David at Adullam and Mizpah
1David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. His brothers and the other members of his family heard about it. So they went down to join him there. 2 Everyone who was in trouble or owed money or was unhappy gathered around him. He became their commander. About 400 men were with him.
3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab. He spoke to the king of Moab. He said, “Please let my father and mother come and stay with you. Let them stay until I learn what God will do for me.” 4 So David left his parents with the king of Moab. They stayed with him as long as David was in his usual place of safety.
5 But the prophet Gad spoke to David. He said, “Don’t stay in your usual place of safety. Go into the land of Judah.” So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
Saul Kills the Priests at Nob
6 Saul heard that the place where David and his men were hiding had been discovered. Saul was sitting under a tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah. He was holding his spear. All his officials were standing at his side. 7 Saul said to them, “Men of Benjamin, listen to me! Do you think Jesse’s son will give all of you fields and vineyards? Do you think he’ll make some of you commanders of thousands of men? Do you think he’ll make the rest of you commanders of hundreds? 8 Is that why all of you have joined together against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with Jesse’s son. None of you is concerned about me. No one tells me that my son has stirred up Jesse’s son to hide and wait to attack me. But that’s exactly what’s happening now.”
9 Doeg was standing with Saul’s officials. He was from Edom. He said, “I saw Jesse’s son David come to Ahimelek at Nob. Ahimelek is the son of Ahitub. 10 Ahimelek asked the Lord a question for David. He also gave him food and the sword of Goliath, the Philistine.”
11 Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelek, the son of Ahitub. The king also sent for all the men in his family. They were the priests at Nob. All of them came to the king. 12 Saul said, “Son of Ahitub, listen to me.”
“Yes, master,” he answered.
13 Saul said to him, “Why have you and Jesse’s son joined together against me? Why did you give him bread and a sword? Why did you ask God a question for him? Now he has turned against me. He is hiding and waiting to attack me right now.”
14 Ahimelek answered the king, “David is faithful to you. In fact, he’s more faithful to you than anyone else who serves you. He’s your own son-in-law. He’s the captain of your own personal guards. He’s highly respected by everyone in your palace. 15 Was that day the first time I asked God a question for him? Of course not! Please don’t bring charges against me. Please don’t bring charges against anyone in my family. I don’t know anything at all about this whole matter.”
16 But the king said, “Ahimelek, you will certainly be put to death. You and your whole family will be put to death.”
17 Then the king gave an order to the guards at his side. He said, “Go and kill the priests of the Lord. They are on David’s side too. They knew he was running away from me. And they didn’t even tell me.”
But the king’s officials wouldn’t raise a hand to strike down the priests of the Lord.
18 Then the king ordered Doeg, “You go and strike down the priests.” So Doeg, the Edomite, went and struck them down. That day he killed 85 priests who wore linen aprons. 19 He also killed the people of Nob with his sword. Nob was a town where priests lived. Doeg killed its men and women. He killed its children and babies. He also destroyed its cattle, donkeys and sheep.
20 But Abiathar, a son of Ahimelek, escaped. Ahimelek was the son of Ahitub. Abiathar ran away and joined David. 21 He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 Then David said to Abiathar, “One day I was at Nob. I saw Doeg, the Edomite, there. I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. Your whole family has been killed. And I’m responsible for it. 23 So stay with me. Don’t be afraid. The man who wants to kill you wants to kill me too. You will be safe with me.”