1 Samuel 22

David at Adullam and Mizpah

1 David left Gath and he went to a big hole in the rock near Adullam. His brothers and his father's family discovered where he had gone. So they all went to visit him. 2 Everybody who had troubles went to David. Everybody who had debts also went to him. And everyone who was not happy went to him. About 400 men went to David and he became their leader.

22:2David's family was from the town of Bethlehem (16:1) in the country that belonged to the tribe of Judah. Adullam was half way between Gath and Bethlehem. So, David was now returning to his home region.

3 David then went to the town called Mizpah. It was in the country called Moab. David said to the king of Moab, ‘Please let my father and my mother stay with you for a short time. I need to learn how God will help.’ 4 So David left his parents with the king of Moab. They stayed with the king all the time that David hid in the safe place.

5 Gad the prophet said to David, ‘Do not stay in the safe place. Go to the land of Judah.’ So, David left the safe place and he went to the forest at Hereth.

Saul kills Ahimelech's family at Nob

6 Then people told Saul that someone had found David and his men. Saul was on the hill near Gibeah. He was sitting under a large tree. He was holding a spear. All his officers stood round him. 7 Saul said to them, ‘Men from the tribe of Benjamin, listen to me. And understand what I say. The son of Jesse will not give fields and vineyards to you. He will not make you officers of men in his army. 8 So I do not know why you have decided to go against me. Nobody tells me when my son says a special promise with the son of Jesse. Nobody thinks about what could happen to me. Nobody tells me that my son is now against me. He has agreed that one of my servants should kill me.’

9 But Doeg, from the country called Edom, was standing with Saul's officers. Doeg said, ‘I saw the son of Jesse. He came to the town called Nob and he visited Ahimelech. Ahimelech is the son of Ahitub. 10 Ahimelech asked the Lord what David should do. Then he gave some food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine to David.’

11 Then King Saul asked them to bring to him the priest Ahimelech, son of Ahitub. And with him, they brought all his brothers and their families. They were priests. And they lived in the town called Nob. They all came to the king. 12 Saul said, ‘Listen to me, son of Ahitub.’

Ahimelech answered, ‘Yes, master.’

13 Saul said to him, ‘You and the son of Jesse seem to be trying to kill me! You gave bread and a sword to him. You prayed to God on his behalf. He does not obey me. Now he is even waiting to attack me.’

14 Ahimelech answered, ‘David is the most loyal servant that you have. He is your daughter's husband. He is the captain of the men who keep you safe. Everyone in your family gives honour to him.

15 I have prayed to God on David's behalf many times in past times. This was not the first time. King Saul, do not say that my family or I have done anything wrong. We do not know anything about what is happening.’

16 King Saul said, ‘Ahimelech, you and all your brothers and their families must die.’

17 Then the king said to the officers who were round him, ‘Go and kill the priests of the Lord. They are helping David. They knew that he was running away from me. But they did not tell me.’

But the king's officers refused to attack the priests of the Lord.

18 So the king said to Doeg, ‘Go and kill the priests.’ So, Doeg from Edom went and he killed the priests. He killed 85 priests who wore their linen ephods. 19 He also killed all the people in the town called Nob, which was the town of the priests. He killed the men and women, children and babies. He also killed the cows, donkeys and sheep.

20 But the king did not catch Abiathar. He was a son of Ahimelech (who was the son of Ahitub). Abiathar ran away and he met David. 21 Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 David said to him, ‘When I went to the town called Nob, Doeg was there too. I knew that he would tell Saul about me. I have caused the death of everybody who lives in your father's house. 23 Stay here with me. Do not be afraid. Saul wants to kill you and he wants to kill me too. You will be safe with me.’