As we closed yesterday Jonathan had warned David that Israel was no longer safe for him. David is now on the run – and will remain so for the rest of Saul’s life.
Our story today revolves around the town of Nob, a small town in southern Israel, to which David first flees. There was a worship center there: not the tabernacle, but some settlement managed by descendants of Aaron. The priest, Ahimelech, trembles when he sees David – David’s arrival was no good for the prophets at Naioth – but he’s also curious, “Why are you alone?”
David’s response might leave you scratching your head: “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything [about it]...” On the surface, it sounds like a boldface, Abraham-style lie. But it could also be an honest turn of phrase. To which “king” is David referring? I’ll let you decide.
Nonetheless, David requests help – food and weapons – from Ahimelech. This David receives, and the story would be complete if not for one seemingly extraneous detail: “A certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day…”
David heads west to seek refuge in Gath, one of the five principle cities of the Philistines. But his reputation has preceded him – perhaps too well, as he is described to the ruler of Gath as “King of the land,” about whom is sung, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” David realizes his danger, and finds yet another unique means of escape.
From there he traverses the land of Israel to Moab, on the Eastern shore of the Dead Sea. On the way he picks up a following, as everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men.
But while David is safe, those who have abetted him are not. His band will soon be joined by one more – the son of the priest of Nob.
Our verse for this week is Isaiah 40:28: Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.
1 Samuel 21 and 22. Now let’s read it!
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.