David Takes Consecrated Bread

21 Then David came to (A)Nob, to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech (B)came trembling to meet David and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has commissioned me with a matter and has said to me, ‘(C)No one is to know anything about the matter on which I am sending you and with which I have commissioned you; and I have directed the young men to a certain place.’ Now then, what [a]do you have on hand? Give [b]me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.” The priest answered David and said, “There is no ordinary bread [c]on hand, but there is (D)consecrated bread, if only the young men have (E)kept themselves from women.” David answered the priest and said to him, “(F)Be assured, women have been denied to us as previously when I left and the [d](G)bodies of the young men were consecrated, though it was an ordinary journey; how much more then will [e]their bodies be consecrated today?” So (H)the priest gave him consecrated bread; for there was no bread there except the (I)bread of the Presence which was removed from its place before the Lord, in order to put hot bread in its place on the day it was taken away.

Now one of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the Lord; and his name was (J)Doeg the Edomite, the (K)chief of Saul’s shepherds.

David said to Ahimelech, “Now is there no spear or sword [f]on hand? For I brought neither my sword nor my weapons [g]with me, because the king’s matter was urgent.” Then the priest said, “(L)The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you [h]killed (M)in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod; if you would take it for yourself, take it. For there is no other except it here.” And David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

10 Then David set out and fled that day from Saul, and went to (N)Achish king of Gath. 11 But the (O)servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David, the king of the land? (P)Did they not sing of this one as they danced, saying,

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

12 David (Q)took these words [i]to heart and greatly feared Achish king of Gath. 13 So he (R)disguised his sanity while in their sight and acted insanely in their [j]custody, and he scribbled on the doors of the gate, and drooled on his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is behaving like an insane person. Why do you bring him to me? 15 Do I lack insane people, that you have brought this one to behave like an insane person in my presence? Shall this one come into my house?”

Priests Killed at Nob

22 So David departed from there and (S)escaped to (T)the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard about it, they went down there to him. Then everyone who was in distress, and everyone who [k]was in debt, and everyone who was [l]discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were (U)about four hundred men with him.

And David went from there to Mizpah of Moab; and he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother come and stay with you until I know what God will do for me.” Then he [m]left them with the king of Moab; and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. But (V)Gad the prophet said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold; leave, and go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went into the forest of Hereth.

Then Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been discovered. Now (W)Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing in front of him. Saul said to his servants who were standing in front of him, “Hear now, you Benjaminites! Will the son of Jesse really give all of you fields and vineyards? (X)Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? For all of you have conspired against me so that there is no one who [n]informs me (Y)when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you (Z)who cares about me or [o]informs me that my son has stirred up my servant against me to lie in ambush, as it is this day.” Then (AA)Doeg the Edomite, who was [p]standing in front of the servants of Saul, responded and said, “(AB)I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to (AC)Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 And (AD)he inquired of the Lord for him, (AE)gave him provisions, and (AF)gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11 Then the king sent a messenger to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s household, the priests who were in Nob; and all of them came to the king. 12 Saul said, “Listen now, son of Ahitub.” And he [q]replied, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 Saul then said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jesse conspired against me, in that you have given him bread and a sword, and have inquired of God for him, so that he would rise up against me (AG)by lying in ambush as it is this day?”

14 (AH)Then Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David, the king’s own son-in-law, who [r]is commander over your bodyguard, and is honored in your house? 15 Did I just begin (AI)to inquire of God for him today? Far be it from me! (AJ)Do not let the king impute anything against his servant or against any of the household of my father, because your servant knows nothing [s]at all of this whole affair.” 16 But the king said, “You shall certainly die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household!” 17 And (AK)the king said to the [t]guards who were attending him, “Turn around and put the priests of the Lord to death, because their hand also is with David and because they knew that he was fleeing and did not [u]inform me.” But the (AL)servants of the king were unwilling to reach out with their hands to [v]attack the priests of the Lord. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You, turn around and [w]attack the priests!” And Doeg the Edomite turned around and [x]attacked the priests, and (AM)he killed on that day eighty-five men (AN)who wore the linen ephod. 19 (AO)He also struck Nob the city of the priests with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and infants; he also struck oxen, donkeys, and sheep with the edge of the sword.

