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David Goes to See Ahimelech

21 David went to Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech ·shook with fear [trembled; C perhaps rumors of Saul’s displeasure were circulating] when he saw David, and he asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”

David answered him, “The king ·gave me a special order [sent me on a mission; commissioned me]. He told me, ‘No one must know ·what I am sending you to do or what I told you to do [about the mission I am sending you on].’ I told my [L young] men ·where to meet me [to meet me at a certain place]. Now, what ·food do you have with you [L is at hand]? Give me five loaves of bread or anything you find.”

The priest said to David, “I don’t have any ·plain [ordinary; regular] bread here, but I do have some ·holy [consecrated; holy] bread [C from the Table of Presence; Ex. 25:23–30]. You may eat it if your men have ·kept themselves from [not recently slept with] women [C sexual relations rendered a man ritually unclean; Lev. 15:16–18].”

David answered [L the priest and said to him], “No women have been near us ·for days [or as usual on a campaign]. My men always keep ·themselves [their bodies/L vessels] holy, even ·when we do ordinary work [on an ordinary/common journey]. And this is especially true when the ·work [journey] is holy.”

So the priest gave David the ·holy [consecrated] bread ·from the presence of God [—the bread of the Presence—] because there was no other. Each day the holy bread was replaced with ·hot [fresh] bread.

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