1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 21 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on 1 Samuel 21 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

When David fled from Saul and came to Nob the name of the high priest was Ahimelech. But in Mk.2:26, Jesus said his name was Abiathar.
What was the priest's name?
Was David alone when he came to Nob?
Ahimelech was also called Abiathar. He had a son called Abiathar, see chapter 22:20. It is not unusual in the Bible to see a father and a son having the same name. Two presidents of the United States were both called George Bush.
The author of the SAB asks if David was alone when he came to Nob. The answer is no. He came to Nob with his men. But after having arrived there, David came alone to Ahimelech. In answer to Ahimelech's question David explains that he left his servants nearby, see the next verse (verse 2). David took the bread and gave it to all, and all ate it.

2 And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.

3 Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.

4 And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.

(21:4-5) The priest tells David that he and his men can eat the "hallowed" bread if "they have kept themselves at least from women." David assures the priest that they have and that "the vessels of the young men are holy." So it'd be OK for them to eat the holy bread.
This seems to be a rule Ahimelech has made up himself. It is not found in scripture.

5 And David answered the priest, and said unto 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, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.

David sounds as if he was a bit irritated by the superstitious priest. As the bread would have been taken away today and be given to the priests and their families, it wasn't as holy as it was before. Besides, the rule of love is more than the ceremonial law as Jesus explains so therefore they could be eaten by others than the priests and families.

6 So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when 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 chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.

8 And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand 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 thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it 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 unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.

David does not act mad because he wants to be taken, but because he is afraid, see the previous verse. When king Achish lets him go, he fleds immediately (1 Sam. 22:1).

13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.

David acts like a crazy man, scribbles on the gates of Gath, and lets spit run down his beard. All this he did in front of Israel's enemies in the hopes that they would take him in and protect him from Saul.

14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?

15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?