David Eludes Saul’s Pursuit – Bible Story

David Takes the Consecrated Bread

(1 Samuel 21:1-15)

Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said to him, Why are you alone, and no man with you? And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king has commanded me a business, and has said to me, Let no man know any thing of the business about which I send you, and what I have commanded you: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. Now therefore what is under your hand? give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or what there is present. And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under my hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. And David answered the priest, and said to 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, yes, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the show bread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.

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 most chief of the herdsmen that belonged to Saul.

And David said to Ahimelech, And is there not here under your hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought 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 slew 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 no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

David Flees to Gath

And David arose and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.

And the servants of Achish said to him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down on his beard. Then said Achish to his servants, See, you see the man is mad: why then have you brought him to me? Have I need of mad men, that you have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?

David Flees to Adullam and Mizpeh

(1 Samuel 22:1-2)

David therefore departed there, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves to him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

Saul Slays the Priests of Nob

(1 Samuel 22:6-23)
When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul stayed in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;) Then Saul said to his servants that stood about him, Hear now, you Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds; That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that shows me that my son has made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or shows to me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. And he inquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

Saul Slays the Priests of Nob
Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org CC BY-SA 3.0

Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king. And Saul said, Hear now, you son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. And Saul said to him, Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread, and a sword, and have inquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all your servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goes at your bidding, and is honorable in your house? Did I then begin to inquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing to his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for your servant knew nothing of all this, less or more. And the king said, You shall surely die, Ahimelech, you, and all your father’s house. And the king said to the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD: because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not show it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall on the priests of the LORD. And the king said to Doeg, Turn you, and fall on the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell on the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. And Abiathar showed David that Saul had slain the LORD’s priests. And David said to Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. Abide you with me, fear not: for he that seeks my life seeks your life: but with me you shall be in safeguard.

David Delivers Keilah

(1 Samuel 23:1-6)

Then they told David, saying, Behold, the Philistines fight against Keilah, and they rob the threshing floors. Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said to David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah. And David’s men said to him, Behold, we be afraid here in Judah: how much more then if we come to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? Then David inquired of the LORD yet again. And the LORD answered him and said, Arise, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand. 5So David and his men went to Keilah, and fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

And it came to pass, when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, that he came down with an ephod in his hand.

Saul Pursues David

(1 Samuel 23:7-29)

And it was told Saul that David was come to Keilah. And Saul said, God has delivered him into my hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that has gates and bars. And Saul called all the people together to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. And David knew that Saul secretly practiced mischief against him; and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring here the ephod. Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech you, tell your servant. And the LORD said, He will come down. Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver you up. Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, arose and departed out of Keilah, and went wherever they could go. And it was told Saul that David was escaped from Keilah; and he declined to go forth. And David stayed in the wilderness in strong holds, and remained in a mountain in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God delivered him not into his hand.

And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood. And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you; and you shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you; and that also Saul my father knows. And they two made a covenant before the LORD: and David stayed in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house.

Then came up the Ziphites to Saul to Gibeah, saying, Does not David hide himself with us in strong holds in the wood, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon? Now therefore, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part shall be to deliver him into the king’s hand. And Saul said, Blessed be you of the LORD; for you have compassion on me. Go, I pray you, prepare yet, and know and see his place where his haunt is, and who has seen him there: for it is told me that he deals very subtly. See therefore, and take knowledge of all the lurking places where he hides himself, and come you again to me with the certainty, and I will go with you: and it shall come to pass, if he be in the land, that I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah.

And they arose, and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain on the south of Jeshimon. Saul also and his men went to seek him. And they told David; why he came down into a rock, and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard that, he pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men compassed David and his men round about to take them. But there came a messenger to Saul, saying, Haste you, and come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. Why Saul returned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: therefore they called that place Selahammahlekoth. And David went up from there, and dwelled in strong holds at Engedi.

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