King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Samuel 22

David at Adullam, Many resort to him. (1-5) Saul destroys the priests of Nob. (6-19) Abiathar escapes to David. (20-23)

1 Samuel 22 Audio:

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David at Adullam, Many resort to him

1 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down thither to him.

2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

3 And David went thence to Mizpeh of Moab: and he said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me.

4 And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold.

5 And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold; depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. Then David departed, and came into the forest of Hareth.

Saul destroys the priests of Nob

6 When Saul heard that David was discovered, and the men that were with him, (now Saul abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah, having his spear in his hand, and all his servants were standing about him;)

7 Then Saul said unto his servants that stood about him, Hear now, ye Benjamites; will the son of Jesse give every one of you fields and vineyards, and make you all captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds;

8 That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

9 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of Saul, and said, I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.

10 And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.

11 Then the king sent to call Ahimelech the priest, the son of Ahitub, and all his father’s house, the priests that were in Nob: and they came all of them to the king.

12 And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord.

13 And Saul said unto him, Why have ye conspired against me, thou and the son of Jesse, in that thou hast given him bread, and a sword, and hast enquired of God for him, that he should rise against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?

14 Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?

15 Did I then begin to enquire of God for him? be it far from me: let not the king impute any thing unto his servant, nor to all the house of my father: for thy servant knew nothing of all this, less or more.

16 And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father’s house.

17 And the king said unto the footmen that stood about him, Turn, and slay the priests of the LORD: because their hand also is with David, and because they knew when he fled, and did not shew it to me. But the servants of the king would not put forth their hand to fall upon the priests of the LORD.

18 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod.

19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword.

Abiathar escapes to David

20 And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.

21 And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD’s priests.

22 And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father’s house.

23 Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Odollam, about two days’ journey from Geth, (Salien) nine miles east of Eleutheropolis, in the tribe of Juda. Euseb. C. — Jos. xii. 15. 2 Mac. xii. 38. M. — Thither, to avoid the fury of Saul, which fell so heavy upon the priests, v. 16. The most warlike sons of Gad came hither also, to join David. 1 Par. xii. 8. Abul. Salien, A. 2973.

Ver. 2. Men. His title to the crown was incontestable, so that he might justly make war, particularly in his own defence, and receive those who flocked to him to screen themselves from the persecution of Saul, and from their debtors, whom they would thus enable themselves to repay in time, by the plunder which they would take from the enemy. David maintained the strictest discipline, and withheld his men from making any disturbance, always manifesting the greatest respect for the person of the king. C. — The soldiers of Jephte were of the same description as these of David. Judg. xi. 3. H.

Ver. 3. Of Moab, to distinguish it from the city of Benjamin, where Samuel had assembled the people; (M.) and perhaps also from the birth-place of Jephte, unless the Moabites had taken possession again of that part of Galaad. C. — Saul had made war upon this king, so that he was more ready to protect David, who departing soon after, by the admonition of Gad, (v. 5. C.) left those who could not follow him under his care. In the mean time he lived on plunder, taken from the surrounding enemies, (Tostat) and was joined by 200 men from the tribes of Benjamin and of Juda, (1 Par. xii. 16,) with Amasai, his nephew, by his sister Abigail, at their head. Salien, A.C. 1079.

Ver. 4. The hold. The strong hold, or fortress of Maspha. Ch. — It signifies “a watch-tower.” H. — In this place the parents of David probably finished their days, as we find no farther mention of them. Salien.

Ver. 5. Haret, west of Jerusalem. Sept. read “the town of Haret,” (Euseb.) or “Sarec.” M. — Rama, “the height,” in Gabaa. C. — God would not suffer David and his followers to continue long among the infidels, for fear of danger. M. — The hero shews his ready obedience to the word of the unknown prophet, and is willing again to expose himself in the midst of Saul’s dominions. Salien.

Ver. 7. Jemini. Benjamites, my countrymen. Saul approaches them with being too little concerned about his interests, and falsely accuses his own son, who, it seems, had retired from court, after his father had attempted to kill him. But he shewed no signs of disloyalty. C. — The king mentions the league between Jonathan and David, on suspicion. C. xx. 23. M.

Ver. 9. Servants, or herdsmen. C. xxi. 7. Sept. “the Syrian, who was set over the mules of Saul.” H. — Informers are a set of men destructive to the public,” says Tacitius, Hist. i. 4.

Ver. 10. Consulted. Some think this was a falsehood, as it is not mentioned before. Hugo. — But Achimelech does not deny the fact, v. 15. C.

Ver. 12. Achitob. He gives him no honourable title, no more than David, (v. 7, &c.) out of disrespect. M.

Ver. 14. Faithful…and honourable, are titles given to people of great distinction at court. C. ix. 6. Num. xii. 7. Gen. xxxiv. 19.

Ver. 15. For him? We might read without an interrogation, “I have to-day begun…” (Chald.) never suspecting that it would be disagreeable to the king. C. — His character and his declarations, led me to conclude quite the contrary, so that I cannot lawfully be accused of any conspiracy. H.

Ver. 17. Messengers. Heb. “runners.” These officers remained at court and were people of great account, (C.) like the king’s guards, 2 K. xv. 1. 3 K. i. 5. H. — Lord, out of reverence, and being convinced of their innocence. M. — The obedience which we owe to superiors is subordinate to that which we must always shew towards God and justice. C. — Saul unjustly condemned them as the abettors of his competitor. W.

Ver. 18. Five. Josephus reads “385.” Sept. “305.” — Ephod. They all appeared in this dress, as they were priests. C. — It was different from the sacred ephod. Abulensis. — Thus the posterity of Heli was almost entirely cut off, as God had threatened. C. ii. D. T.

Ver. 19. Sword. Saul, now abandoned God, acts against all law. He probably, on this occasion, destroyed the inhabitants of Gabaon, to make place for the tabernacle, which was removed hither. C. See C. xxvii. 12. — He might also appoint Achitob high priest, the father of Sadoc, who supplanted Abiathar, 1 Par. xii. and xvi. 29. T.

Ver. 20. Escaped. He had perhaps remained at Nobe, to do duty. M. — God was pleased to reserve him, (C.) to convey the sacred ornaments of the high priest to David. H. — S. Bachiarius looks upon the slaughtered priests as martyrs. T.

Ver. 22. House. Lit. “I am guilty,” &c. H. — “Good people acknowledge a fault, where there is none.” S. Greg. — David was aware of the malicious temper of Doeg, but he could not prevent its evil effects, as he had applied to the high priest without perceiving that he was there. H. — He received Abiathar at Ceila, which he had protected against the Philistines. C. xxii.

Ver. 23. Saved. We will be as one soul. On this occasion David composed the 51st Psalm, Quid gloriaris, to reprobate the conduct of Doeg. Salien. — We may consider David as the fourth in order of the sacred writers, as he appears after Moses, Josue, and Samuel. H.