avid went on his way and Jonathan returned to town. David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the Priest. Ahimelech was alarmed as he went out to greet David: "What are you doing here all by yourself - and not a soul with you?"
David answered Ahimelech the Priest, "The king sent me on a mission and gave strict orders: 'This is top secret - not a word of this to a soul.' I've arranged to meet up with my men in a certain place.
Now, what's there here to eat? Do you have five loaves of bread? Give me whatever you can scrounge up!"
"I don't have any regular bread on hand," said the priest. "I only have holy bread. If your men have not slept with women recently, it's yours."
David said, "None of us has touched a woman. I always do it this way when I'm on a mission: My men abstain from sex. Even when it is an ordinary mission we do that - how much more on this holy mission."
So the priest gave them the holy bread. It was the only bread he had, Bread of the Presence that had been removed from God's presence and replaced by fresh bread at the same time.
One of Saul's officials was present that day keeping a religious vow. His name was Doeg the Edomite. He was chief of Saul's shepherds.
David asked Ahimelech, "Do you have a spear or sword of any kind around here? I didn't have a chance to grab my weapons. The king's mission was urgent and I left in a hurry."
The priest said, "The sword of Goliath, the Philistine you killed at Oak Valley - that's here! It's behind the Ephod wrapped in a cloth. If you want it, take it. There's nothing else here."
"Oh," said David, "there's no sword like that! Give it to me!"
When the servants of Achish saw him, they said, "Can this be David, the famous David? Is this the one they sing of at their dances? Saul kills by the thousand, David by the ten thousand!"
When David realized that he had been recognized, he panicked, fearing the worst from Achish, king of Gath.
So right there, while they were looking at him, he pretended to go crazy, pounding his head on the city gate and foaming at the mouth, spit dripping from his beard.
Achish took one look at him and said to his servants, "Can't you see he's crazy? Why did you let him in here?
Don't you think I have enough crazy people to put up with as it is without adding another? Get him out of here!"
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)