David eats the show bread. He is unprepared for combat. He becomes a fugitive.
VERSE 1. Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no man with you?”
VERSE 2. David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has commanded me to do something, and has said to me, ‘Let no one know anything about the business about which I send you, and what I have commanded you. I have sent the young men to a certain place.’
VERSE 3. Now therefore what is under your hand? Please give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or whatever is available.”
VERSE 4. The priest answered David, and said, “I have no common bread, but there is holy bread; if only the young men have kept themselves from women.”
VERSE 5. David answered the priest, and said to him, “Truly, women have been kept from us as usual these three days. When I came out, the vessels of the young men were holy, though it was only a common journey. How much more then today shall their vessels be holy?”
women have been kept from us. David does not say that their “wives” were kept from them. Rather, he says “women.”
have been kept from us. To have been sexually active would have violated the purity laws:
Leviticus 15:16. If any man has an emission of semen, then he shall bathe all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening.
Deuteronomy 23:10. If there is among you any man who is not clean by reason of that which happens him by night, then shall he go outside of the camp. He shall not come within the camp.
VERSE 6. So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the show bread that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
the priest gave him holy bread. This would have been forbidden. Yet it was the right thing to do.
the show bread. This was the ceremonial bread used in the rites at the shrine of Nob.
VERSE 7. Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg the Edomite, the best of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul.
VERSE 8. David said to Ahimelech, “Isn’t there here under your hand spear or sword? For I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.”
I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons. David was not ready for combat. He had neglected to bring his sword.
VERSE 9 The priest said, “Behold, the sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you would like to take that, take it; for there is no other except that here.” David said, “There is none like that. Give it to me.”
VERSE 10. David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.
VERSE 11. The servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David the king of the land? Didn’t they sing to one another about him in dances, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?’
Isn’t this David the king of the land? People are already thinking of David as the king.
VERSE 12. David laid up these words in his heart, and was very afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
VERSE 13. He changed his behavior before them, and pretended to be insane in their hands, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down on his beard.
VERSE 14. Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why then have you brought him to me?
VERSE 15. Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Should this fellow come into my house?”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.