Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 22

Doeg kills the priests

1 Samuel 22:18-19

When nobody from Israel was willing to kill the priests, Saul ordered a foreigner to do it.

That foreigner was Doeg, from Edom. He was the man who had originally accused Ahimelech, the chief priest (22:9-10). Doeg was in charge of the men who looked after Saulís sheep (21:7).

Doeg did not hesitate. He acted in the fiercest and cruellest possible manner. Perhaps he acted even more cruelly than Saul wanted.

First, Doeg killed the chief priest and the other priests from Nob. Those 85 other priests were from Ahimelechís family, that is, the family of Eli.

Then Doeg went to Nob, where those priests had lived. He killed everyone whom he could find. He killed the wives and children of the priests. He killed their servants. He even killed their animals.

Doeg was extremely cruel, and we search for an explanation.

Anger can cause a person to behave in a very cruel manner. However, we know of no particular reason why Doeg might be angry here.

Perhaps we will find our explanation in the fact that Doeg killed all the animals. He did not have to do that; Saul did not order it. There would be enough animals at Nob to make Doeg rich, if he had not killed them.

On a few occasions in the Bible, God told his people to carry out his judgement against a very wicked city or nation. For the most severe judgements, they had to kill all the animals (Joshua 6:21; 1 Samuel 15:3). The purpose was to hand over that city or nation completely to God.

Here, we see that Doeg had attacked a holy town. As a foreigner, he would have served a false god. Perhaps he was trying to hand over that town to his false god. Perhaps he believed that he was carrying out his godís judgement against Israelís priests. He was trying to destroy Israelís religion.

Next part: Abiathar escapes to David (1 Samuel 22:20-23)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.