David has learned that King Saul wants to kill him. He has said goodbye to his friend Jonathan and has left his wife and his family behind. He was on the run.
1 Samuel 21:1-6- Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place. Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present. And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women. And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.
So, David has run to a city of priests. Did God tell David to go here? I don't think so. I think at this point in his life David was just scared and running where ever he could think of. We are going to see David slowly slip out of God's will for his life, and God is going to have to nudge him back into his will.
Do you want to know why I think David is out of God's will? Because he starts out by lying. He tells the priest that he's about the king's business. And then he asks for some food. The priest gives him some of the holy bread that is with him.
But David thinks he needs more. And, again he lies.
I Samuel 21:8-10- And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste. And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me. And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.
David asks for a weapon. The only weapon that was around was the sword of the giant, Goliath. David readily accepted this. Do you think that God wanted David using a weapon that once belonged to an enemy of Israel? A weapon that once was wielded by a man who defied God? I don't think so.
But, as with all our sin, someone is always watching. God saw, but so did someone else.
I Samuel 21:7- Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul.
There was a soldier of Saul there who was detained before the Lord- that means that God kept him there. Doeg was where God wanted him; David was not!
I Samuel 21:10- And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.
Here's my favorite part of this story. David said that there wasn't another sword like Goliath's. That means that this sword could be identified because of it's uniqueness. Then, David, in his backslidden state, takes Goliath's sword to his hometown of Gath! What was he thinking? Did he think no one would recognize him as the man who slew their Champion? Did he think they wouldn't recognize their own Champion's weapon?
I Samuel 21:11-12- And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.
David was found out! What would he do? Pray and trust God? I'm afraid that David was a little too backslidden to do that. Instead, he did what any normal man would do- he pretended to be crazy!
I Samuel 21:13-15- And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me? Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?
David wriggled and let drool fall out of his mouth and acted like he was completely insane. The king of Gath didn't want a crazy person in his kingdom, and so they thrust him out.
So, David got out of Gath unscathed. But, this is the last time that we hear of the sword of Goliath. We don't know if the king of Gath took it, or if David got rid of it along the way.
I Samuel 22:1-3- 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. 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.
David was slowly amassing an army. Those who were in debt or just didn't like King Saul came and joined David. He became the captain of about 400 men.
But, David still hadn't turned his heart to God. And, he still hadn't seen the consequences of his going to the town of the priests.
I Samuel 22:3-5- 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. And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold. 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.
David went to yet another enemy of Israel- the Moabites. I guess because he was a descendant he thought it would be okay- Remember, Ruth the Moabitess was David's great grandmother. David brought his parents to live in Moab to keep them safe. He was also going to stay in Moab, but God sent someone to talk to him.
A prophet named Gad came to David and told him to get back into Israel. So, David went back. Finally, David was hearing God again. But, what about the town of priests?
I Samuel 22:6-10- 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;) 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; 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? 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. And he enquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.
Saul asked his men if anyone had any information on David's where abouts. Doeg told Saul that he saw David go to the city of the priests, and the priests helped him.
I Samuel 22:11-15- 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. And Saul said, Hear now, thou son of Ahitub. And he answered, Here I am, my lord. 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? 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? 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.
Saul called the priests and asked them why they had helped David. The priests said that they helped him because he was the king's son-in-law and he had said that he was on an errand for the king.
Saul didn't care that David had lied. Saul didn't care that the priests thought they were doing right. Saul just wanted to punish David.
I Samuel 22:16-19- And the king said, Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou, and all thy father's house. 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. 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. 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.
Because of David's lie, Saul not only killed the one priest that helped him, but he wiped out the entire city. All the men. All the women. All the children. All the animals. David's lie cost so many lives!
I Samuel 22:20-23- And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD'S priests. 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. Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.
Only one man survived. He ran to David and told him what Saul had done. David now saw the consequences of his backsliding. He saw the cost of the lie he told.
Sometimes, we don't see the price tag of the sins we commit. Sometimes, it takes years for us to understand what a certain sin actually cost. But, make no mistake- all sin comes with a price.