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1 Samuel 21Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

David Flees to Nob

21 David went to Ahimelech the priest at Nob. Ahimelech was afraid to meet David, so he said to him, “Why are you alone and no one is with you?”

David answered Ahimelech the priest, “The king gave me a mission, but he told me, ‘Don’t let anyone know anything about the mission I’m sending you on or what I have ordered you to do.’ I have stationed my young men at a certain place. Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever can be found.”

The priest told him, “There is no ordinary bread on hand. However, there is consecrated bread, but the young men may eat it[a] only if they have kept themselves from women.”

David answered him, “I swear that women are being kept from us, as always when I go out to battle. The young men’s bodies[b] are consecrated even on an ordinary mission, so of course their bodies are consecrated today.” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from the presence of the Lord. When the bread was removed, it had been replaced with warm bread.

One of Saul’s servants, detained before the Lord, was there that day. His name was Doeg the Edomite, chief of Saul’s shepherds.

David said to Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword on hand? I didn’t even bring my sword or my weapons since the king’s mission was urgent.”

The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it, for there isn’t another one here.”

“There’s none like it!” David said. “Give it to me.”

David Flees to Gath

10 David fled that day from Saul’s presence and went to King Achish of Gath. 11 But Achish’s servants said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Don’t they sing about him during their dances:

Saul has killed his thousands,
but David his tens of thousands?”

12 David took this to heart[c] and became very afraid of King Achish of Gath, 13 so he pretended to be insane in their presence. He acted like a madman around them,[d] scribbling[e] on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

14 “Look! You can see the man is crazy,” Achish said to his servants. “Why did you bring him to me? 15 Do I have such a shortage of crazy people that you brought this one to act crazy around me? Is this one going to come into my house?”


  1. 1 Samuel 21:4 DSS; MT omits may eat it
  2. 1 Samuel 21:5 Lit vessels
  3. 1 Samuel 21:12 Lit David placed these words in his heart
  4. 1 Samuel 21:13 Lit madman in their hand
  5. 1 Samuel 21:13 LXX reads drumming

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