The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
Once, Saul gave the word to Jonathan and to all his servants that they must put David to death. But Saul’s son Jonathan, who loved David well,
told him of the design; My father Saul, he said, means thy death; be on the watch tomorrow, keep apart, and hide thyself.
Out in the open fields, close to thy hiding-place, I will stand talking to my father and will speak to him of thee; and afterwards I will tell thee what I have learned.
So Jonathan pleaded David’s cause with his father Saul; Do no wrong he said, to thy servant David, that has done thee no wrong, but is much thy benefactor.
Did he not put his life in peril, that day when he slew the Philistine, and the Lord gave the whole army of Israel a great victory? Thou wast there to see it, and rejoice at it; and wilt thou bring on thyself the guilt of blood wrongfully shed, by slaying David, who is innocent of fault?
Saul listened to the plea of Jonathan, and relented; As the Lord is a living God, said he, no harm shall befall him.
So Jonathan called to David, and told him all that had passed; then he brought him back into Saul’s presence, where he remained as he had been ever wont.
And when war broke out afresh, David went into battle against the Philistines, and won a great victory, putting them to rout.
One day, Saul was sitting in his house, lance in hand, with the evil spirit upon him, divinely sent; and David was playing the harp before him.
He tried to pin David to the wall, and David escaped from his presence, while the lance stuck in the wall, baulked of its aim. That night, David fled for his life;
Saul had sent armed men to his house to make sure of him, for on the morrow he must die. But Michol, David’s wife, warned him that death awaited him next day if he did not escape then and there,
and let him down from a window. So David made good his escape that night;
meanwhile, Michol brought out a sacred image and laid it in his bed, with goat’s hair at its head, and coverlets wrapped about it;
when Saul’s pursuivants came to fetch David, they were told that he lay sick.
But now they were sent back again to find David and bring him with them, bed and all, to die in Saul’s presence;
so they found, when they came in, an image lying on the bed, with goat’s hair at the head of it.
What is this trick thou hast played on me, Saul asked, helping my enemy to escape? Why, answered Michol, he threatened to kill me if I did not let him go.
So David reached safety, and went to Ramatha to find Samuel, and tell him of Saul’s doings; and they retired, both of them, to live at the Naioth.✻
Saul, when he heard from common report that David was there at Ramatha, in the Naioth,
sent pursuivants there to seize him. But all they found was a company of prophets standing there in ecstasy, with Samuel, their leader, at their head; and with that, the spirit of the Lord fell on the pursuivants, and they were carried away in ecstasy like the rest.
When Saul heard the news, and sent fresh messengers, these too fell into ecstasy, and the like happened when he sent a third time; so, in high displeasure,
Saul took the road for Ramatha himself. When he reached the Great Well at Socho, he asked where Samuel and David were, and was told they were at the Naioth in Ramatha,
so to the Naioth in Ramatha he went; and on him, too, the spirit of the Lord fell as he journeyed. Still in ecstasy he made his way to the Naioth in Ramatha,
where he stripped off his garments and stood before Samuel in ecstasy with the rest; all that day and that night he lay on the ground naked. And so the proverb went abroad, Has Saul, too, turned prophet?
The Holy Bible