The Pierpont Morgan Library, NY/Art Resource, NY

Caught with his pants down. As King Saul relieves himself in a cave at Ein Gedi, a stealthy David, who has been hiding in the cave, slices off a piece of the king’s cloak. The Nabal affair is a brief, mostly minor interlude in David’s more momentous conflict with Saul, who has pursued the young upstart into the wilderness because he fears—rightly—that David is destined to the throne. Above the cave, David shows Saul (now mounted, at far right) the swatch of hem he has taken as proof that, even given a perfect opportunity, he will not raise his hand against Saul since Saul is “the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24:10). According to Leithart, David’s dealings with Saul parallel his dealings with Nabal. Yet David demonstrates far greater restraint toward Saul at Ein Gedi than he does with Nabal in the subsequent chapter (1 Samuel 25).