1 Samuel 21


1 Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech trembled at meeting David and said to him, Why are you by yourself, and no man with you?

2 And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king sent me on an urgent matter, and said to me, Do not let anyone know anything of the business about which I send you, that I have commanded you: I have directed the young men to such and such a place. 3 And now what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread or whatever is found.


  • This was a lie.
  • David was running for his life from king Saul.
  • David had done nothing wrong. He had done everything right.
  • God was blessing David and Saul was jealous.

God is holy, compassionate, and practical


4 And the priest answered David and said, There is no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread; it may be eaten only if the young men have kept themselves from women. 5 And David answered the priest, and said to him, It’s true, women have been kept from us 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 set apart today in the vessel. 6 So the priest gave him holy bread: for there was no bread there except the showbread that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.


  • The only food available was the bread from the table of showbread in the tabernacle.
  • No unclean person was allowed to eat it.
  • David was running for his life.
  • He was hungry. He went to God’s house to get some food.
  • What better place to go for help? The priest gave him the only thing he had available, the holy bread.
  • Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, Behold, your disciples do what is not lawful to do on the sabbath day. But he said to them, Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those that were with him; 4 How he entered into the house of God, and ate the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, or for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
  • James 2:15 If a brother or sister is naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled without giving them those things which are needful to the body; what does it profit?
  • John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
  • John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; and he that believes on me will never thirst.


7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chief of the shepherds of Saul. 8 And David said to Ahimelech, And do you have a sword or a spear on hand? For I have not brought my sword or my weapons with me, because the king’s business was urgent. 9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in the cloak behind the ephod: if you will take that, take it: there is no other here except that. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

God alone is to be trusted


10 David arose and fled that day from the face of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. 11 And the servants of Achish said to him, Isn’t this David the king of the land? Did they not sing one to another of him in dances saying, Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands? 12 David took these words to heart, and was very afraid of Achish the king of Gath. 13 He changed his behavior before them, pretending to be insane in their hand, and scribbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spit fall down on his beard. 14 Then said Achish to his servants, Look, you see the man is showing his madness: why then have you brought him to me? 15 Do I have any lack of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?


  • Achish was no help to David.
  • God is our only safe place.
  • God gives health of mind.
  • Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the LORD; Cursed is the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD.
  • Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and do not lean to your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.
  • Mark 5:2 And when he came out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombsa man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 4 Because that he had been often bound with leg irons and chains, and the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the leg irons broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. …15 And they come to Jesus, and saw him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
  • 2Timothy 1:7 God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


                                         1 Samuel 22


God’s followers are persecuted by followers of evil


1 So David left there and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brothers and all of his father’s house heard of it, they went down there to him. 2 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: about four hundred men were with him.


  • God uses the lowly.
  • David began as a shepherd.
  • These distressed, discontented, and debtors will become the core of the nation when king Saul is gone.
  • David’s family is in jeopardy from King Saul.
  • 1Corinthians 1:26 For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
  • 1Samuel 2:8 He raises up the poor out of the dust, and lifts up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and he has set the world upon them.


3 David went from there to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said to the king of Moab, Please let my father and my mother come be with you, until I know what God will do for me. 4 And he settled them with the king of Moab: and they lived with him all the days that David was in the stronghold. 5 And the prophet Gad said to David, Do not stay in the stronghold; leave, go into the land of Judah. Then David left and came into the forest of Hareth. 6 When Saul heard that David had been seen, and the men that were with him, (now Saul was staying in Gibeah under a tamarisk tree in Ramah, with his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing by him;) 7 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: 8 But all of you have conspired against me. No one revealed to me that my son has made a covenant with the son of Jesse, and none of you is sorry for me, or shows me that my son has stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?


  • Saul bribed loyalty from the people with fields, vineyards, and military commissions.
  • Then he threatened them. The words ‘conspired against me,’ is a threat to inspire fear.
  • Then Saul whined that no one is sorry for him.
  • And finally accused his own son of treachery against him.
  • Jonathan had not conspired against Saul. David was not lying in wait to kill Saul.
  • David will lead the nation in truth, in faith, in obedience, and in worship of God.
  • As ruler of Israel he gave the people many of the Psalms. He gave them the bread of life—Jesus Christ who gives us all eternal life.


