Saul Takes Revenge on the Priests Who Helped David
1David went from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and all his father’s household#Or “family” heard, they came down to him there. 2Every man in distress and every man who had a creditor and every embittered man gathered to him, and he became their commander.#Literally “over them as commander” Now there were about four hundred men with him. 3And David went up from there to Mizpah of Moab. He said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and my mother stay#Literally “come/go out” with you until I know what God will do for me.” 4So he brought them before the king of Moab,#Literally “he led them into the presence of the king of Moab” and they stayed with him all the days David was in the stronghold.
5Then Gad the prophet said to David, “You should not stay in the stronghold; leave and go into the land of Judah.” So David left and came to the forest of Hereth. 6Now Saul heard that David and the men who were with him had been located. Saul was sitting at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree at Ramah. Now his spear was in his hand and all his servants were stationed around him. 7Then Saul said to the servants who were standing around him, “Please listen, Benjaminites!#Literally “children of Benjamin” Will the son of Jesse give you all fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds? 8For all of you have conspired against me, and no one discloses to me#Literally “there is no one revealing to my ear” the making#Literally “cutting” of an agreement between my son and the son of Jesse! None of you have had sympathy for me or disclosed to me#Literally “revealing to my ear” that my son commissioned my servant against me to ambush me#Literally “my son has raised my servant against me to an ambush” as has been done this day!”
9But Doeg the Edomite, who was stationed among the servants of Saul, answered and said, “I saw the son of Jesse going to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10And he inquired of Yahweh for him and gave him provisions and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.” 11So the king sent to summon Ahimelech the son of Ahitub the priest, and all his father’s household, the priests who were at Nob. So all of them came to the king. 12Saul said, “Listen please, son of Ahitub.” He said, “Here I am, my lord.” 13Then Saul said to him, “Why did you conspire against me, you and the son of Jesse, when you gave to him bread and a sword, and by inquiring of God for him so that he might arise against me to ambush me as has been done this day?” 14But Ahimelech answered the king and said, “And who among all your servants is as faithful as David? He is the son-in-law of the king who moves quickly to safeguard you and is honored in your house. 15Only today I began to inquire of God for him. Far be it from me that the king should impute anything against his servant#Literally “the king will not put against his servant a matter” or against my father’s household, for your servant has not known any of this matter, little or much.” 16Then the king said, “You must certainly die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s household!” 17So the king said to the runners who were stationed around him, “Turn and kill the priests of Yahweh, because they also support David#Literally “also their hand is with David” and because they knew that he was fleeing and did not disclose it to me.”#Literally “did not reveal it to his ear”; the Masoretic Hebrew text (Kethib) reads “his,” but the reading tradition (Qere) has “my” But the servants of the king were not willing to raise their hand to attack the priests of Yahweh. 18Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and attack the priests!” So Doeg the Edomite turned and attacked the priests himself, and on that day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod. 19And he put to the sword#Literally “he killed with the mouth of the sword” Nob, the city of the priests, from man to woman, from child to infant, and ox and donkey and sheep;#Or “goats”; literally, “small livestock animals” all to the sword.#Literally “with the mouth of the sword”
20But, one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, whose name was Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of Yahweh. 22Then David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day that Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would certainly tell Saul. I am responsible for the deaths of all your father’s household!#Literally “I have turned against all the life of your father’s house” 23Stay with me! Do not fear, because he who seeks my life seeks your life. You are in good care with me.”