SAUL continued to pursue David for years, trying to take his life, although David had never done him any harm. He took three thousand soldiers with him, and hunted David in mountains, in caves, and in every place where he fled. 

Finally, David was obliged to go and dwell with the Philistines.

At different times, David had Saul in his power, and could easily have killed him; but he would not lift up his hand against the Lord's anointed. At one time, Saul came into a cave where David and his men were hidden; at another time, David found him asleep in a valley; for the Lord had caused a deep sleep to come upon him and his soldiers; in the cave, David cut off the skirt of Saul's garment; and in the valley, he took a cruse of water from under his head, and a spear that stood by; yet he would not harm the king.

At one time, David and his men were without food, and the priests at Nob gave them showbread from the tabernacle. When Saul heard of this, he had eighty-five of the priests slain, because they had helped David by giving him something to eat.

Finally, Saul was greatly troubled, for the Philistines came up with an army to make war, and when he sought counsel of the Lord, he could get no answer; so he sought counsel of a woman that was called a witch, but he found no comfort, for he was told that he and his sons should die. This proved true; for the next day they went out to battle, and were slain.

When David heard of the death of Saul and Jonathan, he mourned greatly. It was natural that he should mourn for Jonathan, his dearest friend; but Saul had been his bitterest enemy, and no one expected David to mourn for him. 

Although David was much in war, he was always kind to a conquered enemy, and now he seemed to forget Saul's cruelty, and to remember only his courage and goodness.  Soon after this, the Lord told David to go up to Hebron, and there the tribe of Judah assembled, and made him their king; but Abner, a mighty man of war, who had been captain of Saul's host, made Ishbosheth king over the other tribes. Ishbosheth was the son of Saul, and he and Abner made war with David for a long time. At last, Abner became angry with Ishbosheth, and tried to have all the tribes take David for their king. About this time, Ishbosheth was killed by two of his own servants, and David, at the request of the people, became king over the whole land. At the command of David, the men who had killed Ishbosheth were put to death.