David and the priest Ahimelech
1 David went on his way while Jonathan returned home. 2 David came to Nob to the priest Ahi melech. Ahimelech came to meet him and asked trembling, “Why are you alone?” 3 David re plied, “The king sent me on a mission and strictly ordered me not to tell anyone about it. Be cause of this I have decided on a place where I shall meet my men. 4 What do you have here? Can you give me five loaves of bread or whatever you have?” 5 The priest answered David, “I do not have ordinary bread at hand; there is only holy bread. If your men have had no re lations with women they may eat it.” 6 David answered, “Indeed we have ab stained from wom en these days since I set out. The young men remained sexually clean though it was an ordinary expedition and today they are clean.” 7 So the priest gave him holy bread for there was no other bread. This was the bread of Presence which had been replaced by fresh bread on the day it was removed.
8 Yet one of Saul’s men was there on that day. He was Doeg, the Edomite, and Saul’s chief shepherd.
9 David asked Ahimelech, “Do you have a spear or a sword with you? I did not take my arms with me because the king’s order was urgent.” 10 The priest replied, “I have here, wrapped in a piece of cloth behind the ephod, the sword of Goliath the Philistine whom you killed in the valley of Elah. You can take this if you wish, for I have nothing else here.” David said, “There is none like it. Give it to me.”
11 That same day, David fled far from Saul. He went to Achish, king of Gath. 12 Achish’s servants re marked, “O king, is this not David? Did the peo ple not dance on his account and sing: ‘Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands?’” 13 David understood these words and began to fear Achish, king of Gath. 14 So he pretended to be mad, making marks on the doors of the gate as he let his spittle run down his beard. 15 At this Achish told his servants, “Look, it is a madman. Why did you bring him to me? 16 Am I short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow to act foolishly in my presence? Will this fellow come into my house?”