0 David runs away from Saul (1 Sam 21-22)

Episode 112: David runs away from Saul

1 Samuel 21-22

David flees to Nob (and lies to get holy bread and Goliath's sword)

21 1 Then David went to Nob. When he arrived, Ahimelech the priest said to him, "Why are you alone?"

2 David answered,

I am on some secret business for the king.

So give me five loaves of bread, and more if you've got it.

4 The priest said, "I only have holy bread for men who have not been around women."

5 David said,

I haven't been around women for three days, and the young men's vessels are holy.

6 So the priest gave David the holy bread.

7 (One of Saul's men, an Edomite named Doeg, was there and saw what happened.)

8 David asked Ahimelech if he had any spears or swords.

The priest said, "Yes, I just happen to have Goliath's sword."

David said, "Give it to me."

David flees to Gath (where he acts insane)

10 Then David fled to the Philistine city of Gath.

When he arrived, everyone said:

Isn't this king David, of whom the dancing girls sang: Saul has killed thousands and David tens of thousands?

12 When David heard these words, he was afraid of Achish, the king of Gath.

13 So he pretended to be insane, scribbling on the gates of Gath, letting spit run down his beard.

Achish said to his servants,

Lo, this man is mad! Why did you bring him to me?

Do you think I need mad men?

David flees to the cave Adullam

22 1-2 Then David went to the cave Adullam, where about 400 discontented, distressed, and indebted men joined his renegade army.

Saul kills the priests, people, and animals of Nob

6 At this time Saul was living in Gibeah under a tree, with his spear in his hand, surrounded by his servants.

9 Doeg the Edomite said to him,

10 In Nob Ahimelech enquired of the Lord for David and gave him food and Goliath's sword.

11 Saul sent for Ahimelech, who came as requested, along with his family and the other priests of Nob.

Saul said to Ahimelech,

12-13 Why did you conspire against me by giving David bread and a sword, and enquiring of the Lord for him?

14 Ahimelech answered, saying,

I helped David since he is your son-in-law, and (or so I thought, anyway) is loyal to you.

15 But I didn't enquire of the Lord for him.

16 Saul said, "Well, you'll die anyway. You and all of your family."

17 Saul said to his footmen, "Kill the priests of the Lord because they helped David."

But Saul's men refused to kill the priests.

18-19 So Saul told Doeg to do it. And Doeg killed 85 priests, and all men, women, children, and animals in the city of Nob.

20 But one of the priests of Nob escaped: Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech.

21 Abiathar told David about Saul's killings of the priests of Nob.

22 David said,

I noticed that Doeg the Edomite was in Nob at the time that I visited. And I knew he'd tell Saul about it.

23 But don't worry. You're safe with me.

A few more words about this episode

Ahimelech the priest (21:1)
When David fled to Nob, what was the priest's name?
I am on some secret business for the king. (21:2)
Is it wrong to lie?
I only have holy bread for men who have not been around women. (21:4)
According to the note for this verse in The HarperCollins Study Bible, Ahimelech was referencing Exodus 19:15 here, which reads: "And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives."

I'm not sure I see the connection, though. Moses was telling the men to abstain from sex the night before God appeared to them on Mount Sinai. What does that have to do with "holy bread"?

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