And the priest answered David, and said, [there is] no
bread under mine hand
In the tabernacle, though he might have such in his own house; which was common for any man to eat of, even such as were not priests; but he had none there, and David was in haste to be gone because of Doeg, and could not stay till such was fetched:
but there is hallowed bread;
such as was devoted to sacred use. Kimchi's father thinks this was the bread of the thank offering, to which Ben Gersom inclines; otherwise the Jewish writers in general understand it of the shewbread; and it is clear it was that from ( 1 Samuel 21:6 ) and from what our Lord says, ( Matthew 12:4 ) . Now this the priest had under his hand, being just taken off of the shewbread table, and was the perquisite of the priests; and which, though it was not lawful for any but priests to eat of, yet in this case of necessity he seemed willing to give it to David and his men, on this condition: if the young men have kept themselves at least from women; from their wives or others, and from any pollution by them, in any way or manner; but as this was also only of a ceremonial kind, it might as well have been dispensed with, had this been the case, as the other.