The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 21

At Nob, David obtains hallowed bread from Ahimelech, 1-6. Doeg is present, 7. David takes Goliath's sword, 8, 9. At Gath, David feigns himself mad, 10-15.

1 Then David came 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?" 2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, "The king has commanded me a business and has said to me, 'Let no man know anything 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.' 3 Now therefore, what is under your hand? Give me five loaves of bread in my hand, or what there is present." 4 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." 5 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 common manner, even though it was sanctified this day in the vessel." 6 So the priest gave him hallowed bread, for there was no bread there but the show-bread, which was taken from before the LORD and replaced with hot bread on the day 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 chief of the herdsmen who belonged to Saul.

8 And David said to Ahimelech, "And is there not here under your hand a 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 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 except that here." And David said, "There is none like that. Give it to me."

10 And David arose and fled that day for fear of Saul and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, "Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, saying,

'Saul has slain his thousands,/
and David his tens of thousands?'"

12 And David laid up these words in his heart and was greatly afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 And he changed his behavior before them and feigned himself mad in their hands, scrabbling on the doors of the gate and letting his spittle fall down upon 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 Have I need of mad-men that you have brought this man to play the mad-man in my presence? Shall this man come into my house?"


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Samuel, Chapter 21[➚]


[v.3-6] - Reference, Matthew 12:3-4; Mark 2:25-26; Luke 6:3-4.

[v.9] - Reference, 1st Samuel 17:50-51.

[v.11] - Reference, 1st Samuel 18:7.