1 Samuel 21

David goes to the town of Nob

1 David went to visit Ahimelech the priest. He lived in the town of Nob. Ahimelech shook with fear when he saw David. He asked David, ‘Why are you alone? Why is nobody with you?’

21:1David went three kilometres (two miles) to the town of Nob. The priests now lived in Nob because the Philistines had destroyed Shiloh.
21:1Ahimelech was the leader of the priests at that time. He was the great-grandson of Eli the priest.

2 David answered, ‘The king has asked me to do something special. He said to me, “Do not tell anyone where I have sent you. Do not say what I have told you to do.” So I have sent my soldiers to wait for me at a certain place. 3 Do you have anything to eat here? Give me five loaves of bread or anything else that you have.’

4 The priest answered David, ‘I do not have any ordinary bread that I can give to you. There is only the special holy bread. You can take it for your men to eat only if they have not had sex with women.’

5 David replied, ‘We have not been near women since we left our homes. The young men always keep themselves clean, even on ordinary journeys. So for today's important journey, they will certainly be clean.’

6 So the priest gave the holy bread to David because he did not have any other bread. This was the bread which had been on the table in the Lord's tent. The priest would take it from there each day and he would put hot, fresh bread in its place.

7 One of Saul's servants was there that day. His name was Doeg. He came from Edom. He was the leader of Saul's shepherds. He was staying in Nob to make offerings to the Lord.

8 David asked the priest, Ahimelech, ‘Is there any sword or spear here that I could take? The king sent me quickly to do an important job. So I left home without my sword or any other weapon.’

9 Ahimelech answered, ‘The sword of Goliath the Philistine is here. After you killed him in the valley of Elah, we kept the sword here. We covered it with a cloth and we put it behind the ephod. If you want it, you can take it. We do not have any other weapon except that one.’

David said, ‘Give it to me. There is no sword as good as that one.’

David goes to Gath

10 So on that day, David escaped from Saul. He went to Gath and he visited King Achish there. 11 The servants of King Achish said to him, ‘This man is David, the king of his country! The people sing this song about him when they dance:

“Saul has killed thousands of his enemies.

But David has killed tens of thousands of his enemies.” ’

21:11See 1 Samuel 18:7.

12 David thought carefully about what King Achish's servants were saying. It caused him to be very afraid of Achish, king of Gath. 13 So when David was with them, he pretended to be crazy. He made marks with his fingers on the doors of the city's gate. He let water run out of his mouth and go down his beard.

14 King Achish said to his servants, ‘Look at this man! He is completely crazy! Why did you bring him to me? 15 I have enough fools around me already. I do not need to see this crazy man as well. Keep him away from my house.’