David went to Nob,1 to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled2 when he met him, and asked, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?"
References for 1 Samuel 21:1
David answered Ahimelech the priest, "The king charged me with a certain matter and said to me, 'No one is to know anything about your mission and your instructions.' 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 bread3 on hand; however, there is some consecrated4 bread here--provided the men have kept5 themselves from women."
References for 1 Samuel 21:4
David replied, "Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual6 whenever I set out. The men's things are holy7 even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!"
References for 1 Samuel 21:5
So the priest gave him the consecrated bread,8 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.
References for 1 Samuel 21:6
Now one of Saul's servants was there that day, detained before the LORD; he was Doeg9 the Edomite,10 Saul's head shepherd.
References for 1 Samuel 21:7
David asked Ahimelech, "Don't you have a spear or a sword here? I haven't brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king's business was urgent."
The priest replied, "The sword11 of Goliath12 the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah,13 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."
References for 1 Samuel 21:9
That day David fled from Saul and went14 to Achish king of Gath.
References for 1 Samuel 21:10
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'?"15
References for 1 Samuel 21:11
David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath.
So he pretended to be insane16 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.
References for 1 Samuel 21:13
Achish said to his servants, "Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me?
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?"