4 The priest answered David, “There is no ordinary (unconsecrated) bread on hand, but there is [a]consecrated bread; [you may have it] if only the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 David answered the priest, “Be assured that [b]women have been kept from us in these three days since I set out, and the [c]bodies of the young men were consecrated (ceremonially clean), although it was an ordinary (unconsecrated) journey; so how much more will their vessels be holy today?” 6 So the priest gave him the consecrated bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the [d]Presence which was removed from before the Lord in order to put hot bread in its place when it was taken away.
1 Samuel 21:4I.e. the bread of the Presence (showbread) was an offering dedicated to God and was to be eaten only by the priests. The ancient rabbis maintained that any law may be superseded to save life, and that David’s life was in danger from hunger.
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