20 But (AP)one son of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, (AQ)escaped and fled [y]to David. 21 Abiathar informed David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when (AR)Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would certainly tell Saul. I myself [z]have turned against every person in your father’s household. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, [aa]even though (AS)he who is seeking my life is seeking your life. For you are safe with me.”

David Saves Keilah

23 Then they informed David, saying, “Behold, the Philistines are fighting against (AT)Keilah and are plundering the threshing floors.” So David (AU)inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and [ab]attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and [ac]attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are fearful here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the ranks of the Philistines?” So David inquired of the Lord once more. And the Lord answered him and said, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for (AV)I am going to hand the Philistines over to you.” Then David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines; and he drove away their livestock and struck them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

Now it came about, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech (AW)fled to David at Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand. When it was reported to Saul that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has handed him over to me, for he shut himself in by entering a city with double gates and bars.” So Saul summoned all the people for war, to go down to Keilah to besiege David and his men. But David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him; so he said to (AX)Abiathar the priest, “(AY)Bring the ephod here.” 10 Then David said, “Lord God of Israel, Your servant has heard for certain that Saul is seeking to come to Keilah to destroy the city on my account. 11 Will the citizens of Keilah hand me over to him? Will Saul come down just as Your servant has heard? Lord God of Israel, please, tell Your servant.” And the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 Then David said, “Will the citizens of Keilah hand me and my men over to Saul?” And the Lord said, “(AZ)They will hand you over.” 13 Then David and his men, (BA)about six hundred, rose up and departed from Keilah, and they went (BB)wherever they could go. When it was reported to Saul that David had escaped from Keilah, he gave up [ad]the pursuit. 14 David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of (BC)Ziph. And Saul searched for him every day, but (BD)God did not hand him over to him.

Saul Pursues David

15 Now David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life while David was in the wilderness of Ziph, at Horesh. 16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, set out and went to David at Horesh, and [ae](BE)encouraged him in God. 17 He said to him, “(BF)Do not be afraid, because the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you will be king over Israel, and I will be second in command to you; and (BG)Saul my father knows that as well.” 18 So (BH)the two of them made a covenant before the Lord; and David stayed at Horesh, while Jonathan went to his house.

19 Then (BI)Ziphites came up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not keeping himself hidden with us in the strongholds at Horesh, on (BJ)the hill of Hachilah, which is south of [af]Jeshimon? 20 Now then, O king, come down, [ag]since you fully desire to [ah]do so; and (BK)our part shall be to hand him over to the king.” 21 Saul said, “May you be blessed of the Lord, (BL)since you have had compassion on me. 22 Go now, be more persistent, and investigate and see his place where [ai]he is hiding, and who has seen him there; for I am told that he is very cunning. 23 So look, and learn about all the hiding places where he keeps himself hidden, and return to me with certainty, and I will go with you; and if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.”

24 So they set out and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness of (BM)Maon, in the Arabah to the south of [aj]Jeshimon. 25 When Saul and his men went to seek him, they informed David, and he came down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard about it, he pursued David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was hurrying to get away from Saul, while Saul and his men (BN)were surrounding David and his men to apprehend them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have launched an attack against the land!” 28 So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to confront the Philistines; therefore they called that place [ak]the Rock of Division. 29 [al]And David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of (BO)Engedi.

David Spares Saul’s Life

24 [am]Now (BP)when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, (BQ)it was reported to him, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then (BR)Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to search for David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Mountain Goats. And he came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul (BS)went in to [an]relieve himself. Now (BT)David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave. Then David’s men said to him, “Behold, (BU)this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold; (BV)I am about to hand your enemy over to you, and you shall do to him as it seems good [ao]to you.’” Then David got up and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly. But it came about afterward that (BW)David’s [ap]conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe. So he said to his men, “(BX)Far be it from me because of the Lord that I would do this thing to my lord, the Lords anointed, to reach out with my hand against him, since he is the Lords anointed.” And David rebuked his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul got up, [aq]left the cave, and went on his way.

Afterward, however, David got up and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, (BY)David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself. And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men [ar]who say, ‘Behold, David is seeking [as]to harm you’? 10 (BZ)Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the Lord had handed you over to me today in the cave, and (CA)someone said to kill you, but [at]I spared you; and I said, ‘I will not reach out with my hand against my lord, because he is the Lords anointed.’ 11 So, (CB)my father, look! Indeed, look at the edge of your robe in my hand! For by the fact that I cut off the edge of your robe but did not kill you, know and understand that there is no evil or [au]rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you (CC)are lying in wait for my life, to take it. 12 (CD)May the Lord judge between [av]you and me, and may the Lord take vengeance on you for me; but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘(CE)Out of the wicked comes wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel gone out? Whom are you pursuing? (CF)A dead dog, (CG)a single flea? 15 May (CH)the Lord therefore be judge and decide between [aw]you and me; and may He see and (CI)plead my cause and save me from your hand.”

