I WILL NOT RAISE MY HAND AGAINST HIM, FOR HE IS THE ANOINTED OF THE LORD.
Saul took three thousand men chosen from the whole of Israel and went in search of David and his men east of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheep-folds along the route where there was a cave, and went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were sitting in the recess of the cave; David’s men said to him, “Today is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘I will deliver your enemy into your power, do what you like with him.’ David stood up and, unobserved, cut off the border of Saul’s cloak. Afterwards David reproached himself for having cut off the border of Saul’s cloak. He said to his men, “The Lord preserve me from doing such a thing to my lord and raising my hand against him, for he is the anointed of the Lord.” David gave his men strict instructions, forbidding them to attack Saul.
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 bowed to the ground and did homage. Then David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the men who say to you, ‘David means to harm you’? Why, your own eyes have seen today how the Lord put you in my power in the cave and how I refused to kill you, but spared you. ‘I will not raise my hand against my lord,’ I said, ‘for he is the anointed of the Lord.’ O my father, see, look at the border of your cloak in my hand. Since I cut off the border of your cloak, yet did not kill you, you must acknowledge frankly that there is neither malice nor treason in my mind. I have not offended against you, yet you hunt me down to take my life. May the Lord judge between me and you, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be laid on you. (As the old proverb says: Wickedness goes out from the wicked, and my hand will not be laid on you.) On whose trail has the king of Israel set out? On whose trail are you in hot pursuit? On the trail of a dead dog! On the trail of a single flea! May the Lord be the judge and decide between me and you; may he take up my cause and defend it and give judgement for me, freeing me from your power.”
When David had finished saying these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” And Saul wept aloud. “You are more upright than I,” he said to David, “for you have repaid me with good while I have repaid you with evil. Today you have crowned your goodness towards me since the Lord had put me in your power yet you did not kill me. When a man comes on his enemy, does he let him go unmolested? May the Lord reward you for the goodness you have shown me today. Now I know you will indeed reign and that the sovereignty in Israel will be secure in your hands.”
V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.