9 Then Doeg the Edomite, who was over the servants of Saul answered and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub. 10 And he inquired of the LORD for him, gave him food, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. 11 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 all of them came to the king. 12 And Saul said, Listen now, son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. 13 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 asked of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day? 14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, Who is so faithful among all your servants as David, who is the king’s son in law, and turns aside to your counsel, and is honorable in your house? 15 Did I inquire of God for him? Far be it from me: do not let the king impute such a thing to his servant, or to all the house of my father: for your servant knew nothing about all of this, great or small.


  • David is innocent of all this; the priests are innocent of all this.
  • King Saul is wrong.
  • Because of David’s devotion to God, he was Saul’s most loyal servant, fighting Israel’s battles while Saul hunted him down.


16 And the king said, You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and all your father’s house. 17 And the king said to the footmen that stood about him, Turn, kill the priests of the LORD because their hand 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 out their hand to fall on the priests of the LORD. 18 Then the king said to Doeg, You turn, fall on the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell on the priests, and killed eighty-five persons that day that wore a linen ephod.


  • The linen ephod was the priest garment.
  • God is worth dying for. He died for us.
  • John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.

19 And Nob, the city of the priests, he struck with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen, asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword. 20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech, the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to David. 21 Abiathar showed David that Saul had killed the LORD’s priests. 22 And David said to Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I am accountable for the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me, do not fear: for he that seeks my life seeks your life: you will be kept safe with me.


  • This slaughter of the 85 priests by Doeg happened in Gibeah.
  • Then Saul sent and had the whole city of Nob wiped out.
  • David took responsibility for this horrible slaughter but king Saul ordered it and Doeg did it.
  • What a vivid picture of the hearts of Saul, Doeg, and David.
  • These last words, ‘with me you shall be kept safe’ is a beautiful allusion to God with us—how He keeps us safe under His protection.
  • 2Timothy 3:12… all that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
  • Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.



                                        1 Samuel 23


God gives perfect advice


1 Then they told David, Behold, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are plundering the threshing-floors. 2 So David inquired of the LORD saying, Shall I go and strike these Philistines? And the LORD said to David, Go, strike down the Philistines and deliver Keilah. 3 And David’s men said to him, Look, we are afraid here in Judah: how much more if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines? 4 Then David asked of the LORD again. And the LORD answered him and said, Get up, go down to Keilah; for I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.


  • Jeremiah 32:19 Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for your eyes are open on all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:


5 So David and his men went to Keilah, fought with the Philistines, brought away their livestock, and struck them down with a great slaughter. David saved the inhabitants of Keilah. 6 And when Abiathar the son of Ahimelech fled to David to Keilah, he came down with an ephod in his hand. 7 And Saul was told that David had come to Keilah. And Saul said, God has delivered him into my hand. He is trapped by entering a town that has gates and bars.


  • Notice that Saul claims that God is on his side, but the scriptures say that God had departed from Saul.
  • Do not be deceived by what people say about themselves. Watch what they do.
  • Saul killed a whole city of innocent priests.


8 Saul called all the people together to war to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. 9 But David knew that Saul was plotting evil against him and he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring the ephod here. 10 Then David said, O LORD God of Israel, your servant has definitely heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah, to destroy the city because of me. 11 Will the masters of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? O LORD God of Israel, please tell your servant. And the LORD said, He will come down. 12 Then David said, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver you up. 13 Then David and his men, which were about six hundred, got up and left Keilah, and went wherever they could go. And Saul was told that David was escaped from Keilah; and he stopped pursuit.


  • Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and do not lean unto your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.


14 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 did not deliver him into his hand. 15 And David saw that Saul came out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in the woods. 16 And Jonathan, Saul’s son, got up and went to David into the woods, and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, Do not fear: for the hand of Saul, my father, will not find you; and you will reign over Israel, and I will be next to you; Saul, my father, knows it is so. 18 And both of them made a covenant before the LORD: and David lived in the woods, and Jonathan went to his house.


  • Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.


