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Bible Commentaries

Layman's Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 22

Verses 1-5

The Flight to Adullam (22:1-5)

We return now to the early tradition. David, in his flight from Saul, arrived at the cave ("stronghold" is a better translation) of Adullam, where he was joined by his brethren, his father’s house, and many more who were fugitives for various reasons. In all, he gathered a bodyguard of about four hundred men. Adullam has been identified as a site about twelve miles southwest of Bethlehem, and thus was in Judah. David’s father and mother were left in the keeping of the king of Moab, on whom David had a claim through his great-grandmother, the ex-Moabitess Ruth. The meaning of verse 5 is obscure.

Verses 6-23

The Priests of Nob (22:6-23)

Saul sat at Gibeah under the tamarisk tree at the high place, that is, under the sacred tree at the shrine, surrounded by his bodyguard composed of Benjaminites. He grumbled about the disloyalty of his servants and especially attacked Jonathan for the covenant with David. Doeg the Edomite, apparently having completed his ceremonial requirements at Nob, was standing by and seized the opportunity to report the action of Ahimelech. According to him, Ahimelech not only provided David with food and the sword of Goliath, but also consulted the oracle for him — a fact not reported previously in the story. The enraged king summoned Ahimelech and his priests to his presence. Ahimelech picked out the untrue part of Doeg’s accusation and denied consulting the oracle. He professed ignorance of the breach between Saul and David. Saul condemned him, his priests, and his household to death, but the servants refused to carry out the command. Doeg then was ordered to undertake the task. Doeg slew Ahimelech, his retinue of priests, and their families, and destroyed Nob. One son of Ahimelech, Abiathar, escaped and fled to David. The priests are described as wearing the ephod, which means presumably that they were qualified to carry the sacred oracle, or ephod, of Nob. Abiathar evidently took this ephod with him, since he is described later as carrying it to David in his flight (1 Samuel 23:6). This tragedy at Nob may be linked with the prophecy to Eli that disaster would overtake his family (1 Samuel 2:31-36).

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Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Samuel 22". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/1-samuel-22.html.