1 Samuel 21:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
David went to Nob, to Ahimelek the priest. Ahimelek trembled when he met him, and asked, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?"

New Living Translation
David went to the town of Nob to see Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech trembled when he saw him. "Why are you alone?" he asked. "Why is no one with you?"

English Standard Version
Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?”

New American Standard Bible
Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came trembling to meet David and said to him, "Why are you alone and no one with you?"

King James Bible
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?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
David went to Ahimelech the priest at Nob. Ahimelech was afraid to meet David, so he said to him, "Why are you alone and no one is with you?"

International Standard Version
David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest, and Ahimelech was trembling as he came to meet David. Ahimelech told him, "Why are you alone, and no one with you?"

NET Bible
David went to Ahimelech the priest in Nob. Ahimelech was shaking with fear when he met David, and said to him, "Why are you by yourself with no one accompanying you?"

New Heart English Bible
Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said to him, "Why are you alone, and no man with you?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
David went to the priest Ahimelech at Nob. Ahimelech was trembling as he went to meet David. "Why are you alone?" he asked David. "Why is no one with you?"

JPS Tanakh 1917
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said unto him: 'Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?'

New American Standard 1977
Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came trembling to meet David, and said to him, “Why are you alone and no one with you?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then David came 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 one with thee?

King James 2000 Bible
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why are you alone, and no man with you?

American King James Version
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said to him, Why are you alone, and no man with you?

American Standard Version
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And David came to Nobe to Achimelech the priest: and Achimelech was astonished at David's coming. And he said to him: Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

Darby Bible Translation
And David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech trembled at meeting David, and said to him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

English Revised Version
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

Webster's Bible Translation
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said to him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

World English Bible
Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest. Ahimelech came to meet David trembling, and said to him, "Why are you alone, and no man with you?"

Young's Literal Translation
And David cometh in to Nob, unto Ahimelech the priest, and Ahimelech trembleth at meeting David, and saith to him, 'Wherefore art thou thyself alone, and no man with thee?'
Study Bible
David Takes the Consecrated Bread
1Then David came to Nob to Ahimelech the priest; and Ahimelech came trembling to meet David and said to him, "Why are you alone and no one with you?" 2David said to Ahimelech the priest, "The king has commissioned me with a matter and has said to me, 'Let no one know anything about the matter on which I am sending you and with which I have commissioned you; and I have directed the young men to a certain place.'…
Cross References
Mark 2:26
During the high priesthood of Abiathar, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which was lawful only for the priests. And he gave some to his companions as well."

1 Samuel 16:4
So Samuel did what the LORD said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, "Do you come in peace?"

1 Samuel 22:9
Then Doeg the Edomite, who was standing by the servants of Saul, said, "I saw the son of Jesse coming to Nob, to Ahimelech the son of Ahitub.

1 Samuel 22:19
And he struck Nob the city of the priests with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and infants; also oxen, donkeys, and sheep he struck with the edge of the sword.

Nehemiah 11:32
at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,

Isaiah 10:32
Yet today he will halt at Nob; He shakes his fist at the mountain of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
Treasury of Scripture

Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said to him, Why are you alone, and no man with you?

Nob Nob appears to have been a sacerdotal city of Benjamin or Ephraim. Jerome says, that in his time the ruins of it might be seen not far from Diospolis or Lydda. But the Rabbins assert that Jerusalem might be seen from this town. The tabernacle resided some time at Nob; and after it was destroyed, it was removed to Gibeon; `and the day of Nob and Gibeon were fifty-seven years.' Maimonides in Bethhabbechirah, c.1