19 Then the Ziphites came up to Saul to Gibeah saying, David is hiding himself with us in strong holds in the woods, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon? 20 Now, O king, come down according to all the desire of your soul to come down; and our part will be to deliver him into the king’s hand. 21 And Saul said, You are blessed of the LORD; for you have compassion on me.


  • Again, Saul was talking like God’s servant but behaving like God’s enemies.


22 Please go make sure, know, see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there: for I am told he deals very subtly. 23 See and note all the hiding places where he hides himself, and come again to me with certainty, and I will go with you: and if he is in the land I will search him out throughout all the thousands of Judah. 24 So they got up and went to Ziph before Saul: but David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the plain south of Jeshimon. 25 When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David: and he went down to the rock, and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. When Saul heard that, he chased David in the wilderness of Maon. 26 Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: David hurried to get away for fear of Saul; for Saul and his men surrounded David and his men to take them. 27 But a messenger came to Saul saying, Hurry, come; for the Philistines have invaded the land. 28 So Saul turned from pursuing after David, and went against the Philistines: so they called that place Sela-hammahlekoth/the rock of divisions. 29 And David left there, and dwelt in strong holds at En-gedi.


  • Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
  • Psalm 18:50 Great deliverance he gives to his king; and shows mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.



                                        1 Samuel 24


1 When Saul returned from following the Philistines he was told, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men on the front of the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the folds of the flocks on the way, and there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. 4 David’s men of said to him, Behold the day that the LORD said to you, Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as seems good to you. Then David got up and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe secretly. 5 Afterward, David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.


  • 1John 3:20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.


6 And he said to his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the anointed of the LORD. 7 So David held back his servants with these words, and did not allow them to rise against Saul. And Saul got up out of the cave, and went on his way.


  • It would have been easy for David to rationalize killing Saul as the solution to all his problems.
  • But that wouldn’t be doing it God’s way or waiting on God’s timing.
  • If David were the ruler of the nation it would be right to kill Saul because Saul killed a whole city of priests for no reason.
  • But David is not king yet nor does he stand in God’s place as the ultimate judge.
  • Jeremiah 32:19 Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for your eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:
  • Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD tries the hearts.


8 David rose up afterward and went out of the cave, and called after Saul saying, My lord the king! And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and prostrated himself. 9 And David said to Saul, Why do you listen to men’s words saying, Behold, David seeks to hurt you? 10 Today your eyes have seen that the LORD had delivered into my hand in the cave: some urged me to kill you: but I had pity on you; I said, I will not put out my hand against my lord; for he is the LORD’s anointed. 11 Look my father, yes, see the skirt of your robe in my hand: I cut off the skirt of your robe and did not kill you, know and see that there is no evil or transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against you; yet you hunt my soul to take it.


  • Matthew 3:15… it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.


God is the judge; He avenges


12 The LORD judge between you and me, and the LORD avenge me of you: but my hand will not be on you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, Wickedness proceeds from the wicked: but my hand will not be on you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog, after one flea. 15 Therefore the LORD be judge, and judge between me and you, and see, and plead my cause, and vindicate me out of your hand.


  • God pleads the cause of the innocent.
  • He delivers out of the hand of the enemy.
  • Proverbs 22:23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
  • Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord.


16 When David finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, Is this your voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17 And he said to David, You are more righteous than I: you have rewarded me good and I have rewarded you evil. 18 And you have showed today how you have dealt well with me: for the LORD delivered me into your hand, but you did not kill me. 19 If a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away well? The LORD reward you good for you have done good to me this day. 20 Now, behold, I definitely know that you will be king, and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 Therefore swear now to me by the LORD, that you will not cut off my seed after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house. 22 So David swore to Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men went up to the stronghold.


  • Deuteronomy 24:16 The fathers are not to be put to death for the children, neither are the children be put to death for the fathers: every man will be put to death for his own sin.
  • Psalm 58:11 there is a reward for the righteous: truly he is a God that judges in the earth.




SUMMARY: 1 Samuel 21-24

  • God is holy, compassionate, and practical
  • God alone is to be trusted
  • God's people are persecuted by those that follow evil
  • The LORD gives perfect advice
  • God is the judge of all
  • He avenges