21 David went to Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech shook with fear when he saw David, and he asked, “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 what I am sending you to do or 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] You may eat it if your men have kept themselves from women.”
5 David answered, “No women have been near us for days. My men always keep themselves holy, even when we do ordinary work. And this is especially true when the work is holy.”
6 So the priest gave David the holy bread from the presence of God because there was no other. Each day the holy bread was replaced with hot bread.
7 One of Saul’s servants happened to be 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, so I left without my sword or any other weapon.”
9 The priest answered, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, the one you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here. It is wrapped in a cloth 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 it. Give it to me.”
David Goes to Gath
10 That day David ran away from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “This is David, the king of the Israelites. He’s the man they dance and sing about, saying:
‘Saul has killed thousands of his enemies, but David has killed tens of thousands.’”
12 David paid attention to these words and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be crazy in front of Achish and his servants. While he was with them, he acted like a madman and clawed on the doors of the gate and let spit run down his beard.
14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He’s crazy! 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 let 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 ate this bread.
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