1 Samuel 22


David Flees to a Cave in Adullam

      • So David left there and took refuge in the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and the rest of his family heard about it, they went and joined him there. Also, all those who were in trouble, or owed a debt, or were just discontented gathered around him and he became their commander. About 400 men were with him.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Adullam was some sixteen miles southwest of Jerusalem, near Philistine territory. Had David’s brothers and all his other relatives stayed in Bethlehem, they would have been vulnerable to Saul’s revenge. By attracting such down-and-out people to himself, David foreshadowed Jesus, who would attract to himself the hurting, the burdened, and the outcast (Matt 11:25-30).”

David Flees to Mizpeh in Moab

      • From there David went to Mizpeh in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Please let my mother and father stay with you until I know what God will do for me.” So he left them with the king of Moab and they stayed with him the entire time that David was in the stronghold. But Gad, the prophet, told David, “Don’t stay in the stronghold. Go to the land of Judah.” So David left and went into the forest of Hereth.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Mizpeh in Moab lay east of the Dead Sea and the Jordan River- not an easy trip from Adullam, especially if 400 men accompanied David. The prophet Gad was David’s special adviser (2 Sam 24:11). God was no longer communicating with Saul but was guiding David.”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible adds, “David’s reception by the Moabite king may be related to David’s Moabite ancestry through Ruth (Ru 4:13-17).” (Ruth was Jesse’s [David’s father] grandmother.)

Saul Massacres the Priests at Nob

      • Saul heard that David and the men that were with him had been located. Now Saul was sitting, spear in hand, under the tamarisk tree on the hill in Gibeah, with all his servants standing around him. Saul said to his servants, “Listen up you Benjaminites! Will Jesse’s son give you all fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders over thousands and over hundreds? Is that why you’ve all conspired against me? No one informed me when my own son made a covenant with Jesse’s son. Not one of you feels sorry for me or tells me that my own son has incited my own servant against me, to lie in wait, as he does today.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Saul was suspicious of his own tribesmen, believing that David had bought their loyalty. Worse, Saul did not even trust his own son, convinced that he had joined the supposed )conspiracy.”

        • Guzik takes a slightly different understanding, “Saul appealed to the truly worst in these men, asking them if a man from Judah will favor the tribe of Benjamin with riches and promotions.”

      • Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing next to Saul’s servants, said, “I saw Jesse’s son come to Ahimelech, son of Ahitub, at Nob. He inquired of Yahweh for him, gave him provisions, and also gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

        • Guzik notes, “This man was last seen in 1 Samuel 21:7 in Nob, at the tabernacle at the same time David came there. Doeg implicated the priest Ahimelech as David’s accomplice…”

      • Then the king sent for Ahimelech, son of Ahitub, and all the men of his family, who were the priests at Nob. They all came. Saul said, “Listen son of Ahitub.” And he answered, “Yes, my lord.” Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and Jesse’s son? You gave him bread and a sword and inquired of God for him, so that he has risen up against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today.” Ahimelech answered, “Who among all your servants is as faithful as David? He’s the king’s son-in-law, captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house. Was it only today that I began to inquire of God for him? No! The king should not accuse your servant, or any of my father’s family, because your servant has not been aware of any of this.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “David had deceived Ahimelech into thinking he was on a mission for Saul (21:1-9), so Saul’s accusations of conspiracy were baseless.”

        • Guzik adds, “Ahimelech told the exact truth. When David came to Ahimelech, the priest questioned him carefully (Why are you alone, and no one is with you, 1 Samuel 21:1)…Ahimelech was so unaware of the hatred Saul has for David that he praised David before the jealous king: ‘And who among all your servants is as faithful as David.’”

      • The king replied, “You will surely die Ahimelech. You and your father’s whole family.” Then the king ordered the guards standing next to him, “Turn and kill the priests of Yahweh because they have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, but they didn’t tell me.” But the king’s servants refused to harm the priests of Yahweh.

        • Guzik remarks, “Saul was reluctant to kill the enemies of the LORD when he was commanded to (1 Samuel 15:9). But he wasn’t reluctant to murder the priests of the LORD in cold blood. Saul is clearly going off the deep end…To their credit, Saul’s servants feared God more than Saul and they refused to murder the priests.”

      • So the king told Doeg, “You turn and kill the priests.” So Doeg the Edomite turned and killed the priests. That day he killed 85 men who wore the linen ephod. As for Nob, the city of the priests, Doeg killed all the men and women, children and infants, ox, donkeys, and sheep, with the sword.

        • HCSB notes, “How many priests did Doeg kill? Ancient authorities provide three figures for the death toll in the slaughter at Nob: the Hebrew text gives 85, the Septuagint 305, and Josephus 385. The difference suggests that a scribal error affected one or more ancient textual traditions. The weight of tradition stands in favor of the Hebrew reading in the Mts.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “As a non-Israelite, Doeg had no concern for the sanctity of God-anointed priests. He knew he was executing innocent men. This evil foreigner partially fulfilled the prophecy about the condemned priestly line of Eli (2:27-34; see 1 Kgs 2:27). This incident illustrates how mad Saul had become. Not even those holding a sacred office were safe. Saul had been unwilling to carry out God’s orders to destroy completely the Amalekites and their possessions (15:3, 9). Yet now, in his rage, he did not hesitate to decimate the priests’ families and their possessions (see Prov 14:29; 16:14; 27:4).”

      • However, Abiathar, one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, escaped and fled to David. Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of Yahweh. Then David told Abiathar, “I knew that day when Doeg the Edomite was there that he would surely tell Saul. I am guilty for the deaths of your whole family. Stay with me and don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me also. You will be safe with me.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “Abiathar became an adviser to David, providing guidance from the Lord through the ephod (23:2-12; 2 Sam 15:24-36). Later, he conspired with Adonijah against David and Solomon (1 Kgs 1-2).”

        • Guzik adds, “David could not do anything about the priests who were already murdered. He confessed his guilt in the matter and sought forgiveness from the LORD. Now, all he can do is minister to the need in front of him – Abiathar, the surviving priest.”