1 Samuel 22:19 And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, …

Nehemiah 11:32 And at Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,

Isaiah 10:32 As yet shall he remain at Nob that day: he shall shake his hand against …

to Ahimelech

1 Samuel 14:3 And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, …

called Ahiah

1 Samuel 22:9-19 Then answered Doeg the Edomite, which was set over the servants of …

called also Abiathar

Mark 2:26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high …

afraid

1 Samuel 16:4 And Samuel did that which the LORD spoke, and came to Bethlehem. …

(1) Then came David to Nob.--Before leaving his native land, David determined once more to see, and if practicable to take counsel with, the old high priest of Israel, with whom, no doubt, in the past years of his close connection with Samuel, he had had frequent and intimate communion. He hoped, too, in that friendly and powerful religious centre to provide himself and his few companions with arms and other necessaries for his exile; nor is it improbable that he purposed, through the friendly high priest, to make some inquiry of the Divine oracle, the Urim and Thuinmim, concerning his doubtful future. The unexpected presence of Doeg, the powerful and unscrupulous servant of Saul, at the sanctuary, no doubt hurried him away in hot haste across the frontier.

The town of Nob, situated between Anathoth and Jerusalem--about an hour's ride from the latter--has been with great probability identified with the "village of Esau," El-Isaurizeb, a place bearing all the marks of an ancient town, with its many marble columns and ancient stones. There, in these latter days of Saul, "stood the last precious relic of the ancient nomadic times--the tabernacle of the wanderings, round which, since the fall of Shiloh, had dwelt the descendants of the house of Eli. It was a little colony of priests; no less than eighty-five persons ministered there in the white linen dress of the priesthood, and all their families and herds were gathered round them. The priest was not so ready to befriend as the prophet (we allude to David's reception by Samuel at Naioth by Ramah, 1 Samuel 19). As the solitary fugitive, famished and unarmed, stole up the mountain side, he met with but a cold welcome from the cautious and courtly Ahimelech."--Stanley, Lectures on the Jewish Church, Lect. 12

To Ahimelech the priest.--He was the great grandson of Eli, thus--

Died at Shiloh after news of capture of Ark,

Eli

Phinehas

Ahitub

Ichabod

Ahimelech

Abiathar.

Slain by Philistines in battle

Reign of Saul--High Priest,

Reign of David--High Priest, (See 1Samuel 22:19-20.)

He was probably identical with Ahiah (1Samuel 14:3); this, however, is not certain. Dean Payne Smith believes Ahiah was a younger brother of Ahimelech, who, while Ahimelech remained with the Ark, acted as high priest at the camp for Saul, especially in consulting God for him by means of the ephod with the breastplate (the Urim).

Why art thou alone?--The not unfriendly but cautious priest, who, though unaware of the final rupture of Saul and David, was of course cognisant of the strained relations of the king and his great servant, was uneasy at this sudden appearance of the king's son-in-law--the well-known military chieftain, David--alone and travel-stained at the sanctuary.

Ver 1. - Then came David to Nob. Nob means a knoll or hill, and apparently was situated a little to the north of Jerusalem on the road leading to Gath. The ark had evidently been removed thither by Saul early in his reign, after it had remained for twenty years in the house of Abinadab; and as eighty-five priests wearing an ephod were murdered there by Doeg at Saul's command (1 Samuel 22:18, 19), it is plain that the worship of Jehovah had been restored by him with something of its old splendour. And this agrees with Saul's character. At the commencement of his reign we find Ahiah with him as high priest, and even when he fell his excuse was the necessity for performing the public rites of religion (1 Samuel 15:15). But with him the king's will was first, the will of Jehovah second; and while he restores God's public worship as part of the glory of his reign, he ruthlessly puts the priests with their wives and families to death when he supposes that they have given aid to his enemy. Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David. More literally, "went trembling to meet David." Ahiah, described as high priest in 1 Samuel 14:3, was either dead or, more probably, was a younger brother, who, while Ahimelech remained with the ark, acted as high priest at the camp for Saul, especially in consulting God for him by means of the ephod with the breastplate. Why art thou alone? Nevertheless, in Mark 2:26 our Lord speaks of those "who were with David," and the "young men" are mentioned in vers. 4, 5. While David went alone to consult Ahimelech, that his visit might be kept quite secret, he had taken a few of his servants with him, and had left them somewhere in the neighbourhood, or even, more probably, had instructed some one to meet him with such men as he could collect. The arrival of the king's son-in-law without an escort would naturally strike the high priest as strange, and therefore as alarming. Then came David to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest,.... The high priest, as Abarbinel rightly calls him; he was the brother of Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, who being dead he succeeded him; though some say (a) he was the same; see 1 Samuel 14:3; who was now at Nob, the tabernacle being there, whither probably it was removed by Saul, and where and at Gibeon, according to the Jews (b), it continued fifty seven years; as in the times of Joshua it was in Shiloh, in the tribe of Ephraim, of which tribe he was; and in the times of David it was placed in the tribe of Judah, to which he belonged; so in the times of Saul it was in Nob, a city of his tribe, twelve miles from Gibeah, according to Bunting (c); for that it was in the tribe of Benjamin appears by its being mentioned along with Anathoth, Nehemiah 11:32; and according to Jarchi and Kimchi (d) it was near Jerusalem, and so near that it might be seen from thence; some say they are the same (e); Jerom (f) speaks of it as near Diospolis or Lydda. David, before he departed further off, was willing to see the tabernacle once more, and there worship his God, and inquire of him by the high priest, as he did, 1 Samuel 22:10; to direct him what way he should take, and that he would prosper and succeed him in it, grant him his presence, and keep him in safety:

