1. From there David went up and installed himself in the strongholds of En-Gedi.
2. Once Saul was back from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, 'David is now in the desert of En-Gedi.'
3. Saul thereupon took three thousand men selected from all Israel and went in search of David and his men east of the Rocks of the Mountain Goats.
4. He came to the sheepfolds along the route, where there was a cave, and went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were sitting in the recesses of the cave;
5. David's men said to him, 'Today is the day of which Yahweh said to you, "I shall deliver your enemy into your power; do what you like with him." ' David got up and, unobserved, cut off the border of Saul's cloak.
6. Afterwards David reproached himself for having cut off the border of Saul's cloak.
7. He said to his men, 'Yahweh preserve me from doing such a thing to my lord as to raise my hand against him, since he is Yahweh's anointed.'
8. By these words David restrained his men and would not let them attack Saul.
9. Saul then left the cave and went on his way. After this, David too left the cave and called after Saul, 'My lord king!' Saul looked behind him and David, bowing to the ground, prostrated himself.
10. David then said to Saul, 'Why do you listen to people who say, "David intends your ruin"?
11. This very day you have seen for yourself how Yahweh put you in my power in the cave and how, refusing to kill you, I spared you saying, "I will not raise my hand against my lord, since he is Yahweh's anointed."
12. Look, father, look at the border of your cloak in my hand. Since, although I cut the border off your cloak, I did not kill you, surely you realise that I intend neither mischief nor crime. I have not wronged you, and yet you hunt me down to take my life.
13. May Yahweh be judge between me and you, and may Yahweh avenge me on you; but I shall never lay a hand on you!
14. (As the old proverb says: Wickedness comes out of wicked people, but I shall never lay a hand on you!)
15. On whose trail is the king of Israel campaigning? Whom are you pursuing? On the trail of a dead dog, of a flea!
16. May Yahweh be the judge and decide between me and you; may he examine and defend my cause and give judgement for me by rescuing me from your clutches!'
17. When David had finished saying this to Saul, Saul said, 'Is that your voice, my son David?' And Saul began to weep aloud.
18. 'You are upright and I am not,' he said to David, 'since you have behaved well to me, whereas I have behaved badly to you.
19. And today you have shown how well you have behaved to me, since Yahweh had put me in your power but you did not kill me.
20. When a man comes on his enemy, does he let him go unmolested? May Yahweh reward you for the good you have done me today!
21. Now I know that you will indeed reign and that the sovereignty in Israel will pass into your hands.
22. Now swear to me by Yahweh that you will not suppress my descendants once I am gone, or blot my name out of my family.'
23. This David swore to Saul, and Saul went home while David and his men went back to the stronghold.