21 David went to Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech shook with fear when he saw David. He asked David, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”
2 David answered him, “The king gave me a special order. He told me, ‘No one must know about the work I am sending you to do. And no one must know what I told you to do.’ I told my men where to meet me. 3 Now, what food do you have with you? Give me five loaves of bread or anything you find.”
4 The priest said to David, “I don’t have any plain bread here. But I do have some holy bread[a] here. You may eat it if your men have kept themselves from women.”
5 David answered, “Women have been kept from us. My men always keep their bodies holy, even when we do ordinary work. And this is especially true when the work is holy.”
6 There was no bread except the bread made holy for the Lord. So the priest gave David the bread that showed the people were in the presence of God. This was the bread the priests had taken from the holy table before the Lord. Each day they took this bread away and put hot bread in its place.
7 Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day. He had been held there before the Lord. He was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s shepherds.
8 David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword here? The king’s business was very important. I had to leave quickly, and I didn’t bring my sword or any other weapon.”
9 The priest answered, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine is here. He is the one you killed in the Valley of Elah. His sword is wrapped in a cloth. It is behind the holy vest. If you want it, you may take it. There’s no other sword here but that one.”
David said, “There is no other sword like Goliath’s. Give it to me.”
David Goes to Gath
10 That day David ran away from Saul. He went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “This is David king of the Israelites. He’s the man the Israelite women sing about when they dance. They sing:
‘Saul has killed thousands of his enemies. But David has killed tens of thousands.’”
12 David paid attention to these words. And he was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in front of Achish and his servants. While he was with them, he acted like a madman. He made marks on the doors of the gate. He let spit run down his beard.
14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He’s insane! Why do you bring him to me? 15 I have enough madmen. I don’t need you to bring him here to act like this in front of me! Don’t leave him in my house!”
21:4holy bread This was the bread that showed the people were in the presence of God. Normally only the priests should eat this bread.
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