I - Chapter 24

1David went from there and stayed in the wildernesses of Ein Gedi.

אוַיַּעַל דָּוִד מִשָּׁם וַיֵּשֶׁב בִּמְצָדוֹת עֵין־גֶּדִי׃

2When Shaul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told that David was in the wilderness of Ein Gedi.

בוַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁב שָׁאוּל מֵאַחֲרֵי פְּלִשְׁתִּים וַיַּגִּדוּ לוֹ לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה דָוִד בְּמִדְבַּר עֵין גֶּדִי׃

3So Shaul took three thousand picked men from all Yisrael and went in search of David and his men in the direction of the rocks of the wild goats;

גוַיִּקַּח שָׁאוּל שְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ בָּחוּר מִכָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּלֶךְ לְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת־דָּוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו עַל־פְּנֵי צוּרֵי הַיְּעֵלִים׃

4and he came to the sheepfolds along the way. There was a cave there, and Shaul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the back of the cave.

דוַיָּבֹא אֶל־גִּדְרוֹת הַצֹּאן עַל־הַדֶּרֶךְ וְשָׁם מְעָרָה וַיָּבֹא שָׁאוּל לְהָסֵךְ אֶת־רַגְלָיו וְדָוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו בְּיַרְכְּתֵי הַמְּעָרָה יֹשְׁבִים׃

5David's men said to him, “This is the day of which Hashem said to you, ‘I will deliver your enemy into your hands; you can do with him as you please.'” David went and stealthily cut off the corner of Shaul's cloak.

הוַיֹּאמְרוּ אַנְשֵׁי דָוִד אֵלָיו הִנֵּה הַיּוֹם אֲ‍שֶׁר־אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֵלֶיךָ הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן אֶת־איביך [אֹיִבְךָ] בְּיָדֶךָ וְעָשִׂיתָ לּוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר יִטַב בְּעֵינֶיךָ וַיָּקָם דָּוִד וַיִּכְרֹת אֶת־כְּנַף־הַמְּעִיל אֲשֶׁר־לְשָׁאוּל בַּלָּט׃

6But afterward David reproached himself for cutting off the corner of Shaul's cloak.

ווַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי־כֵן וַיַּךְ לֵב־דָּוִד אֹתוֹ עַל אֲשֶׁר כָּרַת אֶת־כָּנָף אֲשֶׁר לְשָׁאוּל׃

7He said to his men, “Hashem forbid that I should do such a thing to my lord—Hashem's anointed—that I should raise my hand against him; for he is Hashem's anointed.”

va-YO-mer l'-a-na-SHAV kha-LEE-lah LEE may-a-do-NAI im e-e-SEH et ha-da-VAR ha-ZEH la-do-NEE lim-SHEE-akh a-do-NAI lish-LO-akh ya-DEE BO kee m'-SHEE-akh a-do-NAI HU

זוַיֹּאמֶר לַאֲנָשָׁיו חָלִילָה לִּי מֵיהֹוָה אִם־אֶעֱשֶׂה אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה לַאדֹנִי לִמְשִׁיחַ יְהֹוָה לִשְׁלֹחַ יָדִי בּוֹ כִּי־מְשִׁיחַ יְהֹוָה הוּא׃

24:7   Hashem forbid that I

Though David could have legitimately killed King Shaul in self-defense, he merely cuts his royal cloak, and refrains from harming him physically. However, despite this extreme restraint, after the fact David greatly regrets his act, feeling that he has shown disrespect to the king of Israel. Despite everything Shaul had done to him, David honors King Shaul and his position as the anointed king of Israel. This esteem continues until the very end, expressed in the beautiful eulogy he delivers for Shaul after his death (see II Samuel 1:17-27).  The leaders of the nation must be respected by all, as they are chosen by Hashem and charged with the responsibility of leading His people and guiding them in their holy mission. David has the strength and wisdom to understand this, even while being pursued by the king whose throne he would later inherit.

8David rebuked his men and did not permit them to attack Shaul. Shaul left the cave and started on his way.

חוַיְשַׁסַּע דָּוִד אֶת־אֲנָשָׁיו בַּדְּבָרִים וְלֹא נְתָנָם לָקוּם אֶל־שָׁאוּל וְשָׁאוּל קָם מֵהַמְּעָרָה וַיֵּלֶךְ בַּדָּרֶךְ׃

9Then David also went out of the cave and called after Shaul, “My lord king!” Shaul looked around and David bowed low in homage, with his face to the ground.

טוַיָּקָם דָּוִד אַחֲרֵי־כֵן וַיֵּצֵא מן־המערה [מֵהַמְּעָרָה] וַיִּקְרָא אַחֲרֵי־שָׁאוּל לֵאמֹר אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיַּבֵּט שָׁאוּל אַחֲרָיו וַיִּקֹּד דָּוִד אַפַּיִם אַרְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ׃

10And David said to Shaul, “Why do you listen to the people who say, ‘David is out to do you harm?'

יוַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד לְשָׁאוּל לָמָּה תִשְׁמַע אֶת־דִּבְרֵי אָדָם לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה דָוִד מְבַקֵּשׁ רָעָתֶךָ׃

11You can see for yourself now that Hashem delivered you into my hands in the cave today. And though I was urged to kill you, I showed you pity; for I said, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord, since he is Hashem's anointed.'

