Old Testament

1 Samuel 22
Further Stops on David's Flight
221So David departed from there and escaped to the cave at Adullam. When his brothers and his father's entire household heard about it, they went down to join him there. 2Everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. There were about four hundred men with him.
3David went from there to Mizpah in Moab, and he said to the king of Moab, “Please let my father and mother come and stay with you, until I find out what God will do for me.” 4So he brought them to the king of Moab, and they stayed with him the whole time that David was in the stronghold.
5The prophet Gad said to David, “Do not stay in the stronghold. Leave and go to the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the Forest of Hereth.
The Massacre of the Priests
6Saul heard that David and the men with him had been located.
Saul was sitting under the tamarisk tree on an elevated location in Gibeah. He had his spear in his hand, and all his attendants were standing around him. 7Saul said to his attendants who were standing around him, “Listen, you Benjaminites! Will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all officers over thousands and officers over hundreds? 8So why have all of you conspired against me? Why is there no one who informs me when my son makes a covenant with the son of Jesse? Why is there not one of you who sympathizes with me or informs me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, so that he is waiting to ambush me, as he is today?”
9Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing beside Saul's attendants, replied, “I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelek son of Ahitub at Nob. 10The priest inquired of the Lord for him and gave him supplies and the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”
11Then the king summoned the priest, Ahimelek son of Ahitub, along with all of his father's house, that is, all the priests who were in Nob, and all of them came to the king. 12Saul said, “Listen, you son of Ahitub.”
He answered, “I am listening, my lord.”
13Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, by giving him bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he can rise up against me and lie in ambush, as he is doing today?”
14Then Ahimelek answered the king, “Who among all your servants is as faithful as David? He is the king's son-in-law, the head of your elite troops[] and is honored in your house. 15Have I just begun to inquire of God for him today? Certainly not! The king should not charge anything against his servant or against all the house of my father, for your servant knows nothing at all about this matter, in whole or in part.”
16The king said, “You shall certainly die, Ahimelek, you and all your father's house.” 17Then the king said to the bodyguards[] who were standing around him, “Turn and kill the priests of the Lord, because their hand too is with David. They knew that he was fleeing, but they did not inform me.”
But the attendants of the king would not raise a hand against the priests of the Lord.
18The king said to Doeg, “You turn and attack the priests!”
Doeg the Edomite turned and attacked the priests. On that day he killed eighty-five men who wore the special linen garment.[] 19He struck Nob, the city of the priests, with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing babies, as well as cattle, donkeys, and sheep, all of them with the edge of the sword. 20But one of the sons of Ahimelek son of Ahitub, whose name was Abiathar, escaped and fled to David.
21Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the Lord's priests.
22David said to Abiathar, “On that day when Doeg the Edomite was present, I knew without a doubt that he would tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of all the members of your father's house. 23Stay with me. Do not be afraid, for the one who seeks my life also seeks your life. You will be safe with me.”


  • 22:14 Literally those who listen to you
  • 22:17 Literally runners
  • 22:18 The Hebrew term ephod usually refers to the special vest worn by the high priest. Here it seems to refer to a type of garment worn by regular priests.