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David as outlaw captain

1DAVID stole away from there and went to the cave of Adullam, and, when his brothers and all the members of his family heard where he was, they went down and joined him there.

2Everyone in any kind of distress or in debt or with a grievance gathered round him, about four hundred in number, and he became their chief.

3From there David went to Mizpeh in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Let my father and mother come and take shelter with you until I know what God will do for me.”

4He left them at the court of the king of Moab, and they stayed there as long as David remained in his stronghold.

5The prophet Gad said to David, “You must not stay in your stronghold; go at once into Judah.” David went as far as the forest of Hareth.

6News that the whereabouts of David and his men was known reached Saul while he was in Gibeah, sitting under the tamarisk tree on the hilltop with his spear in his hand and all his retainers standing about him.

7He said to them, “Listen to me, you Benjamites: do you expect the son of Jesse to give you all fields and vineyards, or make you all officers over units of a thousand and a hundred?

8Is that why you have all conspired against me? Not one of you told me when my son made a compact with the son of Jesse; none of you spared a thought for me or told me that my son had set against me my own servant, who is lying in wait for me now.”

9Doeg the Edomite, who was standing with Saul's servants, spoke up: “I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech son of Ahitub.

10Ahimelech consulted the LORD on his behalf, then gave him food and handed over to him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.”

11The king sent for Ahimelech the priest and his whole family, who were priests at Nob, and they all came to him.

12Saul said, “Now listen, you son of Ahitub,” and the man answered, “Yes, my lord?”

13Saul said to him, “Why have you and the son of Jesse plotted against me? You gave him food and a sword, and consulted God on his behalf; and now he has risen against me and is at this moment lying in wait for me.”

14“And who among all your servants”, answered Ahimelech, “is like David, a man to be trusted, the king's son-in-law, appointed to your staff and holding an honourable place in your household?

15Have I on this occasion done something profane in consulting God on his behalf? God forbid! I trust that my lord the king will not accuse me or my family; for I know nothing whatever about it.”

16But the king said, “Ahimelech, you shall die, you and all your family.”

17He then said to the bodyguard attending him, “Turn on the priests of the LORD and kill them; for they are in league with David, and, though they knew that he was a fugitive, they did not inform me.” The king's men, however, were unwilling to raise a hand against the priests of the LORD.

18The king therefore said to Doeg the Edomite, “You, Doeg, go and fall on the priests”; so Doeg went and fell upon the priests, killing that day with his own hand eighty-five men who wore the linen ephod.

19He put to the sword every living thing in Nob, the town of the priests: men and women, children and babes in arms, oxen, donkeys, and sheep.

20One of Ahimelech's sons named Abiathar made his escape and joined David.

21He told David how Saul had killed the priests of the LORD,

22and David said to him, “When Doeg the Edomite was there that day, I knew that he would certainly tell Saul. I have brought this on all the members of your father's house.

23Stay here with me, have no fear; he who seeks your life seeks mine, and you will be safe with me.”

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