1 Samuel 21:1–9
Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” And David answered the priest, “Truly 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 an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but 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.
Now 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 herdsmen.
Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.” And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.”
That little middle paragraph about Doeg is essential to events to come. Here we learn his name and his position in the service of Saul. The fact that he was there is ominous. He’s the key to what happens next.
And what happens next is horrible. Doeg will report to Saul everything he heard and saw. Saul will have Ahimelech and every one of the priests there killed for the “crime” of helping David. David will be so shaken by this that he will write Psalm 52 about it.
But make no mistake; this is David’s fault. He lied to Ahimelech about why he was there. He was most definitely not there on the king’s business.
Ahimelech never knew what hit him.
One problem with lies is that the unintended consequences are incalculable. Who could have imagined that David’s “storyline” would lead to a massacre. He got off scot-free with his fabrication over why he wasn’t at the table with Saul, so he may have felt emboldened to break God’s commandments willy-nilly.
“Son, in thirty-five years of religious study, I've come up with only two hard, incontrovertible facts; there is a God, and, I'm not Him.” — Father Cavanaugh (in the movie Rudy)
David still has some simple truths to learn.
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Scripture taken from the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.