1 Sam 18:1-30 David is promoted to a high-ranking position in Saul’s army, and becomes a close friend of Saul’s son Jonathan. He is given the hand of the king’s daughter Michal as a reward for killing two hundred Philistines.
However, Saul soon becomes jealous of David and plots to kill him.
1 Sam 19:1-18 Saul sends his men to kill David, but David escapes from Gibeah and flees to Samuel at Ramah (see 4 on Map 55). Saul pursues David, but is prevented by God from harming him.
1 Sam 20:1-42 David appeals to the king’s son, Jonathan; but Jonathan warns David of Saul's intent to kill him.
1 Sam 21:1-15 David flees to the sanctuary at Nob, where he seeks out the priest for some food (see 5 on Map 55). As there is no ordinary bread available, Ahimelech gives David and his men the consecrated ‘shewbread’ to eat. (The ‘shewbread’ was a permanent display of twelve loaves, showing God’s bountiful provision of the staple food of the Israelites.) David seeks refuge with the Philistine king of Gath.
Adullam, where David hid from Saul (Davidbena)
1 Sam 22:1-23 David is forced to escape to the cave at Adullam, above the Elah Valley, before appealing for protection for his family to the king of Moab (see 6 on Map 55). David then hides from Saul in the Forest of Hereth. Meanwhile, Saul kills Ahimelech and the priests of Nob for aiding and abetting David.
1 Sam 23:1-23 David defeats the Philistines at Keilah then escapes and hides from Saul at Horesh, near Ziph in the Judaean wilderness (see 7 on Map 55).
1 Sam 23:24-29 Saul pursues David to the Desert of Maon (Paran) but is forced to leave in order to fight the Philistines (see 8 on Map 55). The place is called Sela Hammahlekoth (meaning ‘rock of parting’).
1 Sam 24:1-2 David hides in the caves at En Gedi (meaning the ‘spring of the goats’) near the Wild Goat Crags – in the desert overlooking the Dead Sea (see 9 on Map 55).
Wild Goat Crags and the springs at En Gedi
Today, the 'spring of the goats' at En Gedi still flows strong, providing cool, clear water at the foot of the Judaean Hills bordering the western shoreline of the Dead Sea. In David’s day, spring water was essential for David’s men to survive as the salty water of the Dead Sea was totally undrinkable.
The Dead Sea lies on the floor of the Jordan Valley. At 1378 feet / 420 metres below sea level, it is the lowest point on earth. The water in the Dead Sea is very salty because rivers, such as the River Jordan, carry dissolved salts into the sea but there is no outlet. Consequently, as the water evaporates due to the high temperatures, whatever remains becomes exceptionally salty.
Today, tourists visiting the kibbutz at En Gedi not only bathe in the salt waters of the Dead Sea, but also swim in a large freshwater swimming pool filled with water from the nearby springs at En Gedi.
On the opposite side of the main road, visitors can explore the remains of a Canaanite temple, a Byzantine flourmill and a 5th century Jewish synagogue. The synagogue contains a beautiful mosaic floor depicting the signs of the Zodiac as well as images of the Jewish patriarchs.
1 Sam 24:3-22 David spares Saul's life when he enters the cave where David is hiding and relieves himself. Saul is overcome with tears when David shows him the corner of the king’s robe that he cut off when he could easily have killed him.