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22 That is how David escaped, and from there, he went to the cave of Adullam to hide. When his brothers and the rest of his family heard he was there, they went down to be with him. A group gathered around him, composed of those who were in debt or who were not content with Saul or who were in trouble. Soon David was captain of about 400 such men.

David traveled then to Mizpah in Moab, the homeland of his great-grandmother, Ruth, to address the king of Moab.

David: Please allow my mother and father to remain here until I can see what it is that the True God has in store for me.

So David left his parents there, and they remained with the king of Moab as long as David remained in the stronghold.

David was visited later by Gad the prophet.

Gad (to David): Do not stay here in the stronghold. Leave here, and go to the land of the tribe of Judah.

So David left that place and went into the forest of Hereth.

Meanwhile Saul was sitting, spear in hand, under a gnarled and bushy tamarisk tree on the crest of a high hill in Gibeah. His servants were standing around him when he heard the news that David and his followers had been located.

Saul (to his servants): Listen up, all you men of Benjamin. Will Jesse’s son, David, do for you what I have? Will he give each of you fields and vineyards? Will he make each of you commander over thousands or over hundreds? Is that why all of you have betrayed me? None of you told me that my own son had made a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you are sorry for me or let me know that my son had stirred up my servant to challenge me, to lie in ambush, just as he is doing at this moment.

Doeg the Edomite stood among Saul’s servants.

Doeg: I saw the son of Jesse when he came to Nob to speak with the priest, Ahimelech son of Ahitub. 10 Ahimelech asked the Eternal One questions on David’s behalf, gave him provisions, and even gave him the legendary sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 So the king sent for the priest Ahimelech, son of Ahitub, and for all his family who were the priests at Nob, and they came before Saul.

Saul: 12 Pay attention, son of Ahitub.

Ahimelech: I am listening, my lord.

Saul: 13 Why have you plotted against me with the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and speaking to the True God on his behalf, so that he should rise up to fight against me? At this moment he must be lying in ambush.

Ahimelech: 14 Which of your servants, good king, is so faithful as David? Isn’t he the king’s son-in-law, the captain of your guard? Hasn’t he always been quick to do the king’s bidding and honored in the king’s household? 15 Is this the first time I have inquired of God for David? Of course not! Do not, O king, imagine that I, your servant, or anyone in my family has intended wrong against the king, for we know next to nothing about your affairs.

Saul (to Ahimelech): 16 You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and all of your family.

Saul may be truly at his worst. He fails to have reverence for God’s priests and orders them to be killed for harboring David. Not even Saul’s servants can support this horrid behavior, and they refuse to come under God’s curse by striking down His priests.

The king turned to his guards.

Saul: 17 Kill them, kill all of these priests of the Eternal because they have given their support to David. They knew he was running away, and they did not tell me.

But the servants of the king refused to attack the priests of the Eternal. Saul was furious, so he turned to one he could trust.

Saul (to Doeg): 18 Carry out my orders. Turn around, and kill these priests.

So Doeg the Edomite attacked them. That day he turned and killed 85 men who wore the priestly linen garment. 19 Then he went after Nob, the city of the priests, with his sword and utterly destroyed everything he found there—all the men, women, children, and infants. Doeg even turned his blade against the oxen, donkeys, and sheep. 20 Only Abiathar, son of Ahimelech, son of Ahitub, escaped, and he fled to David for protection. 21 He informed David that Saul had massacred the priests of the Eternal.

David (to Abiathar): 22 I knew, when I saw Doeg the Edomite that day, that he would certainly tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of every person in your family. 23 Stay here with me, and don’t be afraid. The one who seeks my life also seeks yours; you will certainly be safe with me.

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