1 Samuel 21

David Flees to Nob

1 David went to Ahimelech a the priest at Nob. b Ahimelech was afraid to meet David, so he said to him, “Why are you alone and no one is with you?”

2 David answered Ahimelech the priest, “The king gave me a mission, but he told me, ‘Don’t let anyone know anything about the mission I’m sending you on or what I have ordered you to do.’ I have stationed my young men at a certain place. 3 Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever can be found.”

4The priest told him, “There is no ordinary bread on hand. However, there is consecrated bread, c but the young men may eat it
DSS; MT omits may eat it
only if they have kept themselves from women.” e

5 David answered him, “I swear that women are being kept from us, as always when I go out to battle. f The young men’s bodies
Lit vessels
are consecrated h even on an ordinary mission, so of course their bodies are consecrated today.”
6So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, i for there was no bread there except the
Bread of the Presence: Literally bread of presentation; 12 loaves, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, put on the table in the holy place in the tabernacle, and later in the temple. The priests ate the previous week's loaves; Ex 25:30; 29:32; Lv 24:5-9.
bread of the Presence k that had been removed from the presence of the Lord. When the bread was removed, it had been replaced with warm bread.

7 One of Saul’s servants, detained before the Lord, was there that day. His name was Doeg the Edomite, l chief of Saul’s shepherds.

8 David said to Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword on hand? I didn’t even bring my sword or my weapons since the king’s mission was urgent.”

9The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, m whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the
ephod: A vestlike garment, extending below the waist and worn under the breastpiece, which was used by both the priests and the high priest
ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it, for there isn’t another one here.”“There’s none like it!” David said. “Give it to me.”

David Flees to Gath

10 David fled that day from Saul’s presence and went to King Achish of Gath. o 11But Achish’s servants said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Don’t they sing about him during their dances:

Saul has killed his thousands,
but David his tens of thousands?” p

12 David took this to heart
Lit David placed these words in his heart
and became very afraid of King Achish of Gath,
13so he pretended to be insane in their presence. r He acted like a madman around them,
Lit madman in their hand
LXX reads drumming
on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

14 “Look! You can see the man is crazy,” Achish said to his servants. “Why did you bring him to me? 15Do I have such a shortage of crazy people that you brought this one to act crazy around me? Is this one going to come into my house?” u
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