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1 Samuel 21 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

21 (20:42b) So David got up and left, and Y’honatan went back to the city.

(1) David went to see Achimelekh the cohen in Nov. Achimelekh came trembling to meet David and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?” (2) David said to Achimelekh the cohen, “The king has sent me on a mission and told me not to let anyone know its purpose or what I’ve been ordered to do. I’ve arranged a place where the guards are to meet me. (3) Now, what do you have on hand? If you can spare five loaves of bread, give them to me, or whatever there is.” (4) The cohen answered David, “I don’t have any regular bread; however, there is consecrated bread — but only if the guards have abstained from women. (5) David answered the cohen, “Of course women have been kept away from us, as on previous campaigns. Whenever I go out on campaign, the men’s gear is clean, even if it’s an ordinary trip. How much more, then, today, when they will be putting something consecrated in their packs!” (6) So the cohen gave him consecrated bread, because there was no bread there other than the showbread that had been removed from before Adonai to be replaced by freshly baked bread on the day the old bread was removed.

(7) One of the servants of Sha’ul happened to be there that day, detained before Adonai. His name was Do’eg the Edomi, the head of Sha’ul’s shepherds. (8) David said to Achimelekh, “Perhaps you have here with you a spear or a sword? I brought neither my sword nor my other weapons, because the king’s mission was urgent.” 10 (9) The cohen said, “The sword of Golyat the P’lishti you killed in the Elah Valley, is over there behind the ritual vest, wrapped in a cloth. If you want it, take it; it’s the only one here.” David said, “There’s nothing like it; give it to me.”

11 (10) The same day, David took flight from Sha’ul and went to Akhish king of Gat. 12 (11) The servants of Akhish said to him, “Isn’t this David, king of the land? Weren’t they dancing and singing to each other,

‘Sha’ul has killed his thousands,
but David his tens of thousands’?”

13 (12) These remarks were not lost on David, and he became very much afraid of Akhish king of Gat. 14 (13) So, as they were watching, he changed his behavior and acted like a madman when they had hold of him, scratching marks on the doors of the city gate and drooling down his beard. 15 (14) Akhish said to his servants, “Here, you see that the man is meshugga; why bring him to me? 16 (15) Am I short of meshugga‘im? Is that why you’ve brought this one to go crazy on me? Must I have this one in my house?”

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

1 Samuel 21 New King James Version (NKJV)

David and the Holy Bread

21 Now David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech was afraid when he met David, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one is with you?”

So David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has ordered me on some business, and said to me, ‘Do not let anyone know anything about the business on which I send you, or what I have commanded you.’ And I have directed my young men to such and such a place. Now therefore, what have you on hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever can be found.”

And the priest answered David and said, “There is no [a]common bread on hand; but there is holy[b] bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women.”

Then David answered the priest, and said to him, “Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And [c]the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common, even though it was consecrated in the vessel this day.”

So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day when it was taken away.

Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord. And his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chief of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul.

And David said to Ahimelech, “Is there not here on hand a spear or a sword? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”

So the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, there it is, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it. For there is no other except that one here.”

And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

David Flees to Gath

10 Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another in dances, saying:

‘Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands’?”

12 Now David took these words [d]to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them, pretended [e]madness in their hands, [f]scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me? 15 Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”


  1. 1 Samuel 21:4 ordinary
  2. 1 Samuel 21:4 consecrated
  3. 1 Samuel 21:5 The young men are ceremonially undefiled
  4. 1 Samuel 21:12 Lit. in his heart
  5. 1 Samuel 21:13 insanity
  6. 1 Samuel 21:13 scribbled
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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