you did not kill me. 19 Now in the case where a man finds his enemy, will he send him away on a good road?+ So Jehovah himself will reward you with good,+ due to the fact that this day you have done it to me. 20 And now, look! I well know that you will, without fail, rule as king,+ and that in your hand the kingdom of Israel will certainly endure. 21 So now do swear to me by Jehovah+ that you will not cut off my seed after me and that you will not annihilate my name out of the house of my father.”+ 22 Accordingly David swore to Saul, after which Saul went to his home.+ As for David and his men, they went up to the place difficult to approach.+