and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David; hearing that he was come or coming, he went out to meet him, but when he saw him alone he trembled; especially if he had heard of his having fallen under the displeasure of Saul, and that he now fled from him, therefore he might fear that he should fall into disgrace and danger should he entertain him:

and he said unto him, why art thou alone, and no man with thee? he might well wonder at it, and put such a question, seeing he was so great a man, both in the court and camp, and the king's son in law; he might therefore reasonably suspect something more than ordinary was the case, and which occasioned his fears.

(a) Hieron. Trad. Heb. in lib. Reg. fol. 76. H. (b) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Zebachim, c. 14. sect. 7. (c) Travels, &c. p. 136. (d) Comment. in lsa. x. 32. (e) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 8. 1.((f) Epitaphium Paulae, fol. 59. A. CHAPTER 21

1Sa 21:1-7. David, at Nob, Obtains of Ahimelech Hallowed Bread.

1. Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech—Nob, a city of the priests (1Sa 22:19), was in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives—a little north of the top, and on the northeast of the city. It is computed to have been about five miles distant from Gibeah. Ahimelech, the same as Ahiah, or perhaps his brother, both being sons of Ahitub (compare 1Sa 14:3, with 1Sa 22:4-11, 20). His object in fleeing to this place was partly for the supply of his necessities, and partly for comfort and counsel, in the prospect of leaving the kingdom.

Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David—suspecting some extraordinary occurrence by his appearing so suddenly, and in such a style, for his attendants were left at a little distance.21:1-9 David, in distress, fled to the tabernacle of God. It is great comfort in a day of trouble, that we have a God to go to, to whom we may open our cases, and from whom we may ask and expect direction. David told Ahimelech a gross untruth. What shall we say to this? The Scripture does not conceal it, and we dare not justify it; it was ill done, and proved of bad consequence; for it occasioned the death of the priests of the Lord. David thought upon it afterward with regret. David had great faith and courage, yet both failed him; he fell thus foully through fear and cowardice, and owing to the weakness of his faith. Had he trusted God aright, he would not have used such a sorry, sinful shift for his own preservation. It is written, not for us to do the like, no, not in the greatest straits, but for our warning. David asked of Ahimelech bread and a sword. Ahimelech supposed they might eat the shew-bread. The Son of David taught from it, that mercy is to be preferred to sacrifice; that ritual observances must give way to moral duties. Doeg set his foot as far within the tabernacle as David did. We little know with what hearts people come to the house of God, nor what use they will make of pretended devotion. If many come in simplicity of heart to serve their God, others come to observe their teachers and to prove accusers. Only God and the event can distinguish between a David and a Doeg, when both are in the tabernacle.
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