21 David went to the priest Ahimelech at Nob. Ahimelech trembled with fear when he met him. He asked David, “Why are you alone? Why isn’t anyone with you?”
2David answered the priest Ahimelech, “The king gave me a special job to do. He said to me, ‘I don’t want anyone to know what I’m sending you to do. So don’t say anything about it.’ I’ve told my men to meet me at a certain place. 3Do you have anything for us to eat? Give me five loaves of bread, or anything else you can find.”
4But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any bread that isn’t holy. I only have some holy bread here. But it’s for men who haven’t made love to women recently.”
5David replied, “Well, we haven’t made love to women recently. That’s the way it is every time I lead my men out to battle. We keep ourselves holy even when we do jobs that aren’t holy. And that’s even more true today.”
6So the priest gave him the holy bread. It was the only bread he had. It had been removed from the table that was in front of the Lord. On the same day, hot bread had been put in its place.
7One of Saul’s servants was there that day. He had been made to stay at the holy tent for a while. He was Doeg from Edom. He was Saul’s chief shepherd.
8David asked Ahimelech, “Don’t you have a spear or sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon. That’s because the king’s business had to be done right away.”
9The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath, the Philistine, is here. You killed him in the Valley of Elah. His sword is wrapped in a cloth. It’s behind the sacred linen apron. If you want it, take it. It’s the only sword here.”
David said, “There isn’t any sword like it. Give it to me.”
10That day David ran away from Saul. He went to Achish, the king of Gath. 11But the servants of Achish spoke to him. They said, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one the Israelites sing about when they dance? They sing,
“ ‘Saul has killed thousands of men.
David has killed tens of thousands.’ ”
12David paid close attention to what the servants were saying. He became very much afraid of what Achish, the king of Gath, might do. 13So he pretended to be out of his mind when he was with them. As long as he was in Gath, he acted like someone who was crazy. He made marks on the doors of the city gate. He let spit run down his beard.
14Achish said to his servants, “Just look at the man! He’s out of his mind! Why are you bringing him to me? 15Don’t I have enough crazy people around me already? So why do you have to bring this fellow here? Just look at how he’s carrying on in front of me! Why do you have to bring this man into my house?”
About New International Reader’s Version (1998)
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