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1 Samuel -- Chapter 11

David went to Ahimelek the priest, who trembled when he met him, asking, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?" Ever the little liar, David responded, "The king has set me on a special secret mission. I told the men to meet me later. Now, what do you have on hand? Do you have any bread?"

The priest answered, "I don't have any ordinary bread on hand, only some consecrated bread, which can only be eaten by men who have kept themselves from women."

David replied, "Indeed, women have been kept from us, as is usual. The men's bodies are normally holy, but even more so on this mission." So Ahimelek gave him the bread.

One of Saul's servant's, Doeg the Edomite, Saul's chief shepherd, was there. David asked Ahimelek, "Do you have a spear or sword here? I didn't bring mine because the king's mission was urgent."

"The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here," Ahimelek replied. "If you want it, take it." So David took it.

From there David went to Achish, king of Gath, to get away from Saul, but Achish's servants said, "Isn't this David, the king of the land? Isn't he the one they sing about, 'Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands'?" David took this to heart and was afraid of Achish, so, showing what a courageous man of god he was, he pretended to be insane, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. Achish said to his servants, "Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? You think I'm short of madmen? Get him out of here!"

[22] David then left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his family heard about it they went to visit. A discontented lot also gathered around him, so he had about four hundred men with him.

From there David went to Moab, and asked the king, "Would you let my mother and father come and stay here until I learn what god will do for me?" So his mother and father came down and they had a real family time. But then the prophet Gad said to David, "Don't stay there. Go to the land of Judah." So David left and went to the forest of Hereth in Judah.

Now when Saul heard that David and his men had been discovered he got all uppity. Under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah he said to his officials, "Listen, men of Benjamin, will David give you all fields and vineyards? Will he make you commanders in his army? Is that why you have conspired against me? No one tells me when my son makes a covenant with him. None of you is concerned about me or cares that my son has incited him to lie in wait for me, as he is doing today." He was a bit of a whiner.

Doeg the Edomite was there and said, "I saw David go to Ahimelek the priest in the town of Nob. Ahimelek inquired of god for him and gave him Goliath's sword."

So Saul had Ahimelek and all the men of his family brought to him, and said to them, "Listen now, why have you conspired against me, giving David bread and a sword and inquiring of god for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me?"

Ahimelek responded, "Who is more faithful among all your servants then David, your son-in-law, captain of your bodyguard and highly respected in your household? Was this the first time I had inquired of god for him? Of course not. Please don't accuse me. I don't know anything about this whole affair."

But Saul said, "You will surely die, Ahimelek, you and your whole family!" Then he told the guards at his side, "Kill the priests of god, because they have also sided with David." But they were unwilling to raise their hands against the priests, so the king then ordered Doeg, "You kill the priests!" So Doeg killed not only the eighty-five priests, but the entire town of Nob -- men, women, children, infants, and livestock-- in true Israelite fashion. Hey, why just kill a few when you can kill 'em all?

But one son of Ahimelek escaped, fled to join David and told him that Saul had killed the priests. David said, "That day, when I saw Doeg the Edomite there, I knew he would tell Saul. I am responsible for the death of your family. Stay with me; don't be afraid. The man who wants to kill you is trying to kill me too. You will be safe with me."

[23] When David heard that the Philistines were fighting against Keilah. He asked god, "Shall I go down and attack these Philistines?"

God said, "Yeah! Go and kill those suckers."

David's men said, "But we're afraid even here in Judah. How much more if we go to Keilah and fight the Philistines!"

But David inquired of god again, and god said, "Go kill those suckers!" So David went and fought the Philistines, saved the people of Keilah, and killed off lots of nasty Philistines, carrying off their livestock."

Now Abiathar, son of Ahimelek, had brought the ephod down with him when he fled to David at Keilah. (Forget that we said he fled to David before David went to Keilah.)

Saul was told that David had gone to Keilah, and said, "God has delivered him into my hands, for he has imprisoned himself by entering a town with gates and bars." So Saul called up all his forces to go down and besiege the town of Keilah.

When David learned, though, that Saul was plotting against him he said to Abiathar the priest, "Bring the ephod." Then he said to god, "Lord god of Israel, your servant has heard that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town because of me. Will he come down?"

God said, "He will."

"Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him?"

God said, "They will."

That ephod was better than a Ouija board!

So David and his six hundred men left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had left Keilah, he didn't go there. David stayed in wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Saul kept searching for him, but god protected David. After all, he was killing more of those icky Philistines than Saul was, and god hated those icky Philistines!

