21
David Goes to Nob
(21:1)#sn Beginning with 20:42b, the verse numbers through 21:15 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 20:42b ET = 21:1 HT, 21:1 ET = 21:2 HT, 21:2 ET = 21:3 HT, etc., through 21:15 ET = 21:16 HT. With 22:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same. Then David#tn Heb “he”; the referent (David) has been specified in the translation for clarity. got up and left, while Jonathan went back to the city. 1 (21:2) David went to Ahimelech the priest in Nob. Ahimelech was shaking with fear when he met#tn Heb “trembled to meet.” David, and said to him, “Why are you by yourself with no one accompanying you?” 2 David replied to Ahimelech the priest, “The king instructed me to do something, but he said to me, ‘Don’t let anyone know the reason I am sending you or the instructions I have given you.’#tn Heb “let not a man know anything about the matter [for] which I am sending you and [about] which I commanded you.” I have told my soldiers#tn Heb “servants.” to wait at a certain place.#tn The Hebrew expression here refers to a particular, but unnamed, place. It occurs in the OT only here, in 2 Kgs 6:8, and in Ruth 4:1, where Boaz uses it to refer to Naomi’s unnamed kinsman-redeemer. A contracted form of the expression appears in Dan 8:13. 3 Now what do you have at your disposal?#tn Heb “under your hand.” Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found.”
4 The priest replied to David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread at my disposal. Only holy bread is available, and then only if your soldiers#tn Heb “servants.” have abstained from sexual relations with women.”#tn Heb “have kept themselves from women” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV “haven’t had sexual relations recently”; NLT “have not slept with any women recently.” 5 David said to the priest, “Certainly women have been kept away from us, just as on previous occasions when I have set out. The soldiers’#tn Heb “servants’.” equipment is holy, even on an ordinary journey. How much more so will they be holy today, along with their equipment!”
6 So the priest gave him holy bread, for there was no bread there other than the bread of the Presence. It had been removed from before the Lord in order to replace it with hot bread on the day it had been taken away. 7 (One of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord. His name was Doeg the Edomite, who was in charge of Saul’s shepherds.) 8 David said to Ahimelech, “Is there no sword or spear here at your disposal? I don’t have my own sword or equipment in hand due to the urgency of the king’s instructions.”
David Goes to Gath
9 The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the valley of Elah, is wrapped in a garment behind the ephod. If you wish, take it for yourself. Other than that, there’s nothing here.” David said, “There’s nothing like it! Give it to me!” 10 So on that day David arose and fled from Saul. He went to King Achish of Gath. 11 The servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one that they sing about when they dance, saying,
‘Saul struck down his thousands,
But David his tens of thousands’?”
12 David thought about what they said#tn Heb “placed these matters in his heart.” and was very afraid of King Achish of Gath. 13 He altered his behavior in their presence.#tn Heb “in their eyes.” Since he was in their power,#tn Heb “in their hand.” he pretended to be insane, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting his saliva run down his beard.
14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at this madman! Why did you bring him to me? 15 Do I have a shortage of fools, that you have brought me this man to display his insanity in front of me? Should this man enter my house?”
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