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David at the Cave of Adullam
1David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father's house heard it, they went down there to him. 2And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.
3And David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab. And he said to the king of Moab, "Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me." 4And he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him all the time that David was in the stronghold. 5Then the prophet Gad said to David, "Do not remain in the stronghold; depart, and go into the land of Judah." So David departed and went into the forest of Hereth.
Saul Kills the Priests at Nob
6Now Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men who were with him. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree on the height with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him. 7And Saul said to his servants who stood about him, "Hear now, people of Benjamin; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, 8that all of you have conspired against me? No one discloses to me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse. None of you is sorry for me or discloses to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day." 9Then answered Doeg the Edomite, who stood by the servants of Saul, "I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, 10and he inquired of the Lord for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine."
11Then the king sent to summon Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father's house, the priests who were at Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12And Saul said, "Hear now, son of Ahitub." And he answered, "Here I am, my lord." 13And Saul said to him, "Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?" 14Then Ahimelech answered the king, "And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? 15Is today the first time that I have inquired of God for him? No! Let not the king impute anything to his servant or to all the house of my father, for your servant has known nothing of all this, much or little." 16And the king said, "You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father's house." 17And the king said to the guard who stood about him, "Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand also is with David, and they knew that he fled and did not disclose it to me." But the servants of the king would not put out their hand to strike the priests of the Lord. 18Then the king said to Doeg, "You turn and strike the priests." And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod. 19And Nob, the city of the priests, he put to the sword; both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword.
20But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22And David said to Abiathar, "I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father's house. 23Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping."
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The Slaughter of the Priests
1 # Ps 57 Title; Ps 142 Title David fled from the city of Gath and went to a cave near the town of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of the family heard that he was there, they joined him. 2People who were oppressed or in debt or dissatisfied went to him, about four hundred men in all, and he became their leader.
3David went on from there to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother come and stay with you until I find out what God is going to do for me.” 4So David left his parents with the king of Moab, and they stayed there as long as David was hiding out in the cave.
5Then the prophet Gad came to David and said, “Don't stay here; go at once to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
6One day Saul was in Gibeah, sitting under a tamarisk tree on a hill, with his spear in his hand, and all his officers were standing around him. He was told that David and his men had been located, 7and he said to his officers, “Listen, men of Benjamin! Do you think that David will give fields and vineyards to all of you, and make you officers in his army? 8Is that why you are plotting against me? Not one of you told me that my own son had made an alliance with David. No one is concerned about me or tells me that David, one of my own men, is right now looking for a chance to kill me, and that my son has encouraged him!”
9 # 1 S 21.7-9; Ps 52 Title Doeg was standing there with Saul's officers, and he said, “I saw David when he went to Ahimelech son of Ahitub in Nob. 10Ahimelech asked the Lord what David should do, and then he gave David some food and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11So King Saul sent for the priest Ahimelech and all his relatives, who were also priests in Nob, and they came to him. 12Saul said to Ahimelech, “Listen, Ahimelech!”
“At your service, sir,” he answered.
13Saul asked him, “Why are you and David plotting against me? Why did you give him some food and a sword, and consult God for him? Now he has turned against me and is waiting for a chance to kill me!”
14Ahimelech answered, “David is the most faithful officer you have! He is your own son-in-law, captain of#22.14: Some ancient translations captain of; Hebrew he turned to. your bodyguard, and highly respected by everyone in the royal court. 15Yes, I consulted God for him, and it wasn't the first time.#22.15: Yes, I consulted … time; or Now, have I done something wrong today by consulting God for him? Not at all! As for plotting against you, Your Majesty must not accuse me or anyone else in my family. I don't know anything about this matter!”
16The king said, “Ahimelech, you and all your relatives must die.” 17Then he said to the guards standing near him, “Kill the Lord's priests! They conspired with David and did not tell me that he had run away, even though they knew it all along.” But the guards refused to lift a hand to kill the Lord's priests. 18So Saul said to Doeg, “You kill them!”—and Doeg killed them all. On that day he killed eighty-five priests who were qualified to carry the ephod. 19Saul also had all the other inhabitants of Nob, the city of priests, put to death: men and women, children and babies, cattle, donkeys, and sheep—they were all killed.
20But Abiathar, one of Ahimelech's sons, escaped, and went and joined David. 21He told him how Saul had slaughtered the priests of the Lord. 22David said to him, “When I saw Doeg there that day, I knew that he would be sure to tell Saul. So I am responsible#22.22: Some ancient translations I am responsible; Hebrew I have turned. for the death of all your relatives. 23Stay with me and don't be afraid. Saul wants to kill both you and me, but you will be safe with me.”