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David Runs For His Life*

Hebron_circa_1910. Photo: Public Domain

This post explores the Cave of Adullam, where David may have hidden from King Saul while on the run for his life. From there to the arid wilderness of Ein Gedi and see why David picked such a remote location to hide. Finally, travel with the team as they venture deep into the West Bank to the city of Hebron: David’s first capital.

Cave of Adullam

The Cave of Adullam was a stronghold referred to in the Old Testament, near the town of Adullam, where future King David sought refuge from King Saul, after being expelled from the city of Gath by King Achish.

The “Adullam” mentioned in the Bible is usually thought to be identical with Tell Sheikh Madkhur (Khirbet ‘Eîd el Mieh). Adullam was one of the royal cities of the Canaanites referred to in the Bible. It is partly in the hill country, partly in the plain. It stood near the road which later became the Roman road in the Valley of Elah, the scene of David’s victory over Goliath. 

Ruin of Adullam. Wely Madkour – The Shrine of Madkur
Photo: Davidbena

During the period in Adullam, David passed up several opportunities to kill Saul. Saul, on the other hand, attempted to kill his young rival, whose followers believed had been chosen by God to succeed King Saul. David refused to fight unfairly, for instance by killing Saul in his sleep. According to the Bible, God honored David’s high ethical standards and the soon to be King David and his Mighty Men who had once hidden in the Cave of Adullam, were renowned throughout Israel for their deeds of valor.

Ein Gedi

Ein Gedi is an oasis located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves. 

Fleeing from King Saul, David hid in the strongholds at Ein Gedi (1 Samuel 23:29

29 And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi.

 and 1 Samuel 24:1

And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of Ein Gedi.

Saul seeks him “even upon the most craggy rocks, which are accessible only to wild goats” (1 Samuel 24:2). 

Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats.

Waterfall in David’s Stream – Nachal David Photo: Udi Steinwell

Psalm 63, subtitled a Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah, has been associated with David’s sojourn in the desert of En-gedi.

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.”


The biblical narrative has King David called by God to relocate to Hebron and reign in Hebron from there for some seven years (2 Samuel 2:1–3).

1 And it came to pass after this, that David inquired of the LORD, saying: ‘Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah?’ And the LORD said unto him: ‘Go up.’ And David said: ‘Whither shall I go up?’ And He said: ‘Unto Hebron.’

2 So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.

3 And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household; and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.

 It is there that the elders of Israel come to him to make a covenant before Elohim and anoint him king of Israel. It was in Hebron again that Absalom has himself declared king and then raises a revolt against his father David (2 Samuel 15:7–10).

Cave of the Patriarchs Public Domain

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