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1 Samuel 21 International Children’s Bible (ICB)

David Goes to See Ahimelech

21 David went to Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech shook with fear when he saw David. He asked David, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”

David answered him, “The king gave me a special order. He told me, ‘No one must know about the work I am sending you to do. And no one must know what I told you to do.’ I told my men where to meet me. Now, what food do you have with you? Give me five loaves of bread or anything you find.”

The priest said to David, “I don’t have any plain bread here. But I do have some holy bread[a] here. You may eat it if your men have kept themselves from women.”

David answered, “Women have been kept from us. My men always keep their bodies holy, even when we do ordinary work. And this is especially true when the work is holy.”

There was no bread except the bread made holy for the Lord. So the priest gave David the bread that showed the people were in the presence of God. This was the bread the priests had taken from the holy table before the Lord. Each day they took this bread away and put hot bread in its place.

Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day. He had been held there before the Lord. He was Doeg the Edomite, the chief of Saul’s shepherds.

David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or sword here? The king’s business was very important. I had to leave quickly, and I didn’t bring my sword or any other weapon.”

The priest answered, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine is here. He is the one you killed in the Valley of Elah. His sword is wrapped in a cloth. It is behind the holy vest. If you want it, you may take it. There’s no other sword here but that one.”

David said, “There is no other sword like Goliath’s. Give it to me.”

David Goes to Gath

10 That day David ran away from Saul. He went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “This is David king of the Israelites. He’s the man the Israelite women sing about when they dance. They sing:

‘Saul has killed thousands of his enemies.
    But David has killed tens of thousands.’”

12 David paid attention to these words. And he was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in front of Achish and his servants. While he was with them, he acted like a madman. He made marks on the doors of the gate. He let spit run down his beard.

14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He’s insane! Why do you bring him to me? 15 I have enough madmen. I don’t need you to bring him here to act like this in front of me! Don’t leave him in my house!”

Footnotes:

  1. 21:4 holy bread This was the bread that showed the people were in the presence of God. Normally only the priests should eat this bread.
International Children’s Bible (ICB)

The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.

1 Samuel 21 New International Version (NIV)

David at Nob

21 [a]David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, “Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?”

David answered Ahimelek the priest, “The king sent me on a mission and said to me, ‘No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.’ As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place. Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.”

But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here—provided the men have kept themselves from women.”

David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever[b] I set out. The men’s bodies are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the Lord and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.

Now one of Saul’s servants was there that day, detained before the Lord; he was Doeg the Edomite, Saul’s chief shepherd.

David asked Ahimelek, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.”

The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.”

David said, “There is none like it; give it to me.”

David at Gath

10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. 11 But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances:

“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
    and David his tens of thousands’?”

12 David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. 13 So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.

14 Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? 15 Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? Must this man come into my house?”

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 21:1 In Hebrew texts 21:1-15 is numbered 21:2-16.
  2. 1 Samuel 21:5 Or from us in the past few days since
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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