David and his followers stand before the cave of Adullam; three mighty men risk their lives by breaking through the ranks of the Philistines to bring water from the well by the gate of Bethlehem. On their return King David realised that he had risked their lives for a frivolous purpose and offered the water to the Lord. Old Testament (2 Samuel 23: 13-17).
The picture was painted in 1658 for Prince Agostino Chigi (1634 - 1705), a nephew of Pope Alexander VII and a captain of the papal guards.
A number of preparatory drawings by Claude are known.