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1 Samuel 21 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

David Flees to Nob

21 David went to the priest Ahimelech at Nob. Ahimelech was afraid to meet David, so he said to him, “Why are you alone and no one is with you?”

David answered the priest Ahimelech, “The king gave me a mission, but he told me, ‘Don’t let anyone know anything about the mission I’m sending you on or what I have ordered you to do.’ I have stationed my young men at a certain place. Now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever can be found.”

The priest told him, “There is no ordinary bread on hand. However, there is consecrated bread, but the young men may eat it[a] only if they have kept themselves from women.”

David answered him, “I swear that women are being kept from us, as always when I go out to battle. The young men’s bodies[b] are consecrated even on an ordinary mission, so of course their bodies are consecrated today.” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, for there was no bread there except the Bread of the Presence that had been removed from the presence of the Lord. When the bread was removed, it had been replaced with warm bread.

One of Saul’s servants, detained before the Lord, was there that day. His name was Doeg the Edomite, chief of Saul’s shepherds.

David said to Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword on hand? I didn’t even bring my sword or my weapons since the king’s mission was urgent.”

The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it, for there isn’t another one here.”

“There’s none like it!” David said. “Give it to me.”

David Flees to Gath

10 David fled that day from Saul’s presence and went to King Achish of Gath. 11 But Achish’s servants said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Don’t they sing about him during their dances:

Saul has killed his thousands,
but David his tens of thousands?”

12 David took this to heart and became very afraid of King Achish of Gath, 13 so he pretended to be insane in their presence. He acted like a madman around them,[c] scribbling[d] on the doors of the city gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

14 “Look! You can see the man is crazy,” Achish said to his servants. “Why did you bring him to me? 15 Do I have such a shortage of crazy people that you brought this one to act crazy around me? Is this one going to come into my house?”

Footnotes:

  1. 21:4 DSS; MT omits may eat it
  2. 21:5 Lit vessels
  3. 21:13 Lit madman in their hand
  4. 21:13 LXX reads drumming
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

1 Samuel 21 New International Version (NIV)

David at Nob

21 [a]David 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?”

David 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. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.”

But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.”

David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever[b] I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” So 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.

Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd.

David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.”

The 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

10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But 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’?”

12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane 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.

14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am 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?”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 21:1 In Hebrew texts 21:1-15 is numbered 21:2-16.
  2. 1 Samuel 21:5 Or from us in the past few days since
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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