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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

Chapter 21

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1 b Heb in their hands David came to Nob to the priest Ahimelech. Ahimelech came trembling to meet David, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2David said to the priest Ahimelech, “The king has charged me with a matter, and said to me, ‘No one must know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment c Syr Vg: Heb come out with the young men for such and such a place. 3Now then, what have you at hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4The priest answered David, “I have no ordinary bread at hand, only holy bread—provided that the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5David answered the priest, “Indeed women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition; the vessels of the young men are holy even when it is a common journey; how much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the LORD, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.

7Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; his name was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul's shepherds. 8David said to Ahimelech, “Is there no spear or sword here with you? I did not bring my sword or my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste.” 9The priest said, “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 will take that, take it, for there is none here except that one.” David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

10David rose and fled that day from Saul; he went to King Achish of Gath. 11The servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances,

‘Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands’?”

12David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of King Achish of Gath. 13So he changed his behavior before them; he pretended to be mad when in their presence. d Heb and turns aside He scratched marks on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle run down his beard. 14Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is mad; why then have you brought him to me? 15Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

Notes:

d Heb in their hands

a Syr Vg: Heb come out

b Heb and turns aside

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