1 Samuel 22

David at Adullam and Mizpah

1 Then David left Gath and he went to a cave 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 trouble went to stay with David. People who had debts and those who were angry also went to him. About 400 men went to be with David and he became their leader.

22:1David's family was from the town of Bethlehem in the land that belonged to Judah's tribe. Adullam was between Gath and Bethlehem. So David was now returning to his home region.

3 David then went to Mizpah, a town in the land of 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 what God will do to help me.’ 4 So David left his parents to stay with the king of Moab. They stayed with the king all the time that David was hiding near there.

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

Saul kills Ahimelech's family at Nob

6 One day, Saul was on the hill near Gibeah. He was sitting under a tamarisk tree. He was holding a spear. All his officers stood round him. Then someone told Saul that they knew where David and his men were hiding. 7 Saul said to his officers, ‘Listen to me, you men of Benjamin's tribe. Do you really think that this son of Jesse will give fields and vineyards to all of you? Will he make you all officers and leaders in his army? No! 8 So why are you trying to deceive me? None of you told me when my own son promised to be a friend of this son of Jesse. You do not feel sorry for me. Now my son is helping one of my own servants to attack me! Yes, he is waiting for his chance to kill me!’

9 Doeg, the man from Edom, was standing there with Saul's officers. He said, ‘I saw that son of Jesse when he came to Nob town. He visited Ahitub's son, Ahimelech. 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 told his men to fetch Ahitub's son, Ahimelech, the priest. They also brought all his father's family who were priests at Nob. They all came to the king.

12 Saul said to Ahimelech, ‘Listen to me, son of Ahitub.’ Ahimelech answered, ‘I am listening, my king.’

13 Saul said to him, ‘You and this son of Jesse have been trying to kill me! You gave him bread and a sword. You prayed to God on his behalf. Now, at this moment, he is waiting for his chance to kill me!’

14 Ahimelech answered the king, ‘David is the most faithful servant that you have. He is your daughter's husband. He is the captain of the soldiers who keep you safe. Everyone in your house respects him. 15 I have often prayed to God on David's behalf. This was not the first time. King Saul, do not say that my family or I have done anything wrong. I do not know anything about what is happening.’

16 But King Saul said, ‘Ahimelech, you must die, together with all your family.’

17 Then the king said to the guards who were near him, ‘Now kill the Lord's priests! They have been helping David. They knew that he was running away from me. But they did not tell me.’ But the king's officers refused to hurt the Lord's priests.

18 So the king said to Doeg, ‘You must kill the priests.’ So Doeg, the man from Edom, killed the priests that same day. He killed 85 priests who wore linen ephods. 19 He also killed all the people in Nob, which was the town where the priests lived. He killed the men and women, children and babies. He also killed the cows, donkeys and sheep.

20 But one man called Abiathar escaped. He was one of Ahimelech's sons. Abiathar ran away to see David. 21 Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the Lord's priests. 22 David said to him, ‘When I went to see your father at Nob, Doeg was there too. I knew that he would tell Saul about me. So I have caused the death of everybody in your father's family. 23 Please 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.’