I Samuel 21

If we would but trust God aright,
we would not have to resort to miserable and dishonoring devices for our preservation in times of testing.

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.

6 So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.

7 Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.

8 ¶ And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste.

9 And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me.

10 ¶ And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.

11 And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?

12 And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.

13 And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard.

14 Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me?

15 Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?

1 Samuel 21:1-15 – Food and Weapon: a Side Step

   David fled to Nob, at the north of the Mount of Olives, where Ahimelech presided over the relics of the ancient sanctuary. His suspicions were removed by an evasion on David’s part, which he must have regretted to the end of his life. If we are right with God and know ourselves to be on the predestined path, we need not resort to deceit nor subterfuge—if we adopt such means, the results are likely to be disastrous to ourselves and others, our innocent fellow-sufferers.
   It was the Sabbath day, for the show-bread had just been removed from the table, Leviticus 24:8. This was the perquisite of the priest, but, in subordinating the ceremonial to the urgency of human need, Ahimelech acted in strict harmony with the spirit of the Mosaic legislation. This is the distinct teaching of Mark 2:25, and of our Lord’s insistence on his right to heal on the Sabbath day. Read Psalms 34 and 56 with the closing paragraph of I Samuel 21. David’s behavior was unworthy, yet, in his heart, he was hiding in God. We must not judge by appearances, but with discerning judgment. There is a large measure of humanity in all God’s saints.

I Samuel 21:9—There is none like that; give it me.

   What David said of the sword of Goliath we may say of Holy Scripture the sword of the Spirit “There is none like that.”
   There is no book like the Bible for those convinced of sin. The Word of God assures the sinner of God’s love in Christ, whilst it refuses to condone a single sin, or excuse one shortcoming. The Bible is as stern as conscience herself against sin, but as pitiful as the heart of God to the sinner. It, moreover, discloses the method by which the just God becomes the justifier of those who believe.
   There is no book like the Bible for the sorrowful. It tells of the Comforter; it reminds us that in all our sorrow God also is sad; it points to the perfect plan according to which God is working out our blessedness; it insists that all things are working together for good; it opens the vision of the blessed future, where all the grieves and tears of men shall be put away for ever.
   There is no book like the Bible for the dying. “Read to me,” said Sir Walter Scott, on his dying bed, to his friend. “What shall l read?” “There is only one book for a dying man,” was the answer; “read to me from the Bible.” The Book which tells of the Lord, who died and rose again; of the mansions which He has gone to prepare; of the reunion of the saints; and of the fountains of water of life is the only pillow on which the dying head can rest softly.
   In these days of debate and doubt there is no such evidence for the Divine authority of the Bible as that which accrues from its perpetual use, whether in our own life, or in the conviction of the ungodly.