I Samuel 23
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1  David was told: “The Philistines are raiding Keilah and plundering the threshing floors.”

א  וַיַּגִּדוּ לְדָוִד לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה פְלִשְׁתִּים נִלְחָמִים בִּקְעִילָה וְהֵמָּה שֹׁסִים אֶת־הַגֳּרָנוֹת׃

2  David consulted Hashem, “Shall I go and attack those Philistines?” And Hashem said to David, “Go; attack the Philistines and you will save Keilah.”

ב  וַיִּשְׁאַל דָּוִד בַּיהֹוָה לֵאמֹר הַאֵלֵךְ וְהִכֵּיתִי בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּים הָאֵלֶּה וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־דָּוִד לֵךְ וְהִכִּיתָ בַפְּלִשְׁתִּים וְהוֹשַׁעְתָּ אֶת־קְעִילָה׃

3  But David‘s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Yehuda, how much more if we go to Keilah against the forces of the Philistines!”

ג  וַיֹּאמְרוּ אַנְשֵׁי דָוִד אֵלָיו הִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ פֹה בִּיהוּדָה יְרֵאִים וְאַף כִּי־נֵלֵךְ קְעִלָה אֶל־מַעַרְכוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים׃

4  So David consulted Hashem again, and Hashem answered him, “March down at once to Keilah, for I am going to deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

ד  וַיּוֹסֶף עוֹד דָּוִד לִשְׁאֹל בַּיהֹוָה וַיַּעֲנֵהוּ יְהֹוָה וַיֹּאמֶר קוּם רֵד קְעִילָה כִּי־אֲנִי נֹתֵן אֶת־פְּלִשְׁתִּים בְּיָדֶךָ׃

5  David and his men went to Keilah and fought against the Philistines; he drove off their cattle and inflicted a severe defeat on them. Thus David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

ה  וַיֵּלֶךְ דָּוִד ואנשו [וַאֲנָשָׁיו] קְעִילָה וַיִּלָּחֶם בַּפְּלִשְׁתִּים וַיִּנְהַג אֶת־מִקְנֵיהֶם וַיַּךְ בָּהֶם מַכָּה גְדוֹלָה וַיֹּשַׁע דָּוִד אֵת יֹשְׁבֵי קְעִילָה׃

6  When Evyatar son of Achimelech fled to David at Keilah, he brought down an ephod with him.

ו  וַיְהִי בִּבְרֹחַ אֶבְיָתָר בֶּן־אֲחִימֶלֶךְ אֶל־דָּוִד קְעִילָה אֵפוֹד יָרַד בְּיָדוֹ׃

7  Shaul was told that David had come to Keilah, and Shaul thought, “Hashem has delivered him into my hands, for he has shut himself in by entering a town with gates and bars.”

ז  וַיֻּגַּד לְשָׁאוּל כִּי־בָא דָוִד קְעִילָה וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל נִכַּר אֹתוֹ אֱלֹהִים בְּיָדִי כִּי נִסְגַּר לָבוֹא בְּעִיר דְּלָתַיִם וּבְרִיחַ׃

8  Shaul summoned all the troops for war, to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men.

ח  וַיְשַׁמַּע שָׁאוּל אֶת־כָּל־הָעָם לַמִּלְחָמָה לָרֶדֶת קְעִילָה לָצוּר אֶל־דָּוִד וְאֶל־אֲנָשָׁיו׃

9  When David learned that Shaul was planning to harm him, he told the Kohen Evyatar to bring the ephod forward.

ט  וַיֵּדַע דָּוִד כִּי עָלָיו שָׁאוּל מַחֲרִישׁ הָרָעָה וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־אֶבְיָתָר הַכֹּהֵן הַגִּישָׁה הָאֵפוֹד׃

10  And David said, “Hashem, God of Yisrael, Your servant has heard that Shaul intends to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me.

י  וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שָׁמֹעַ שָׁמַע עַבְדְּךָ כִּי־מְבַקֵּשׁ שָׁאוּל לָבוֹא אֶל־קְעִילָה לְשַׁחֵת לָעִיר בַּעֲבוּרִי׃

11  Will the citizens of Keilah deliver me into his hands? Will Shaul come down, as Your servant has heard? Hashem, God of Yisrael, tell Your servant!” And Hashem said, “He will.”

