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1 Samuel 21:1–15

David and the Holy Bread

21 1 Then David came to vNob, to wAhimelech the priest. And Ahimelech xcame 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 yholy bread—zif 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 ythe holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, awhich 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 bDoeg 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, c“The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in dthe 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.”

David Flees to Gath

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

‘Saul has struck down his thousands,

and David his ten thousands’?”

12 And David gtook these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. 14 Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

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1 Samuel 20:1–23:29

Jonathan Warns David

20 Then David fled from Naioth min Ramah and came and said before Jonathan, “What have I done? What is my guilt? And what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” And he said to him, “Far from it! You shall not die. Behold, my father does nothing either great or small without disclosing it to me. And why should my father hide this from me? It is not so.” But David vowed again, saying, “Your father knows well that nI have found favor in your eyes, and he thinks, ‘Do not let Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved.’ But truly, oas the Lord lives and pas your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death.” Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.” David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is qthe new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, rthat I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening. sIf your father misses me at all, then say, ‘David earnestly asked leave of me to run tto Bethlehem his city, for there is a yearly usacrifice there for all the clan.’ If he says, ‘Good!’ it will be well with your servant, but if he is angry, then know that vharm is determined by him. Therefore deal kindly with your servant, wfor you have brought your servant into a covenant of the Lord with you. xBut if there is guilt in me, kill me yourself, for why should you bring me to your father?” And Jonathan said, “Far be it from you! If I knew that vit was determined by my father that harm should come to you, would I not tell you?” 10 Then David said to Jonathan, “Who will tell me if your father answers you roughly?” 11 And Jonathan said to David, “Come, let us go out into the field.” So they both went out into the field.

12 And Jonathan said to David, “The Lord, the God of Israel, be witness!1 When I have sounded out my father, about this time tomorrow, or the third day, behold, if he is well disposed toward David, shall I not then send and disclose it to you? 13 But should it please my father to do you harm, ythe Lord do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. zMay the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father. 14 If I am still alive, show me the steadfast love of the Lord, that I may not die; 15 aand do not cut off2 your steadfast love from my house forever, when the Lord cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” 16 And Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, b“May3 the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies.” 17 And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, cfor he loved him as he loved his own soul.

18 Then Jonathan said to him, d“Tomorrow is the new moon, and eyou will be missed, because fyour seat will be empty. 19 On the third day go down quickly to the place where you hid yourself when the matter was in hand, and remain beside the stone heap.4 20 And I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a mark. 21 And behold, I will send the boy, saying, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you, take them,’ then you are to come, for, gas the Lord lives, it is safe for you and there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the youth, h‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then go, for the Lord has sent you away. 23 iAnd as for the matter of which you and I have spoken, behold, jthe Lord is between you and me forever.”

24 So David hid himself in the field. And when the new moon came, the king sat down to eat food. 25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite,5 and Abner sat by Saul’s side, kbut David’s place was empty.

26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. lHe is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on mthe second day, the day after the new moon, kDavid’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, n“David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.”

30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, o“Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 pBut Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew qthat his father was determined to put David to death. 34 

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