יאהִנֵּה הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־נְתָנְךָ יְהֹוָה הַיּוֹם בְּיָדִי בַּמְּעָרָה וְאָמַר לַהֲרָגֲךָ וַתָּחָס עָלֶיךָ וָאֹמַר לֹא־אֶשְׁלַח יָדִי בַּאדֹנִי כִּי־מְשִׁיחַ יְהֹוָה הוּא׃

12Please, sir, take a close look at the corner of your cloak in my hand; for when I cut off the corner of your cloak, I did not kill you. You must see plainly that I have done nothing evil or rebellious, and I have never wronged you. Yet you are bent on taking my life.

יבוְאָבִי רְאֵה גַּם רְאֵה אֶת־כְּנַף מְעִילְךָ בְּיָדִי כִּי בְּכָרְתִי אֶת־כְּנַף מְעִילְךָ וְלֹא הֲרַגְתִּיךָ דַּע וּרְאֵה כִּי אֵין בְּיָדִי רָעָה וָפֶשַׁע וְלֹא־חָטָאתִי לָךְ וְאַתָּה צֹדֶה אֶת־נַפְשִׁי לְקַחְתָּהּ׃

13May Hashem judge between you and me! And may He take vengeance upon you for me, but my hand will never touch you.

יגיִשְׁפֹּט יְהֹוָה בֵּינִי וּבֵינֶךָ וּנְקָמַנִי יְהֹוָה מִמֶּךָּ וְיָדִי לֹא תִהְיֶה־בָּךְ׃

14As the ancient proverb has it: ‘Wicked deeds come from wicked men!' My hand will never touch you.

ידכַּאֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר מְשַׁל הַקַּדְמֹנִי מֵרְשָׁעִים יֵצֵא רֶשַׁע וְיָדִי לֹא תִהְיֶה־בָּךְ׃

15Against whom has the king of Yisrael come out? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog? A single flea?

טואַחֲרֵי מִי יָצָא מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל אַחֲרֵי מִי אַתָּה רֹדֵף אַחֲרֵי כֶּלֶב מֵת אַחֲרֵי פַּרְעֹשׁ אֶחָד׃

16May Hashem be arbiter and may He judge between you and me! May He take note and uphold my cause, and vindicate me against you.”

טזוְהָיָה יְהֹוָה לְדַיָּן וְשָׁפַט בֵּינִי וּבֵינֶךָ וְיֵרֶא וְיָרֵב אֶת־רִיבִי וְיִשְׁפְּטֵנִי מִיָּדֶךָ׃

17When David finished saying these things to Shaul, Shaul said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” And Shaul broke down and wept.

יזוַיְהִי כְּכַלּוֹת דָּוִד לְדַבֵּר אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה אֶל־שָׁאוּל וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל הֲקֹלְךָ זֶה בְּנִי דָוִד וַיִּשָּׂא שָׁאוּל קֹלוֹ וַיֵּבְךְּ׃

18He said to David, “You are right, not I; for you have treated me generously, but I have treated you badly.

יחוַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־דָּוִד צַדִּיק אַתָּה מִמֶּנִּי כִּי אַתָּה גְּמַלְתַּנִי הַטּוֹבָה וַאֲנִי גְּמַלְתִּיךָ הָרָעָה׃

19Yes, you have just revealed how generously you treated me, for Hashem delivered me into your hands and you did not kill me.

יטואת [וְאַתָּה] הִגַּדְתָּ הַיּוֹם אֵת אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂיתָה אִתִּי טוֹבָה אֵת אֲשֶׁר סִגְּרַנִי יְהֹוָה בְּיָדְךָ וְלֹא הֲרַגְתָּנִי׃

20If a man meets his enemy, does he let him go his way unharmed? Surely, Hashem will reward you generously for what you have done for me this day.

כוְכִי־יִמְצָא אִישׁ אֶת־אֹיְבוֹ וְשִׁלְּחוֹ בְּדֶרֶךְ טוֹבָה וַיהֹוָה יְשַׁלֶּמְךָ טוֹבָה תַּחַת הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָה לִי׃

21I know now that you will become king, and that the kingship over Yisrael will remain in your hands.

כאוְעַתָּה הִנֵּה יָדַעְתִּי כִּי מָלֹךְ תִּמְלוֹךְ וְקָמָה בְּיָדְךָ מַמְלֶכֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

22So swear to me by Hashem that you will not destroy my descendants or wipe out my name from my father's house.”

כבוְעַתָּה הִשָּׁבְעָה לִּי בַּיהֹוָה אִם־תַּכְרִית אֶת־זַרְעִי אַחֲרָי וְאִם־תַּשְׁמִיד אֶת־שְׁמִי מִבֵּית אָבִי׃

23David swore to Shaul, Shaul went home, and David and his men went up to the strongholds.

כגוַיִּשָּׁבַע דָּוִד לְשָׁאוּל וַיֵּלֶךְ שָׁאוּל אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ וְדָוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו עָלוּ עַל־הַמְּצוּדָה׃