Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 21

Davidís untrue words to Abimelech

1 Samuel 21:2

The events in 1 Samuel chapter 21 probably happened on the day when David left Jonathan (20:35-42). Jonathan had told David that Saul was plotting to kill him. David had to escape for his life.

To get from Gibeah to Gath, David would have to walk more than 40 miles (60 kilometres). It was a long way, even for a strong soldier like David. He first passed Nob, the chief priestís town. Then he passed Bethlehem, his own town. Probably he expected to meet there the men who would go with him (see Mark 2:26). Then they would go through the hills to Gath, which was in Philistia.

When David entered Nob, he was alone. He went there to inquire of God (22:10). Probably he wanted to know where he should go. He would have asked questions like the questions in 1 Samuel 23:9-12.

Ahimelech, the chief priest, was very worried about this. He asked David a series of questions to try to find out what David was doing. However, David was too afraid of Saul to give an honest answer. He pretended that the king had secretly sent him away.

Of course, it was the kingís actions that forced David to leave secretly. Clearly however, Davidís words were untrue. He was telling lies because he was not yet able to trust God completely. He thought that he had to help God by clever words and clever schemes. He would do that again when he reached Gath (21:12-13). Later David would learn that God alone could save him (Psalm 62:1-2). He could not save himself (Psalm 40:1-2).

Next part: Sacred bread (1 Samuel 21:3-4)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.