1. David left there and took refuge in the Cave of Adullam; his brothers and his father's whole family heard this and joined him there.

2. All those in distress, all those in debt, all those who had a grievance, gathered round him and he became their leader. There were about four hundred men with him.

3. From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, 'Allow my father and mother to stay with you until I know what God intends to do for me.'

4. He left them with the king of Moab and there they stayed all the time that David was in the stronghold.

5. The prophet Gad, however, said to David, 'Do not stay in the stronghold; leave and make your way into the territory of Judah.' David then left and went to the forest of Hereth.

6. When Saul heard that David and the men with him had been discovered, Saul was at Gibeah, seated under the tamarisk on the high place, spear in hand, with all his staff standing round him.

7. 'Listen, Benjaminites!' said Saul to them, 'Is the son of Jesse going to give you all fields and vineyards and make all of you commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds

8. that you all conspire against me? No one warned me when my son made a pact with the son of Jesse; none of you felt sorry for me or warned me when my son incited my servant to become my enemy, as he is now.'

9. Then, up spoke Doeg the Edomite, who was in command of Saul's staff, 'I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech son of Ahitub.

10. That man consulted Yahweh on his behalf, gave him provisions and also the sword of Goliath the Philistine.'

11. The king then sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and his whole family, the priests of Nob; they all came to the king.

12. Saul said, 'Now listen, son of Ahitub!' He replied, 'Here I am, my lord.'

13. 'Why have you conspired against me,' said Saul, 'you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and consulting God on his behalf, for him to rebel against me as is now the case?'

14. Ahimelech replied to the king, 'Of all those in your service, who is more loyal than David son-in-law to the king, captain of your bodyguard, honoured in your household?

15. Was today the first time I ever consulted God on his behalf? Indeed it was not! The king has no grounds for bringing any charge against his servant or against his whole family, for your servant knew nothing whatever about all this.'

16. The king retorted, 'You must die, Ahimelech, you and your whole family.'

17. The king said to the scouts who were standing round him, 'Forward! and put the priests of Yahweh to death, for they too are on David's side, they knew that he was escaping, yet did not warn me of it.' The king's professional soldiers, however, would not lift a hand to strike the priests of Yahweh.

18. The king then said to Doeg, 'Forward, you! Fall on the priests!' Doeg the Edomite stepped forward and fell on the priests, himself that day killing eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.

19. Nob, the town of the priests, Saul put to the sword: men and women, children and infants, cattle, donkeys and sheep.

20. One son of Ahimelech son of Ahitub alone escaped. His name was Abiathar, and he fled away to join David.

21. When Abiathar told David that Saul had slaughtered the priests of Yahweh,

22. David said to Abiathar, 'I knew, that day when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would be sure to inform Saul. I am responsible for the death of all your kinsmen.

23. Stay with me, do not be afraid, for he who seeks your life seeks mine; you will be safe with me.'



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