David stopped for the night, well after dark. A tight space between two great rocks provided nighttime security. He listened but heard no sounds of pursuit. He whispered, “I’m afraid, Lord. Saul would pin me to the wall. Where can I escape him?”
Indeed, King Saul was in pursuit. Stories had spread among Saul’s enemies that David, not Saul, was now king of the land.
David lay the great sword he carried, wrapped loosely in a cloth, noiselessly on the ground near him. As he drifting into sleep he alerted his senses to listen for the slightest jangle of armor or the snort and stomp of horses. Signs Saul might be near.

Nearer than David knew, King Saul lay awake, encircled by soldiers. A cunning hunter-warrior, Saul had tracked with his best men until dark.
Doeg’s coarse voice startled Saul in the dark, “We will find him in the morning, O King.”
Doeg was the herdsman, who only yesterday had disclosed David’s location to the King.
“Quiet, you fool!” hissed the King. “Sleep!” But Saul himself could not sleep. His hatred and rage burned like an ulcer.

Dark hours passed slowly. Trees and boulders began to silhouette against the eastern horizon. Saul kicked his servants, soldiers, and Doeg awake, fiercely warning them to quietly get ready to move.
The men stealthily stowed gear, watered and tacked up their horses, choked down dried bread they carried, drank from their water jars, and waited orders.

David was already out of his narrow stronghold and climbing a small hill in the pre-dawn. He flat himself on the summit watching for enough light to survey his surroundings. His stomach growled miserably. David shook his water jar. There was only a swallow left.
A tiny clatter rose to his ear. He sucked in a quiet breath and held it. With every ounce of his training he strained to see something, anything that moved below and around him. Nothing. Nothing. Noth . . . maybe . . . something.
A distant human voice. The movement of . . . He saw them. Saul’s squad of men and horses. They seemed to be uncertain which way to move.
They’re trying to pick up my trail!
David slid backwards on his stomach until he knew he was hidden behind the small hill. Clutching the heavy sword, still wrapped up, he took his bearing from the rising sun and headed south, at right angles to yesterday’s trail. He tied the sword to his back and skirted the hill between him and Saul.
“Oh, Lord,” he whispered, “I am nearly out of water. I have only a small loaf left. I need Your direction, provision, and protection or I die at Saul’s hand.”
Leaving the hill, David turned west to follow a dry ravine toward a spring he visited years before. Saul would so be on his trail. David loped through the ravine for two hours toward the spring.
He heard the water before he saw it. In a cleft of the ravine, in a shadow, he found a trickle of water. David filled his jar. He allowed himself a few minutes’ shaded rest, drinking in small amounts.
“I sought You, Lord, and you heard me!” he praised, quietly.
The fresh water hydrated his body. Boldness hydrated his spirit. “Bless You, Lord! You give me courage, I’m beginning to sense a direction for my flight. I’m not afraid. Lead me on!”
A bank of clouds rolled over David that afternoon as he hurried along. By late afternoon a light rain fell, cooling and refreshing him, and washing away his trail behind him.
Toward early evening David considered where he was—nearing Philistine territory. “Danger behind me. Danger before me, Lord.” David hesitated and almost stopped.
Then he realized, Saul won’t pursue me into Philistine territory!
David began to run, laughing. In his mind a song took seed. “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me out of all my fears,” he sang. “Well, almost all my fears,” he laughed. Yet, strangely, he felt of Saul now nor any fear of the Philistines in Gath, not far away.
“I won’t be afraid, Lord!” David sang aloud as he hurried on, leaving the ravine and turning south again. The rain had nearly stopped, after washing dust from David’s hair and face. He smiled radiantly up to the clouds, “Thank you Lord. I do not have to be afraid. You hear me always,” he sang.
He climbed a craggy ridge and, on the horizon, saw the city of Gath. David slowed to adjust the weight of Goliath’s sword, strapped in its covering on his back and to drink from his water jar.
As he walked his last couple of hours to Gath, he composed the song he had been singing. The words would form the heart of a song he could write down in the days ahead.
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.”

David found the road to Gath and mingled with travelers entering the gates of the city. He thought Philistine soldiers near the city gate took special interest in him, more than others entering the city. He heard some of their conversations.
“Is this not David the king of the land?”
“David would not enter Gath.”
“He has too many bitter enemies here.”
“Still . . . David is a fearless king.”
Yet no one confronted David that evening.