יא  הֲיַסְגִּרֻנִי בַעֲלֵי קְעִילָה בְיָדוֹ הֲיֵרֵד שָׁאוּל כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע עַבְדֶּךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַגֶּד־נָא לְעַבְדֶּךָ וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה יֵרֵד׃

12  David continued, “Will the citizens of Keilah deliver me and my men into Shaul‘s hands?” And Hashem answered, “They will.”

יב  וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד הֲיַסְגִּרוּ בַּעֲלֵי קְעִילָה אֹתִי וְאֶת־אֲנָשַׁי בְּיַד־שָׁאוּל וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה יַסְגִּירוּ׃

13  So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah at once and moved about wherever they could. And when Shaul was told that David had got away from Keilah, he did not set out.

יג  וַיָּקָם דָּוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו כְּשֵׁשׁ־מֵאוֹת אִישׁ וַיֵּצְאוּ מִקְּעִלָה וַיִּתְהַלְּכוּ בַּאֲשֶׁר יִתְהַלָּכוּ וּלְשָׁאוּל הֻגַּד כִּי־נִמְלַט דָּוִד מִקְּעִילָה וַיֶּחְדַּל לָצֵאת׃

14  David was staying in the strongholds of the wilderness [of Yehuda]; he stayed in the hill country, in the wilderness of Ziph. Shaul searched for him constantly, but Hashem did not deliver him into his hands.

יד  וַיֵּשֶׁב דָּוִד בַּמִּדְבָּר בַּמְּצָדוֹת וַיֵּשֶׁב בָּהָר בְּמִדְבַּר־זִיף וַיְבַקְשֵׁהוּ שָׁאוּל כָּל־הַיָּמִים וְלֹא־נְתָנוֹ אֱלֹהִים בְּיָדוֹ׃

15  David was once at Horesh in the wilderness of Ziph, when David learned that Shaul had come out to seek his life.

טו  וַיַּרְא דָוִד כִּי־יָצָא שָׁאוּל לְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ וְדָוִד בְּמִדְבַּר־זִיף בַּחֹרְשָׁה׃

16  And Shaul‘s son Yehonatan came to David at Horesh and encouraged him in [the name of] Hashem.

טז  וַיָּקָם יְהוֹנָתָן בֶּן־שָׁאוּל וַיֵּלֶךְ אֶל־דָּוִד חֹרְשָׁה וַיְחַזֵּק אֶת־יָדוֹ בֵּאלֹהִים׃

17  He said to him, “Do not be afraid: the hand of my father Shaul will never touch you. You are going to be king over Yisrael and I shall be second to you; and even my father Shaul knows this is so.”

va-YO-mer ay-LAV al tee-RA KEE LO tim-tza-a-KHA yad sha-UL a-VEE v’-a-TAH tim-LOKH al yis-ra-AYL v’-a-no-KHEE eh-yeh l’-KHA l’-mish-NEH v’-GAM sha-UL a-VEE yo-DAY-a KAYN

יז  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַל־תִּירָא כִּי לֹא תִמְצָאֲךָ יַד שָׁאוּל אָבִי וְאַתָּה תִּמְלֹךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה־לְּךָ לְמִשְׁנֶה וְגַם־שָׁאוּל אָבִי יֹדֵעַ כֵּן׃

23:17   Do not be afraid: the hand of my father Shaul will never touch you

This verse again demonstrates Yehonatan’s selflessness and love for David. Despite his awareness that the consequence of David becoming king is that he will not succeed his father on the throne, Yehonatan recognizes that Hashem has designated his beloved friend David as the next king of Israel. Displaying great admiration for his friend and sacrifice for the sake of the nation as well as for David, Yehonatan expresses his desire to serve under David. Yehonatan is a powerful and inspiring model, not only of an elevated level of friendship, but also of an individual willing to make any sacrifice necessary to advance the will of God and the wellbeing of Israel.

 Comment

18  And the two of them entered into a pact before Hashem. David remained in Horesh, and Yehonatan went home.

יח  וַיִּכְרְתוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּרִית לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה וַיֵּשֶׁב דָּוִד בַּחֹרְשָׁה וִיהוֹנָתָן הָלַךְ לְבֵיתוֹ׃

19  Some Ziphites went up to Shaul in Giva and said, “David is hiding among us in the strongholds of Horesh, at the hill of Hachilah south of Jeshimon.

