21 David went to Ahimelech the priest in Nob. Ahimelech was shaking with fear when he met 1 David, and said to him, “Why are you by yourself with no one accompanying you?” 2 David replied to Ahimelech the priest, “The king instructed me to do something, but he said to me, ‘Don’t let anyone know the reason I am sending you or the instructions I have given you.’ 2 I have told my soldiers 3 to wait at a certain place. 4 3 Now what do you have at your disposal? 5 Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.”
4 The priest replied to David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread at my disposal. Only holy bread is available, and then only if your soldiers 6 have abstained from sexual relations with women.” 7 5 David said to the priest, “Certainly women have been kept away from us, just as on previous occasions when I have set out. The soldiers’ 8 equipment is holy, even on an ordinary journey. How much more so will they be holy today, along with their equipment!”
6 So the priest gave him holy bread, for there was no bread there other than the bread of the Presence. It had been removed from before the Lord in order to replace it with hot bread on the day it had been taken away. 7 (One of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, who was in charge of Saul’s shepherds.) 8 David said to Ahimelech, “Is there no sword or spear here at your disposal? I don’t have my own sword or equipment in hand due to the urgency of the king’s instructions.”
9 The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the valley of Elah, is wrapped in a garment behind the ephod. If you wish, take it for yourself. Other than that, there’s nothing here.” David said, “There’s nothing like it! Give it to me!” 10 So on that day David arose and fled from Saul. He went to King Achish of Gath. 11 The servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one that they sing about when they dance, saying,
‘Saul struck down his thousands,
But David his tens of thousands’?”
12 David thought about what they said 9 and was very afraid of King Achish of Gath. 13 He altered his behavior in their presence. 10 Since he was in their power, 11 he pretended to be insane, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting his saliva run down his beard.
14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at this madman! Why did you bring him to me? 15 Do I have a shortage of fools, that you have brought me this man to display his insanity in front of me? Should this man enter my house?”
22 So David left there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of his father’s family 1 learned about it, they went down there to him. 2 All those who were in trouble or owed someone money or were discontented 2 gathered around 3 him, and he became their leader. He had about four hundred men with him.
3 Then David went from there to Mizpah in Moab, where he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother stay 4 with you until I know what God is going to do for me.” 4 So he had them stay with the king of Moab; they stayed with him the whole time 5 that David was in the stronghold. 5 Then Gad the prophet said to David, “Don’t stay in the stronghold. Go to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
6 But Saul found out the whereabouts of David and the men who were with him. 6 Now Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree at an elevated location with his spear in hand and all his servants stationed around him. 7 Saul said to his servants who were stationed around him, “Listen up, you Benjaminites! Is Jesse’s son giving fields and vineyards to all of you? Or is he making all of you 7 commanders and officers? 8 8 For all of you have conspired against me! No one informs me 9 when my own son makes an agreement with this son of Jesse! Not one of you feels sorry for me or informs me that my own son has commissioned my own servant to hide in ambush against me, as is the case today!”
9 But Doeg the Edomite, who had stationed himself with the servants of Saul, replied, “I saw this son of Jesse come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. 10 He inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions. He also gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11 Then the king arranged for a meeting with the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and all the priests of his father’s house who were at Nob. They all came to the king. 12 Then Saul said, “Listen, son of Ahitub.” He replied, “Here I am, my lord.” 13 Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and this son of Jesse? You gave 10 him bread and a sword and inquired of God on his behalf, so that he opposes 11 me and waits in ambush, as is the case today!”
14 Ahimelech replied to the king, “Who among all your servants is faithful like David? He is the king’s son-in-law, the leader of your bodyguard, and honored in your house! 15 Was it just today that I began to inquire of God on his behalf? Far be it from me! The king should not accuse 12 his servant or any of my father’s house. For your servant is not aware of all this – not in whole or in part!” 13
16 But the king said, “You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house! 17 Then the king said to the messengers 14 who were stationed beside him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, for they too have sided 15 with David! They knew he was fleeing, but they did not inform me.” But the king’s servants refused to harm 16 the priests of the Lord.
