David at Nob
# In Hebrew texts 21:1-15 is numbered 21:2-16. 1David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, ‘Why are you alone? Why is no-one with you?’
2David answered Ahimelek the priest, ‘The king sent me on a mission and said to me, “No-one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.” As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. 3Now then, what have you to hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.’
4But the priest answered David, ‘I don’t have any ordinary bread to hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here – provided the men have kept themselves from women.’
5David replied, ‘Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever#21:5 Or from us in the past few days since I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!’ 6So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.
7Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd.
8David asked Ahimelek, ‘Don’t you have a spear or sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.’
9The priest replied, ‘The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.’
David said, ‘There is none like it; give it to me.’
David at Gath
10That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11But the servants of Achish said to him, ‘Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances:
‘ “Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands”?’
12David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13So he feigned insanity in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.
14Achish said to his servants, ‘Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?’