1 Samuel 21:1

1 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech[a] the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

1 Samuel 21:1 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 21:1

Then came David to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest
The high priest, as Abarbinel rightly calls him; he was the brother of Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, who being dead he succeeded him; though some say F1 he was the same; see ( 1 Samuel 14:3 ) ( 22:9 ) ; who was now at Nob, the tabernacle being there, whither probably it was removed by Saul, and where and at Gibeon, according to the Jews F2, it continued fifty seven years; as in the times of Joshua it was in Shiloh, in the tribe of Ephraim, of which tribe he was; and in the times of David it was placed in the tribe of Judah, to which he belonged; so in the times of Saul it was in Nob, a city of his tribe, twelve miles from Gibeah, according to Bunting F3; for that it was in the tribe of Benjamin appears by its being mentioned along with Anathoth, ( Nehemiah 11:32 ) ; and according to Jarchi and Kimchi F4 it was near Jerusalem, and so near that it might be seen from thence; some say they are the same F5; Jerom F6 speaks of it as near Diospolis or Lydda. David, before he departed further off, was willing to see the tabernacle once more, and there worship his God, and inquire of him by the high priest, as he did, ( 1 Samuel 22:10 ) ; to direct him what way he should take, and that he would prosper and succeed him in it, grant him his presence, and keep him in safety:

and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David;
hearing that he was come or coming, he went out to meet him, but when he saw him alone he trembled; especially if he had heard of his having fallen under the displeasure of Saul, and that he now fled from him, therefore he might fear that he should fall into disgrace and danger should he entertain him:

and he said unto him, why [art] thou alone, and no man with thee?
he might well wonder at it, and put such a question, seeing he was so great a man, both in the court and camp, and the king's son in law; he might therefore reasonably suspect something more than ordinary was the case, and which occasioned his fears.


F1 Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 76. H.
F2 Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Zebachim, c. 14. sect. 7.
F3 Travels p. 136.
F4 Comment. in lsa. x. 32.
F5 Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 8. 1.
F6 Epitaphium Paulae, fol. 59. A.

1 Samuel 21:1 In-Context

1 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?
2 And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.
3 Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.
4 And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.
5 And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Ahimelech: also called, called Ahiah
The King James Version is in the public domain.