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1 Samuel Chapter 23 | Parsha:

1David was told: “The Philistines are raiding Keilah and plundering the threshing floors.” 2David consulted the Lord, “Shall I go and attack those Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go; attack the Philistines and you will save Keilah.” 3But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah, how much more if we go to Keilah against the forces of the Philistines!” 4So David consulted the Lord again, and the Lord answered him, “March down at once to Keilah, for I am going to deliver the Philistines into your hands.” 5David 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.

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

7Saul was told that David had come to Keilah, and Saul thought, “God has delivered him into my hands, for he has shut himself in by entering a town with gates and bars.” 8Saul summoned all the troops for war, to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men. 9When David learned that Saul was planning to harm him, he told the priest Abiathar to bring the ephod forward. 10And David said, “O Lord, God of Israel, Your servant has heard that Saul intends to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me. 11Will the citizens of Keilah deliver me into his hands? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord, God of Israel, tell Your servant!” And the Lord said, “He will.” 12David continued, “Will the citizens of Keilah deliver me and my men into Saul’s hands?” And the Lord answered, “They will.” 13So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah at once and moved about wherever they could. And when Saul was told that David had got away from Keilah, he did not set out.

14David was staying in the strongholds of the wilderness [of Judah]; he stayed in the hill country, in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him constantly, but God did not deliver him into his hands. 15David was once at Horesh in the wilderness of Ziph, when David learned that Saul had come out to seek his life. 16And Saul’s son Jonathan came to David at Horesh and encouraged him in [the name of] God. 17He said to him, “Do not be afraid: the hand of my father Saul will never touch you. You are going to be king over Israel and I shall be second to you; and even my father Saul knows this is so.” 18And the two of them entered into a pact before the Lord. David remained in Horesh, and Jonathan went home.

19Some Ziphites went up to Saul in Gibeah and said, “David is hiding among us in the strongholds of Horesh, at the hill of Hachilah south of Jeshimon. 20So 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.” 21And Saul replied, “May you be blessed of the Lord for the compassion you have shown me! 22Go 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. 23Look 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 Judah.”

24They left at once for Ziph, ahead of Saul; David and his men were then in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah, to the south of Jeshimon. 25When Saul 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, Saul pursued David in the wilderness of Maon. 26Saul 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 Saul, and Saul and his men were trying to encircle David and his men and capture them, 27when a messenger came and told Saul, “Come quickly, for the Philistines have invaded the land.” 28Saul 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.

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