1 Samuel 22 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
People Join David
22 When David escaped from the town of Gath, he went to Adullam Cave. His brothers and the rest of his family found out where he was, and they followed him there. 2 A lot of other people joined him too. Some were in trouble, others were angry or in debt, and David was soon the leader of four hundred men.
3 David left Adullam Cave and went to the town of Mizpeh in Moab, where he talked with the king of Moab. “Please,” David said, “let my father and mother stay with you until I find out what God will do with me.” 4 So he brought his parents to the king of Moab, and they stayed with him while David was in hiding.
5 One day the prophet Gad told David, “Don’t stay here! Go back to Judah.” David then left and went to Hereth Forest.
Saul Kills the Priests of the Lord
6 Saul was sitting under a small tree on top of the hill at Gibeah when he heard that David and his men had been seen. Saul was holding his spear, and his officers were standing in front of him. 7 He told them:
Listen to me! You belong to the Benjamin tribe,[a] so if that son of Jesse ever becomes king, he won’t give you fields or vineyards. He won’t make you officers in charge of thousands or hundreds as I have done. 8 But you’re all plotting against me! Not one of you told me that my own son Jonathan had made an agreement with him. Not one of you cared enough to tell me that Jonathan had helped one of my officers[b] rebel. Now that son of Jesse is trying to ambush me.
9 Doeg the Edomite was standing with the other officers and spoke up, “When I was in the town of Nob, I saw that son of Jesse. He was visiting the priest Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 Ahimelech talked to the Lord for him, then gave him food and the sword that had belonged to Goliath the Philistine.”
11 Saul sent a message to Ahimelech and his whole family of priests at Nob, ordering them to come to him. When they came, 12 Saul told them, “Listen to me, you son of Ahitub.”
“Certainly, Your Majesty,” Ahimelech answered.
13 Saul demanded, “Why did you plot against me with that son of Jesse? You helped him rebel against me by giving him food and a sword, and by talking with God for him. Now he’s trying to ambush me!”
14 “Your Majesty, none of your officers is more loyal than David!” Ahimelech replied. “He’s your son-in-law and the captain of your bodyguard. Everyone in your family respects him. 15 This isn’t the first time I’ve talked with God for David, and it’s never made you angry before! Please don’t accuse me or my family like this. I have no idea what’s going on!”
16 “Ahimelech,” Saul said, “you and your whole family are going to die.”
17 Saul shouted to his bodyguards, “These priests of the Lord helped David! They knew he was running away, but they didn’t tell me. Kill them!”
But the king’s officers would not attack the priests of the Lord.
18 Saul turned to Doeg, who was from Edom, and said, “Kill the priests!”
On that same day, Doeg killed eighty-five priests. 19 Then he attacked the town of Nob, where the priests had lived, and he killed everyone there—men, women, children, and babies. He even killed their cattle, donkeys, and sheep.
Only Abiathar Escapes from Nob
20 Ahimelech’s son Abiathar was the only one who escaped. He ran to David 21 and told him, “Saul has murdered the priests at Nob!”
22 David answered, “That day when I saw Doeg, I knew he would tell Saul! Your family died because of me. 23 Stay here. Isn’t the same person trying to kill both of us? Don’t worry! You’ll be safe here with me.”
1 Samuel 22 New International Version (NIV)
David at Adullam and Mizpah
22 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.
3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” 4 So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold.
5 But the prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
Saul Kills the Priests of Nob
6 Now Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. And Saul was seated, spear in hand, under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing at his side. 7 He said to them, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? 8 Is that why you have all conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is concerned about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today.”
9 But Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul’s officials, said, “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelek son of Ahitub at Nob. 10 Ahimelek inquired of the Lord for him; he also gave him provisions and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11 Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelek son of Ahitub and all the men of his family, who were the priests at Nob, and they all came to the king. 12 Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.”
“Yes, my lord,” he answered.
13 Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today?”
14 Ahimelek answered the king, “Who of all your servants is as loyal as David, the king’s son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard and highly respected in your household? 15 Was that day the first time I inquired of God for him? Of course not! Let not the king accuse your servant or any of his father’s family, for your servant knows nothing at all about this whole affair.”
16 But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelek, you and your whole family.”
17 Then the king ordered the guards at his side: “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me.”
But the king’s officials were unwilling to raise a hand to strike the priests of the Lord.
18 The king then ordered Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19 He also put to the sword Nob, the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.
20 But one son of Ahimelek son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to join David. 21 He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “That day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your whole family. 23 Stay with me; don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”