1 Samuel 22

1 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and other relatives heard that he was there, they went to see him.
2 Everyone who was in trouble, or who owed money, or who was unsatisfied gathered around David, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.
3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and spoke to the king of Moab. He said, "Please let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God is going to do for me."
4 So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was hiding in the stronghold.
5 But the prophet Gad said to David, "Don't stay in the stronghold. Go to the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth.
6 Saul heard that David and his men had been seen. Saul was sitting under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, and all his officers were standing around him. He had a spear in his hand.
7 Saul said to them, "Listen, men of Benjamin! Do you think the son of Jesse will give all of you fields and vineyards? Will David make you commanders over thousands of men or hundreds of men?
8 You have all made plans against me! No one tells me when my son makes an agreement with the son of Jesse! No one cares about me! No one tells me when my son has encouraged my servant to ambush me this very day!"
9 Doeg the Edomite, who was standing there with Saul's officers, said, "I saw the son of Jesse. He came to see Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob.
10 Ahimelech prayed to the Lord for David and gave him food and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine."
11 Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and for all of Ahimelech's relatives who were priests at Nob. And they all came to the king.
12 Saul said to Ahimelech, "Listen now, son of Ahitub." Ahimelech answered, "Yes, master."
13 Saul said, "Why are you and Jesse's son against me? You gave him bread and a sword! You prayed to God for him. David has turned against me and is waiting to attack me even now!"
14 Ahimelech answered, "You have no other servant who is as loyal as David, your own son-in-law and captain of your bodyguards. Everyone in your house respects him.
15 That was not the first time I prayed to God for David. Don't blame me or any of my relatives. I, your servant, know nothing about what is going on."
16 But the king said, "Ahimelech, you and all your relatives must die!"
17 Then he told the guards at his side, "Go and kill the priests of the Lord, because they are on David's side. They knew he was running away, but they didn't tell me." But the king's officers refused to kill the priests of the Lord.
18 Then the king ordered Doeg, "Go and kill the priests." So Doeg the Edomite went and killed the priests. That day he killed eighty-five men who wore the linen holy vest.
19 He also killed the people of Nob, the city of the priests. With the sword he killed men, women, children, babies, cattle, donkeys, and sheep.
20 But Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, who was the son of Ahitub, escaped. He ran away and joined David.
21 He told David that Saul had killed the Lord's priests.
22 Then David told him, "Doeg the Edomite was there at Nob that day. I knew he would surely tell Saul. So I am responsible for the death of all your father's family.
23 Stay with me. Don't be afraid. The man who wants to kill you also wants to kill me. You will 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

Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.