1. David then got up and left, and Jonathan went back to the town.

2. David then went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech came out trembling to meet David and said, 'Why are you alone? Why is nobody with you?'

3. David replied to Ahimelech the priest, 'The king has given me an order and said to me, "Do not let anyone know anything about the mission on which I am sending you, or about the order which I have given you." I have arranged to meet the guards at such and such a place.

4. Meanwhile, if you have five loaves of bread to hand, give them to me, or whatever there is.'

5. The priest replied to David, 'I have no ordinary bread to hand; there are only consecrated loaves of permanent offering -- provided that the men have kept themselves from women?'

6. David replied to the priest, 'Certainly, women have been forbidden to us, as always when I set off on a campaign. The men's things are clean. Though this is a profane journey, they are certainly clean today as far as their things are concerned.'

7. The priest then gave him what had been consecrated, for the only bread there was the loaves of permanent offering, which is taken out of Yahweh's presence, to be replaced by warm bread on the day when it is removed.

8. Now one of Saul's servants happened to be there that day, detained in Yahweh's presence; his name was Doeg the Edomite and he was the strongest of Saul's shepherds.

9. David then said to Ahimelech, 'Have you no spear or sword here to hand? I did not bring either my sword or my weapons with me, because the king's business was urgent.'

10. The priest replied, 'The sword of Goliath the Philistine whom you killed in the Valley of the Terebinth is here, wrapped in a piece of clothing behind the ephod; if you care to take it, do so, for that is the only one here.' David said, 'There is nothing like that one; give it to me.'

11. David journeyed on and that day fled out of Saul's reach, going to Achish king of Gath.

12. Achish's servants said to him, 'Is not this David, the king of the country? Was it not of him that they sang as they danced: Saul has killed his thousands, and David his tens of thousands?'

13. David pondered on these words and became very frightened of Achish king of Gath.

14. When their eyes were on him, he played the madman and, when they held him, he feigned lunacy. He drummed his feet on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard.

15. Achish said to his servants, 'You can see that this man is mad. Why bring him to me?

16. Have I not enough madmen, without your bringing me this one to weary me with his antics? Is he to join my household?'

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