Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 21

The proper use of something holy

1 Samuel 21:5-6

Israelís chief priest allowed David to take the bread from Godís house. That was against Godís law because only the priests could eat that bread. However, the chief priest recognised that God was sending David away at once. David urgently needed food for himself and for his men. In such circumstances the chief priest considered that it would be wrong not to help David. It is interesting that, in Luke 6:3-4, Jesus approved of that decision.

However, even in such circumstances, the chief priest would not allow anyone whatever to eat that bread. The bread was holy; it belonged to God. It would be very wrong to take a holy thing and to use it in an unholy manner. So, the chief priest insisted that nobody in an unholy state could eat that bread.

It would of course not be wrong if Davidís men had sex with their wives. However, that would cause them to be in an unholy state (Leviticus 15:18). Godís law would not allow them then to go to Godís house or to eat meat from a sacrifice (an animal that someone had offered to God). So the chief priest would not allow them to eat the holy bread.

In his reply, David reminded the chief priest about Godís rules for Israelís army. God was Israelís God, so Israelís army was a holy army. Godís law did not allow a man in an unholy state to remain in the camp of Israelís army (Deuteronomy 23:9-11). So nobody in an unholy state would eat that bread.

Israelís soldiers did not take their wives with them when they went to war. The women remained at home, as 1 Samuel 30:1-6 shows.

Next part: Doeg from Edom (1 Samuel 21:7)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.