1. News was then brought to David, 'The Philistines are besieging Keilah and plundering the threshing-floors'.
2. David consulted Yahweh, 'Shall I go and fight these Philistines?' Yahweh replied to David, 'Go and fight the Philistines and save Keilah.'
3. But David's men said to him, 'We are already afraid here in Judah; how much more, then, if we go to Keilah to fight the Philistine troops!'
4. So David consulted Yahweh again and Yahweh replied, 'Be on your way; go down to Keilah, since I shall give the Philistines into your power.'
5. So David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines and carried off their cattle and inflicted a great defeat on them. Thus David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.
6. When Abiathar son of Ahimelech took refuge with David, he went down to Keilah with the ephod in his hand.
7. When word was brought to Saul that David had gone to Keilah he said, 'God has delivered him into my power: he has trapped himself by going into a town with gates and bars.'
8. Saul called all the people to arms, to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men.
9. David, however, was aware that Saul was plotting evil against him, and said to Abiathar the priest, 'Bring the ephod.'
10. David said, 'Yahweh, God of Israel, your servant has heard that Saul is preparing to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me.
11. Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? Yahweh, God of Israel, I beg you, let your servant know.' Yahweh replied, 'He will come down.'
12. David then went on to ask, 'Will the notables of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?' Yahweh replied, 'They will hand you over.'
13. At this, David made off with his men, about six hundred in number; they left Keilah and went where they could. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he abandoned the expedition.
14. David stayed in the desert, in the strongholds; he stayed in the mountains, in the desert of Ziph; Saul kept looking for him day after day, but God did not deliver him into his power.
15. David was aware that Saul had mounted an expedition to take his life. David was then at Horesh in the desert of Ziph.
16. Jonathan son of Saul set off and went to David at Horesh and encouraged him in the name of God.
17. 'Do not be afraid,' he said, 'for my father Saul's hand will not reach you. You are to reign over Israel, and I shall be second to you. Saul my father is himself aware of this.'
18. And the two made a pact before Yahweh. David stayed at Horesh and Jonathan went home.
19. Some men from Ziph then went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, 'Look, David is hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the Hill of Hachilah to the south of the wastelands.
20. Now whenever you wish to go down, my lord king, do so; we shall make it our task to hand him over to the king.'
21. Saul replied, 'May you be blessed by Yahweh for sympathising with me.
22. Go and make doubly sure, find out exactly what place he frequents, for I have been told that he is very cunning.
23. Take careful note of all the hiding places where he lurks, and come back to me when you are certain. I shall then come with you and, if he is in the country, I shall track him down through every clan in Judah!'
24. Setting off they went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Meanwhile, David and his men were in the desert of Maon, in the plain to the south of the wastelands.
25. When Saul and his men set out in search, David was told and went down to the gorge running through the desert of Maon.
26. Saul and his men proceeded along one side of the mountain, David and his men along the other. David was hurrying to escape from Saul, while Saul and his men were trying to cross over to David and his men's side, to capture them,
27. when a messenger came to Saul and said, 'Come at once, the Philistines have invaded the country.'
28. So Saul broke off his pursuit of David and went to oppose the Philistines. That is why the place is called the Gorge of Separations.