1 David thought to himself, “One of these days I’m going to be swept away by the hand of Saul! There is nothing better for me than to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of searching for me through all the territory of Israel and I will escape from his hand.”
2 So David left and crossed over to King Achish son of Maoch of Gath accompanied by his six hundred men. 3 David settled with Achish in Gath, along with his men and their families. David had with him his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the Carmelite, Nabal’s widow. 4 When Saul learned that David had fled to Gath, he did not mount a new search for him.
5 David said to Achish, “If I have found favor with you, let me be given a place in one of the country towns so that I can live there. Why should your servant settle in the royal city with you?” 6 So Achish gave him Ziklag on that day. (For that reason Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah until this very day.) 7 The length of time that David lived in the Philistine countryside was a year and four months.
8 Then David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. (They had been living in that land for a long time, from the approach to Shur as far as the land of Egypt.) 9 When David would attack a district, he would leave neither man nor woman alive. He would take sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing and would then go back to Achish. 10 When Achish would ask, “Where did you raid today?” David would say, “The Negev of Judah” or “The Negev of Jeharmeel” or “The Negev of the Kenites.” 11 Neither man nor woman would David leave alive so as to bring them back to Gath. He was thinking, “This way they can’t tell on us, saying, ‘This is what David did.’ ” Such was his practice the entire time that he lived in the country of the Philistines. 12 So Achish trusted David, thinking to himself, “He is really hated among his own people in Israel! From now on he will be my servant.”