18 Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike down the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests. He killed on that day eighty-five 17 men who wore the linen ephod. 19 As for Nob, the city of the priests, he struck down with the sword men and women, children and infants, oxen, donkeys, and sheep – all with the sword.
20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech son of Ahitub escaped and fled to David. His name was Abiathar. 21 Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew that day when Doeg the Edomite was there that he would certainly tell Saul! I am guilty 18 of all the deaths in your father’s house! 23 Stay with me. Don’t be afraid! Whoever 19 seeks my life is seeking your life as well. You are secure with me.”
23 They told David, “The Philistines are fighting in Keilah and are looting the threshing floors.” 2 So David asked the Lord, “Should I go and strike down these Philistines?” The Lord said to David, “Go, strike down the Philistines and deliver Keilah.”
3 But David’s men said to him, “We are afraid while we are still here in Judah! What will it be like if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” 4 So David asked the Lord once again. But again the Lord replied, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.”
5 So David and his men went to Keilah and fought the Philistines. He took away their cattle and thoroughly defeated them. 1 David delivered the inhabitants of Keilah.
6 Now when Abiathar son of Ahimelech had fled to David at Keilah, he had brought with him an ephod. 2 7 When Saul was told that David had come to Keilah, Saul said, “God has delivered 3 him into my hand, for he has boxed himself into a corner by entering a city with two barred gates.” 4 8 So Saul mustered all his army to go down to Keilah and besiege David and his men. 5
9 When David realized that Saul was planning to harm him, 6 he told Abiathar the priest, “Bring the ephod!” 10 Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, your servant has clearly heard that Saul is planning 7 to come to Keilah to destroy the city because of me. 11 Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down as your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, please inform your servant!”
Then the Lord said, “He will come down.” 12 David asked, “Will the leaders of Keilah deliver me and my men into Saul’s hand?” The Lord said, “They will deliver you over.”
13 So David and his men, who numbered about six hundred, set out and left Keilah; they moved around from one place to another. 8 When told that David had escaped from Keilah, Saul called a halt to his expedition. 14 David stayed in the strongholds that were in the desert and in the hill country of the desert of Ziph. Saul looked for him all the time, 9 but God did not deliver David 10 into his hand. 15 David realized 11 that Saul had come out to seek his life; at that time David was in Horesh in the desert of Ziph.
16 Then Jonathan son of Saul left and went to David at Horesh. He encouraged him 12 through God. 17 He said to him, “Don’t be afraid! For the hand of my father Saul cannot find you. You will rule over Israel, and I will be your second in command. Even my father Saul realizes this.” 18 When the two of them had made a covenant before the Lord, David stayed on at Horesh, but Jonathan went to his house.
19 Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon? 20 Now at your own discretion, 13 O king, come down. Delivering him into the king’s hand will be our responsibility.”
21 Saul replied, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me. 22 Go and make further arrangements. Determine precisely 14 where he is 15 and who has seen him there, for I am told that he is extremely cunning. 23 Locate precisely all the places where he hides and return to me with dependable information. 16 Then I will go with you. If he is in the land, I will find him 17 among all the thousands of Judah.”
24 So they left and went to Ziph ahead of Saul. Now David and his men were in the desert of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon. 25 Saul and his men went to look for him. 18 But David was informed and went down to the rock and stayed in the desert of Maon. When Saul heard about it, he pursued David in the desert of Maon. 26 Saul went on one side of the mountain, while David and his men went on the other side of the mountain. David was hurrying to get away from Saul, but Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men so they could capture them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul saying, “Come quickly, for the Philistines have raided the land!”
28 So Saul stopped pursuing David and went to confront the Philistines. Therefore that place is called Sela Hammahlekoth. 19 29 20 Then David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of En Gedi.