16 When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “(CJ)Is this your voice, my son David?” Then Saul raised his voice and wept. 17 (CK)And he said to David, “You are more righteous than I; for (CL)you have dealt well with me, while I have dealt maliciously with you. 18 You have declared today that you have done good to me, that (CM)the Lord handed me over to you and yet you did not kill me. 19 Though if a man (CN)finds his enemy, will he let him go away [ax]unharmed? May the Lord therefore reward you with good in return for what you have done to me this day. 20 Now, behold, (CO)I know that you will certainly be king, and that (CP)the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 So now (CQ)swear to me by the Lord that you will not cut off my [ay]descendants after me, and that you will not eliminate my name from my father’s household.” 22 And David swore an oath to Saul. Then Saul went to his home, but David and his men went up to (CR)the stronghold.


  1. 1 Samuel 21:3 Lit is there under your hand?
  2. 1 Samuel 21:3 Lit into my hand
  3. 1 Samuel 21:4 Lit under my hand
  4. 1 Samuel 21:5 Lit vessels
  5. 1 Samuel 21:5 Lit it be holy in the vessel
  6. 1 Samuel 21:8 Lit under your hand
  7. 1 Samuel 21:8 Lit in my hand
  8. 1 Samuel 21:9 Lit struck
  9. 1 Samuel 21:12 Lit in his
  10. 1 Samuel 21:13 Lit hand
  11. 1 Samuel 22:2 Lit had a creditor
  12. 1 Samuel 22:2 Lit bitter of soul
  13. 1 Samuel 22:4 Probable reading of the Heb; MT brought them before
  14. 1 Samuel 22:8 Lit uncovers my ear
  15. 1 Samuel 22:8 Lit uncovers my ear
  16. 1 Samuel 22:9 Or set over
  17. 1 Samuel 22:12 Lit said
  18. 1 Samuel 22:14 As in LXX; MT turns aside to
  19. 1 Samuel 22:15 Lit small or great
  20. 1 Samuel 22:17 Lit runners
  21. 1 Samuel 22:17 Lit uncover my ear
  22. 1 Samuel 22:17 Lit fall upon
  23. 1 Samuel 22:18 Lit fall upon
  24. 1 Samuel 22:18 Lit fell upon
  25. 1 Samuel 22:20 Lit after
  26. 1 Samuel 22:22 LXX am responsible for
  27. 1 Samuel 22:23 Or because he
  28. 1 Samuel 23:2 Lit strike
  29. 1 Samuel 23:2 Lit strike
  30. 1 Samuel 23:13 Lit going out
  31. 1 Samuel 23:16 Lit strengthened his hand
  32. 1 Samuel 23:19 Or the desert
  33. 1 Samuel 23:20 Lit according to all your soul’s desire
  34. 1 Samuel 23:20 Lit come down
  35. 1 Samuel 23:22 Lit his foot is
  36. 1 Samuel 23:24 Or the desert
  37. 1 Samuel 23:28 Heb Sela-hammahlekoth; meaning uncertain, possibly Rock of Smoothness (i.e., “Slippery Rock”)
  38. 1 Samuel 23:29 Ch 24:1 in Heb
  39. 1 Samuel 24:1 Ch 24:2 in Heb
  40. 1 Samuel 24:3 Lit cover his feet
  41. 1 Samuel 24:4 Lit in your eyes
  42. 1 Samuel 24:5 Lit heart struck
  43. 1 Samuel 24:7 Lit from
  44. 1 Samuel 24:9 Lit saying
  45. 1 Samuel 24:9 Lit your harm
  46. 1 Samuel 24:10 As in ancient versions; MT, my eye had pity on
  47. 1 Samuel 24:11 Lit offense
  48. 1 Samuel 24:12 Lit me and you
  49. 1 Samuel 24:15 Lit me and you
  50. 1 Samuel 24:19 Lit on a good road
  51. 1 Samuel 24:21 Lit seed

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