23:14 David stayed in the strongholds that were in the desert and in the hill country of the desert of Ziph. Saul looked for him all the time, 1 but God did not deliver David 2 into his hand. 23:15 David realized 3 that Saul had come out to seek his life; at that time David was in Horesh in the desert of Ziph.
23:16 Then Jonathan son of Saul left and went to David at Horesh. He encouraged him 4 through God. 23:17 He said to him, “Don’t be afraid! For the hand of my father Saul cannot find you. You will rule over Israel, and I will be your second in command. Even my father Saul realizes this.” 23:18 When the two of them had made a covenant before the Lord, David stayed on at Horesh, but Jonathan went to his house.
23:19 Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? 23:20 Now at your own discretion, 5 O king, come down. Delivering him into the king’s hand will be our responsibility.”
23:21 Saul replied, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me. 23:22 Go and make further arrangements. Determine precisely 6 where he is 7 and who has seen him there, for I am told that he is extremely cunning. 23:23 Locate precisely all the places where he hides and return to me with dependable information. 8 Then I will go with you. If he is in the land, I will find him 9 among all the thousands of Judah.”
23:24 So they left and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the desert of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. 23:25 Saul and his men went to look for him. 10 But David was informed and went down to the rock and stayed in the desert of Maon. When Saul heard about it, he pursued David in the desert of Maon. 23:26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, while David and his men went on the other side of the mountain. David was hurrying to get away from Saul, but Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men so they could capture them. 23:27 But a messenger came to Saul saying, “Come quickly, for the Philistines have raided the land!”
23:28 So Saul stopped pursuing David and went to confront the Philistines. Therefore that place is called Sela Hammahlekoth. 11 23:29 (24:1) 12 Then David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of En Gedi.
1 tn Heb “all the days.”
2 tn Heb “him”; the referent (David) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 tn Heb “saw.”
4 tn Heb “strengthened his hand.”
5 tn Heb “to all the desire of your soul.”
7 tn Heb “his place where his foot is.”
8 tn Heb “established.”
9 tn Heb “I will search him out.”
10 tn Heb “to search.”
11 sn The name הַמַּחְלְקוֹת סֶלַע (Sela Hammakhleqoth) probably means “Rock of Divisions” in Hebrew, in the sense that Saul and David parted company there (cf. NAB “Gorge of Divisions”; TEV “Separation Hill”). This etymology assumes that the word derives from the Hebrew root II חלק (khlq, “to divide”; HALOT 322 s.v. II חלק). However, there is another root I חלק, which means “to be smooth or slippery” (HALOT 322 s.v. I חלק). If the word is taken from this root, the expression would mean “Slippery Rock.”
12 sn Beginning with 23:29, the verse numbers through 24:22 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 23:29 ET = 24:1 HT, 24:1 ET = 24:2 HT, 24:2 ET = 24:3 HT, etc., through 24:22 ET = 24:23 HT. With 25:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.