1 Samuel 21 Commentary

Flight from Saul (21:1-15)

The first place to which David fled was Nob, which, since the destruction of Shiloh, had become the city of priests (21:1). About this time a few personal servants joined him, according to an arrangement he had made with them earlier. David obtained food for himself and his men by deceiving Ahimelech the priest concerning the purpose of his journey. Unfortunately for him, and for Ahimelech and the other priests, he was seen by someone sympathetic to Saul (2-9).

From Nob David went to the Philistine city of Gath. He expected that the Philistines would welcome him as a deserter from the Israelite army and so give him refuge (10). But the Philistines had not yet heard of David’s break with Saul. They knew only that David had killed thousands of their own Philistine people. Thinking he may have been spying in preparation for more attacks, they decided to kill him.

David acted quickly, and escaped by pretending he had gone mad (11-15; see Ps 34; 56).

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