1 Samuel 21
David fled to the High Priest at Nob and starving he asked for bread.
1 Samuel 21:1 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? 21:2 And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.
Clearly David was accompanied by soldiers who were loyal to God and to David, who was God’s anointed but not yet crowned, king of Israel.
21:3 Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. 21:4 And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.
David points out that the bread, now removed from the tables of the Lord was in a manner common, no longer being on the table before God.
We must understand that David had been fleeing from Saul for three days without food and they were weak and about to be overtaken and murdered because of their hunger.
21:5 And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. 21:6 So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
Doeg was there to worship God; but he was a servant of Saul who valued the immediate physical reward promised by Saul more than he valued obedience to God.
21:7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.
David asked the high priest for a weapon, and is given the sword of Goliath.
21:8 And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste. 21:9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.
David fled to the Philistines but becomes greatly afraid when his identity is made known. Here David has a crisis of faith and we need to learn from this episode to trust in our Mighty One and not to fail in our faith no matter what our fears. David made many mistakes in his life, but when he became aware of them he repented quickly and deeply.
The degree of a person’s conversion can be judged by how quickly and how sincerely they repent:
1. How zealous we are to learn and to keep the whole Word of God.
2. How quickly we repent when a sin becomes known to us.
3. How sincerely and thoroughly we repent, so that the sin is not repeated; or whether we take the satanic position of justifying and excusing our sin.
21:10 And David arose and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. 21:11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king [by this time everyone in the region knew that David was the anointed king of Israel] of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? 21:12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
David plays the mad man to save himself from the superstitious Philistines; in this fearing these wicked men more than he trusted in the deliverance of God. Surely David learned a hard lesson that day when he, the anointed king, slinked away in disgrace.
Brethren, the issue in our lives is not whether we have problems or breakdowns of faith: All people have problems and trials of faith!
The issue is how we deal with our missteps!
Do we destroy our spiritual house by justifying ourselves to protect our pride in ourselves and our own ways? Or do we build up our spiritual character house, by sincerely and carefully considering our sins and then deeply sincerely repenting, grinding our personal pride to powder before our God and resolving with all our hearts to go and sin no more with God’s help?
21:13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. 21:14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me? 21:15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?
1 Samuel 22
1 Samuel 22:1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.
22:2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.
David’s parents were given a safe haven in Moab, and the downtrodden gathered around David. Indeed even today it is mostly the downtrodden that are called to gather themselves to God the Father and Jesus Christ, see the parable of the wedding in Matthew 22.
22:3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me. 22:4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.
God warned David by his prophet Gad to leave his redoubt. When we wait upon God to do as he wills; all things work together for God’s glory and for our good.
22:5 And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.
Saul then offers great rewards to his tribe of Benjamin if they would kill David. When we are zealously faithful to God, Satan does all that he can to destroy our faith and zeal and to turn us aside from qualifying to replace himself.
22:6 When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;) 22:7 Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;
Doeg then betrays David and the high priest to Saul.
22:8 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 22:9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 22:10 And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.
Then Saul called the priests and the high priest and his family to come to him.
22:11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king. 22:12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.
Saul accused the high priest of conspiring against the king.
22:13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?
The high priest pleads ignorance of the dispute between Saul and David.
22:14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house? 22:15 Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.
Saul then commanded that the high priest and his family be put to death.
22:16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.
No man of Israel dared to commit this terrible sin of destroying the godly, no not even at the fear of his own life from the king.
Satan tries his very best to destroy the spiritually faithful; and he may destroy the flesh, but he cannot destroy the spirit unless we allow him to turn us aside into rebellion against any part of the whole Word of God. We are to be zealously faithful to God the Father and Jesus Christ unto our physical death, and if we are, Jesus Christ will raise us up to spirit on that day.
22:17 And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD: because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD.
The Edomite then obeyed the king
Remember that Edom [Esau] despised the birthright of his calling to sell it for a bowl of stew. Will we also despise the birthright of our calling to be priests and kings for eternity in order to exalt men as our idols in place of the Word of God?
22:18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons [85 priests] that did wear a linen ephod.
Then the Edomite utterly destroyed all the priests, and all that lived in Nob the city of the priests.
If we turn aside from passionately faithfully following every Word of God to obey wicked and deceitful rulers of men, exalting them above the Word of God, we shall be destroyed spiritually. If we are faithful unto godliness to the very death like these priests who were destroyed physically, we shall be raised from the grave of death into life eternal.
22:19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.
Only one escaped to become the next High Priest and a fellow with David and because of this outrageous act of the king, the priests in the other cities of Israel and the people turned to prefer David above Saul.
22:20 And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. 22:21 And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD’s priests.
David pledges to protect Abiathar
22:22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house. 22:23 Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.