David went to see Ahimelek, the priest at Nob. Ahimelek asks him why he had come by himself. David told him that he was sent on a mission by the king. David asked the priest for some loaves of bread. Ahimelek told him that he did not have any regular bread. He told him that he only had some consecrated bread that was for men that had not been with any women.
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David’s Visit with Ahimelek
He reassured the priest that all of the men’s bodies remained holy when they set out on any kind of mission. Ahimelek then gave David the bread that was consecrated. A servant (Doeg the Edomite) of Saul was there the day David arrived. God had detained him there. The servant was the chief shepherd for Saul.
David then asked the priest if he had a sword or spear. He said that he did not bring any weapon because the mission for the king had been quite urgent. Ahimelek told David the only sword he had was the one that had belonged to the Goliath, the one you had killed in the Elah Valley. David told the priest to give it to him.
David at Gath
After David fled from Saul, he went to see Achish, the king of Gath. The servants asked David if he was the one that had slain tens of thousands. They told David that they sang and danced about how he had killed many. David then became very fearful of the king of Gath and, as a result, he acted like he was insane in front of them.
While David was in Gath, he behaved like a crazy man and made marks on the gate doors and also let saliva dribble down his beard. The king wanted to know why his servants had brought David, this madman, to meet with him and waste his time.
1 Samuel 21 (King James Version)
2 And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.
3 Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.
4 And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.
5 And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.
6 So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.
8 And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.
9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.
11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.
14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?
15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?