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David in Judah and Moab

22 So David escaped from that place and fled to the cave at Adullam. When his brothers and all the rest of his family heard about it, they went to him. Then everyone who was in trouble, in debt, or bitter about life joined him, and he became their commander. There were about four hundred men with him.

From there David went to Mizpah in Moab. He asked the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother stay with you until I know what Elohim is going to do for me.” He brought them to the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was living in his fortified camp.

“Don’t live in your fortified camp,” the prophet Gad told David. “Go to the land of Judah.” So David went to the forest of Hereth.

Saul Massacres the Priests at Nob

Saul heard that David and his men had been found. Saul was staying in Gibeah under the tamarisk tree at the worship site[a] with his spear in his hand and all his officials standing around him. He said to his officials, “Listen here, men of Benjamin! Will Jesse’s son give every one of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all officers over a regiment or a battalion of soldiers? All of you are plotting against me, and no one informed me when my son entered into a loyalty pledge with Jesse’s son. No one felt sorry for me and informed me that my son has encouraged my servant David to ambush me, as he’s doing now.”

Then Doeg from Edom, standing with Saul’s officials, answered him, “I saw Jesse’s son when he came to Ahimelech, Ahitub’s son, in Nob. 10 Ahimelech prayed to Yahweh for David and gave him food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11 Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelech, who was Ahitub’s son, and his entire family who were the priests in Nob. All of them came to the king. 12 Saul said, “Listen here, son of Ahitub!”

“Yes, sir?” he responded.

13 Saul asked him, “Why did you and Jesse’s son plot against me? You gave him bread and a sword and prayed to Elohim for him so that he can rise up against me and ambush me, as he’s doing now.”

14 Ahimelech asked the king, “But whom among all your officials can you trust like David? Your Majesty, he’s your son-in-law, the commander of your bodyguard. He’s honored in your own household. 15 Is this the first time I have prayed to Elohim for him? Not at all! You shouldn’t blame me or anyone in my family for this. I knew nothing at all about this.”

16 Saul said, “Ahimelech, you and your entire family are going to die.”

17 “Turn and kill Yahweh’s priests because they support David,” the king said to the runners standing around him. “When they knew David was fleeing, they didn’t inform me.” But the king’s men refused to attack Yahweh’s priests.

18 So the king said to Doeg, “You turn and attack the priests.” Doeg from Edom turned and attacked the priests, and that day he killed 85 men wearing the linen priestly ephod.[b] 19 He also killed the people of Nob, the city of the priests. Using his sword, he killed men and women, children and infants, cows, donkeys, and sheep.

20 But Ahimelech, Ahitub’s son, had one son who escaped. His name was Abiathar. He fled to David. 21 Abiathar told David that Saul had killed Yahweh’s priests.

22 David told Abiathar, “I knew that day when Doeg from Edom was there that he would be certain to tell Saul. I am the one responsible[c] for all the lives of your family. 23 Stay with me. Don’t be afraid. The one who is seeking my life is also seeking your life. However, you will be under my protection.”


  1. 1 Samuel 22:6 Greek; Masoretic Text “at Ramah.”
  2. 1 Samuel 22:18 Ephod is a technical term for a part of the priest’s clothes. Its exact usage and shape are unknown.
  3. 1 Samuel 22:22 Greek; Masoretic Text “I turned.”