While staying at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph David learned that Saul had come out to kill him. Jonathan came to him and said, "Don't be afraid. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father knows this." And they made another covenant together and Jonathan went home. (It is not noted whether they took any clothes off this time. That will be left to the reader's imagination.)

The Ziphites then said to Saul, "David is hiding at Horesh. Come down and we will help you catch that bastard."

Saul replied, "God bless you for helping me out. Go get more information. Who has seen him there? Where are his hiding places? Then I will go with you and we will track him down."

But David and his men then went to the Desert of Maon. When Saul heard this he went there. Saul was going along one side of the mountain and David and his forces along the other, trying to get away from him. As Saul was closing in on him a messenger came to Saul and said, "Come quickly! The Philistines are raiding the land." Saul had to leave and go deal with those nasty Philistines again, and little David was saved. So even icky Philistines can serve their purpose.

[24] After dealing with those damned Philistines Saul was told, "David is in the Desert of En Gedi," so he took three thousand men and went to look for him. While there, Saul found a cave and went in to relieve himself but didn't realize that David and his men were hiding back in the cave.

David's men said to him, "This is the day god promised you when he said he would give your enemy into your hands." David snuck up quietly and cut off a piece of Saul's robe, but then his conscience bothered him and he said, "God forbid that I should do such a thing. He is god's anointed." He would not let his men attack Saul, and so Saul left the cave and started on his way.

Then David left the cave and called out to Saul, "Excuse me, Mr. Saul, my king. I know you just stopped by to say hi, but lookie here what I have," and he show Saul the piece of his robe he had cut off. "God delivered you into my hands today, but, look, you are still alive. Imagine that! Now why are you trying to hunt down your poor little son-in-law?"

Saul, who was getting a little blind, responded, "Is that your voice, David, my son? Well, this is awkward isnít it? I mean, you think I'm out to get you, don't you? Well, you know we're just really playing games, right? You know, a little practice for chasing Philistines. We have to keep in practice, you know. Right?" His vision clearing and seeing that David wasn't buying it, he said, "Okay, okay! So you win, you little snot. You're the better man, so I'll go back home and leave you alone."

So Saul went home, but David went up to his stronghold in the desert.

[25] Samuel died, and all Israel mourned for him and buried him at his home in Ramah. David moved on to the desert of Paran.

 

A certain fellow named Nabal, who had property at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a wife named Abigail who was intelligent and beautiful, but Nabal was surly and mean. He was a Calebite, and we all know how those Calebites are!

David sent ten young men to Nabal, saying, "Health and long life to you! Remember when your shepherds were with us? We did not mistreat them, and nothing of theirs was ever missing. So please be favorable toward us, and give us whatever you might find to give."

But Nabal said, "Who is this David? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and meat and give it to men who come from who knows where?"

When his messengers reported these words to him David dealt with it in godly fashion and said, "Each of you strap on your sword!" and he took four hundred men with him to go after Nabal.

One of Nabal's servants, though, went to Abigail and said, "David sent messengers to Nabal, but he just insulted them. David's men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and guarded us so that nothing was missing. You'd better see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our heads. Nabal is so wicked that no one can talk to him."

Abigail acted quickly and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, some roasted grain, raisins and figs and loaded them onto donkeys. Without telling Nabal what she was doing, she rode her donkey out to meet David, who was saying, "That damned Nabal. I watched over this fellow's property in the wilderness, and this is the way he treats me! By morning I will not leave alive one male of his household. Like god, I will avenge the father's sins on the children!"

When she met David, Abigail got down, bowed down to him and said, "Pardon me, my Lord. Please don't pay attention to what that wicked man Nabal says. He is just a nasty old fart. Please accept this gift of food and avoid needless bloodshed."

David said to Abigail, "Praise god for bringing you out here today and keeping me from avenging myself. Otherwise I would have killed every male in your household for your husband's insult, just like god does. You may go in peace."

When Abigail got back Nabal was drunk, and so she didn't say anything until the next day. When she told him what she had done the next day he had a heart attack and became like a stone. Ten days later god killed him.

When David heard about this he said, "Praise god for upholding my cause against Nabal and keeping me from doing wrong. He has brought Nabal's wrongdoing down on his own head."

Then David sent servants to ask Abigail to become his wife. Maybe he didn't kill Nabal, but he was going to help himself to the plunder just the same. Saul had given Michal, David's wife, to another man. David had married a woman named Ahinoam, but she wasn't pleasing him too well, so he thought adding Abigail would get his harem started nicely. Abigail responded, "Sure. I would love to be part of David's harem," and she married him.