David left Gath and escaped to the cave1 of Adullam.2 When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there.
All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered3 around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.
From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, "Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?"
So he left them with the king of Moab,4 and they stayed with him as long as David was in the stronghold.
But the prophet Gad5 said to David, "Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.6
Now Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered. And Saul, spear in hand, was seated7 under the tamarisk8 tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing around him.
Saul said to them, "Listen, men of Benjamin! Will the son of Jesse give all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make all of you commanders9 of thousands and commanders of hundreds?
Is that why you have all conspired10 against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant11 with the son of Jesse.12 None of you is concerned13 about me or tells me that my son has incited my servant to lie in wait for me, as he does today."
But Doeg14 the Edomite, who was standing with Saul's officials, said, "I saw the son of Jesse come to Ahimelech son of Ahitub15 at Nob.1610
Ahimelech inquired17 of the LORD for him; he also gave him provisions18 and the sword19 of Goliath the Philistine."
Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and his father's whole family, who were the priests at Nob, and they all came to the king.
Saul said, "Listen now, son of Ahitub." "Yes, my lord," he answered.
Saul said to him, "Why have you conspired20 against me, you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today?"
Ahimelech answered the king, "Who21 of all your servants is as loyal as David, the king's son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard and highly respected in your household?
Was that day the first time I inquired of God for him? Of course not! Let not the king accuse your servant or any of his father's family, for your servant knows nothing at all about this whole affair."
But the king said, "You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and your father's whole family.22"
Then the king ordered the guards at his side: "Turn and kill the priests of the LORD, because they too have sided with David. They knew he was fleeing, yet they did not tell me." But the king's officials were not willing23 to raise a hand to strike the priests of the LORD.
The king then ordered Doeg, "You turn and strike down the priests."24 So Doeg the Edomite turned and struck them down. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.2519
He also put to the sword26 Nob,27 the town of the priests, with its men and women, its children and infants, and its cattle, donkeys and sheep.
But Abiathar,28 a son of Ahimelech son of Ahitub,29 escaped and fled to join David.3021
He told David that Saul had killed the priests of the LORD.
Then David said to Abiathar: "That day, when Doeg31 the Edomite was there, I knew he would be sure to tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your father's whole family.
Stay with me; don't be afraid; the man who is seeking your life32 is seeking mine also. You will be safe with me."