1 Samuel 21:1 David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest.
Ahimelek gave David bread from the tabernacle, and the sword of Goliath. David did not tell him that he was running from Saul, most likely because he did not want to make Ahimelek guilty of helping someone the king opposed.
1 Samuel 21:10 That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath.
After leaving Ahimelek, David went to the Philistine town of Gath. If he was identified by the Philistines he would probably be killed, so he tried to blend in as much as possible. When he was recognized in the presence of the king, David pretended to be insane, and let saliva run down his beard. The king was repulsed and let David leave, assuming he had lost his mind.
This was not David’s finest hour, but he thought it was better to lose his dignity than his life. We may never have to make that choice, but in a Christ-rejecting world, we may suffer derision. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world (1 Corinthians 4:12), wrote Paul. Following Christ will often mean a loss of the world’s respect.
1 Samuel 22:1 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam.
This became his home for a while, and All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander (1 Samuel 22:2). David was being hunted by Saul, but now he had an army of about four hundred men (1 Samuel 22:2). This was the beginning of David’s kingdom, which over time became a superpower. But notice how it all began: in a cave with four hundred losers. They were in distress or in debt or discontented. But they were also the ones God would use to build his glorious kingdom.
This reminds us of the church. God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are (1 Corinthians 1:27-29), wrote Paul.
Those who gather around Jesus Christ are like those who gathered around David. We are disappointed with this world, and are hoping for something better. And like them, we will not be disappointed. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32), said Jesus. God takes disappointed people, and gives them his very best.
1 Samuel 22:3 From there David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?
When Samuel anointed David to be the future king of Israel (1 Samuel 16), his parents may have thought their lives would soon improve. But such was not the case. When David’s life was threatened by Saul, their lives were also at risk. So David took them to another country where they would be safe.
Likewise, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to a country where he would be safe. King Herod wanted to kill him, so the family fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:13). The kings of this world will often oppose the kingdom of God, but they will not overcome it. The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15), wrote John. Victory comes to the people of God, but only after resistance.
1 Samuel 22:6 Saul was seated, spear in hand, under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, with all his officials standing at his side.
Saul and his men were hunting for David, and Saul was becoming paranoid. When he learned that David had been at Nob, he summoned the high priest (Ahimelek) along with all the priests of Nob. Then he accused Ahimelek of conspiracy, and commanded his soldiers to kill all the priests—eighty-five in all.
But his soldiers refused to kill the priests, so Saul commanded Doeg the Edomite to perform the task. This he did singlehandedly. Then Doeg went to the town of Nob where he killed every man, woman and child. Like the paranoid king he served, there was no evil he would not perform.
With Doeg in mind, David wrote the fifty-second Psalm. Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living (Psalm 52:5). People get away with terrible crimes in this life, but will have to face God’s judgment in the next.
1 Samuel 22:20 But one son of Ahimelek son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to join David.
This is the first mention of Abiathar, the man who would be high priest during David’s reign. The prophet Gad also joined David (1 Samuel 22:5), and would serve as a prophet during David’s reign. Prophet, priest and king were brought together by God, to provide suitable leadership for the kingdom of God.
The offices of prophet, priest and king were normally kept separate to maintain a balance of power. Kings were not allowed to be priests, and were to obey God’s word given through the prophets. But Jesus Christ is prophet, priest and king, all in one person. No balance of power is needed, because Jesus is divine, and without a sinful nature.
As the ultimate prophet, Jesus spoke the word of God so clearly that he himself is called the Word (John 1:1). As our great high priest, he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). And, On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16), wrote John. The offices of prophet, priest and king foreshadow Jesus Christ, the ultimate prophet, priest and king. His kingdom will never end.
Reflection and Review
What kind of people does God often use to build his glorious kingdom?
What can we learn from Doeg the Edomite?
How does Jesus fulfill the offices of prophet, priest and king?