1 Samuel 22

1 David left there and took refuge in the Cave of 'Adulam. When his brothers and the rest of his father's family heard of it, they went down to see him there.
2 Then all the people in distress, in debt or embittered began gathering around him, and he became their leader; there were about four hundred with him.
3 David went from there to Mitzpeh of Mo'av and said to the king of Mo'av, "Please let my father and mother come and stay with you until I know what God will do for me."
4 He presented them to the king of Mo'av, and they lived with him as long as David remained in his stronghold.
5 But the prophet Gad said to David, "Don't stay in the stronghold. Leave, and go to the land of Y'hudah." So David left and went to the Forest of Heret.
6 Sha'ul heard that David and the men with him had been located. Sha'ul was sitting in Giv'ah, under the tamarisk tree on the hill, with his spear in his hand and all his servants standing around him.
7 Sha'ul said to his servants standing around him, "Listen, you men of Binyamin! Is Yishai's son going to give any of you fields and vineyards? Is he going to make you all commanders of thousands and hundreds?
8 Is this why you have all conspired against me, why none of you told me when my son went in league with Yishai's son? None of you is concerned about me! Otherwise you would have told me that my son had incited my servant to become my enemy, as he is now."
9 Then Do'eg the Edomi, who had been put in charge of Sha'ul's servants, answered,"I saw Yishai's son come to Nov, to Achimelekh the son of Achituv.
10 He consulted ADONAI for him, gave him food and gave him the sword of Golyat the P'lishti."
11 The king sent to summon Achimelekh the cohen the son of Achituv, along with all his father's family, the cohanim in Nov; and all of them went to the king.
12 Sha'ul said, "Listen here, you son of Achituv!" He answered, "Here I am, my lord."
13 Sha'ul said to him, "Why did you conspire against me, you and Yishai's son? By giving him bread and a sword and consulting God for him, you helped him rebel against me and become my enemy, which he now is!"
14 Achimelekh answered the king, "Is there anyone among all your servants more trustworthy than David? He's the king's son-in-law, he carries out your every request, your household honors him.
15 I didn't start consulting God for him just today. Heaven forbid! The king shouldn't accuse me or my father's family of anything! Your servant knows nothing at all about any of this!"
16 But the king said, "You must die, you and your father's whole family."
17 Then the king told the guards standing around him, "Go around, and kill the cohanim of ADONAI, because they are siding with David, and because they knew he was escaping, yet they didn't tell me." But the king's servants refused to lift their hands against the cohanim of ADONAI.
18 So the king said to Do'eg, "You go around and kill the cohanim!" Do'eg the Edomi went around and fell on the cohanim; that day he killed eighty-five persons wearing linen ritual vests.
19 He also attacked Nov, the city of the cohanim, with the sword; he put to the sword both men and women, children and babies, cattle, donkeys and sheep.
20 One of the sons of Achimelekh the son of Achituv, named Avyatar, escaped and fled to join David.
21 Avyatar told David that Sha'ul had killed the cohanim of ADONAI.
22 David said to Avyatar, "I knew it! That day, when Do'eg the Edomi was there, I knew he would tell Sha'ul. I caused the death of every person in your father's family.
23 Stay with me; don't be afraid; because the one who is seeking my life seeks yours too. You'll be safe with me."

1 Samuel 22 Commentary

Chapter 22

David at Adullam, Many resort to him. (1-5) Saul destroys the priests of Nob. (6-19) Abiathar escapes to David. (20-23)

Verses 1-5 See what weak instruments God sometimes uses, to bring about his own purposes. The Son of David is ready to receive distressed souls, who will be commanded by him. He receives all who come unto Him, however vile and miserable; he changes them into a holy people, and employs them in his service: those who would reign with him must be contented first to suffer with and for him. Observe with what tender concern David provided for his aged parents. The first thing he does is to find them a quiet habitation, whatever became of himself. Let children learn to honour their parents, in every thing consulting their ease and satisfaction. Though highly preferred, and much employed, let them not forget their aged parents. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. And the Lord will preserve his people for their appointed work, however they may be hated and exposed.

Verses 6-19 See the nature of jealous malice and its pitiful arts. Saul looks upon all about him as his enemies, because they do not just say as he says. In Ahimelech's answer to Saul we have the language of conscious innocence. But what wickedness will not the evil spirit hurry men to when he gets the dominion! Saul alleges that which was utterly false and unproved. But the most bloody tyrants have found instruments of their cruelty as barbarous as themselves. Doeg, having murdered the priests, went to the city, Nob, and put all to the sword there. Nothing so vile but those may do it, who have provoked God to give them up to their hearts' lusts. Yet this was the accomplishment of the threatenings against the house of Eli. Though Saul was unrighteous in doing this, yet God was righteous in permitting it. No word of God shall fall to the ground.

Verses 20-23 David greatly lamented the calamity. It is great trouble to a good man to find himself any way the cause of evil to others. He must have been much pained, when he considered that his falsehood was one cause of this fatal event. David speaks with assurance of his own safety, and promises that Abiathar should have his protection. With the Son of David, all who are his may be sure they shall be in safeguard, ( Psalms 91:1 ) . In the hurry and distraction David was continually in, he found time for communion with God, and found comfort in it.

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives us an account of the flight of David from place to place, from Gath to the cave of Adullam, where his relations came to him; from thence to Mizpeh in Moab, where he got leave of the king of Moab for his father and mother to dwell there; and from thence, by the advice of Gad the prophet, departed into the land of Judah, and came to the forest of Hareth, 1Sa 21:1-5; and of the complaint of Saul to his servants of their unfaithfulness to him, and indolence and unconcern at the behaviour of Jonathan and David to him, 1Sa 22:6-8; when Doeg the Edomite informed him of David being seen by him at Nob, and of his receiving food and a sword from Ahimelech the priest, who inquired of the Lord for him, 1Sa 22:9,10; upon which Saul sent for Ahimelech and all the priests at Nob, and charged them with a conspiracy against him; and notwithstanding the defence the priest made, Saul ordered him and the rest of the priests to be slain by his guards; which they refusing, Doeg became the executioner of them, and of all the inhabitants of the city of Nob, and the cattle in it, 1Sa 22:11-19; only Abiathar a son of Ahimelech escaped and fled to David with the sorrowful news; which greatly affected David, looking upon himself to be the occasion of this sad disaster, and he took Abiathar under his protection, and promised him safety, 1Sa 22:20-23.

1 Samuel 22 Commentaries

Complete Jewish Bible Copyright 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.