יט  וַיַּעֲלוּ זִפִים אֶל־שָׁאוּל הַגִּבְעָתָה לֵאמֹר הֲלוֹא דָוִד מִסְתַּתֵּר עִמָּנוּ בַמְּצָדוֹת בַּחֹרְשָׁה בְּגִבְעַת הַחֲכִילָה אֲשֶׁר מִימִין הַיְשִׁימוֹן׃

20  So if Your Majesty has the desire to come down, come down, and it will be our task to deliver him into Your Majesty’s hands.”

כ  וְעַתָּה לְכָל־אַוַּת נַפְשְׁךָ הַמֶּלֶךְ לָרֶדֶת רֵד וְלָנוּ הַסְגִּירוֹ בְּיַד הַמֶּלֶךְ׃

21  And Shaul replied, “May you be blessed of Hashem for the compassion you have shown me!

כא  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל בְּרוּכִים אַתֶּם לַיהֹוָה כִּי חֲמַלְתֶּם עָלָי׃

22  Go now and prepare further. Look around and learn what places he sets foot on [and] who has seen him there, for I have been told he is a very cunning fellow.

כב  לְכוּ־נָא הָכִינוּ עוֹד וּדְעוּ וּרְאוּ אֶת־מְקוֹמוֹ אֲשֶׁר תִּהְיֶה רַגְלוֹ מִי רָאָהוּ שָׁם כִּי אָמַר אֵלַי עָרוֹם יַעְרִם הוּא׃

23  Look around and learn in which of all his hiding places he has been hiding, and return to me when you are certain. I will then go with you, and if he is in the region, I will search him out among all the clans of Yehuda.”

כג  וּרְאוּ וּדְעוּ מִכֹּל הַמַּחֲבֹאִים אֲשֶׁר יִתְחַבֵּא שָׁם וְשַׁבְתֶּם אֵלַי אֶל־נָכוֹן וְהָלַכְתִּי אִתְּכֶם וְהָיָה אִם־יֶשְׁנוֹ בָאָרֶץ וְחִפַּשְׂתִּי אֹתוֹ בְּכֹל אַלְפֵי יְהוּדָה׃

24  They left at once for Ziph, ahead of Shaul; David and his men were then in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah, to the south of Jeshimon.

כד  וַיָּקוּמוּ וַיֵּלְכוּ זִיפָה לִפְנֵי שָׁאוּל וְדָוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו בְּמִדְבַּר מָעוֹן בָּעֲרָבָה אֶל יְמִין הַיְשִׁימוֹן׃

25  When Shaul and his men came to search, David was told about it; and he went down to the rocky region and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. On hearing this, Shaul pursued David in the wilderness of Maon.

כה  וַיֵּלֶךְ שָׁאוּל וַאֲנָשָׁיו לְבַקֵּשׁ וַיַּגִּדוּ לְדָוִד וַיֵּרֶד הַסֶּלַע וַיֵּשֶׁב בְּמִדְבַּר מָעוֹן וַיִּשְׁמַע שָׁאוּל וַיִּרְדֹּף אַחֲרֵי־דָוִד מִדְבַּר מָעוֹן׃

26  Shaul was making his way along one side of a hill, and David and his men were on the other side of the hill. David was trying hard to elude Shaul, and Shaul and his men were trying to encircle David and his men and capture them,

כו  וַיֵּלֶךְ שָׁאוּל מִצַּד הָהָר מִזֶּה וְדָוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו מִצַּד הָהָר מִזֶּה וַיְהִי דָוִד נֶחְפָּז לָלֶכֶת מִפְּנֵי שָׁאוּל וְשָׁאוּל וַאֲנָשָׁיו עֹטְרִים אֶל־דָּוִד וְאֶל־אֲנָשָׁיו לְתָפְשָׂם׃

27  when a messenger came and told Shaul, “Come quickly, for the Philistines have invaded the land.”

כז  וּמַלְאָךְ בָּא אֶל־שָׁאוּל לֵאמֹר מַהֲרָה וְלֵכָה כִּי־פָשְׁטוּ פְלִשְׁתִּים עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃

28  Shaul gave up his pursuit of David and went to meet the Philistines. That is why that place came to be called the Rock of Separation.

כח  וַיָּשָׁב שָׁאוּל מִרְדֹף אַחֲרֵי דָוִד וַיֵּלֶךְ לִקְרַאת פְּלִשְׁתִּים עַל־כֵּן קָרְאוּ לַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא סֶלַע הַמַּחְלְקוֹת׃

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I Samuel 23

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