1 Samuel 21:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
David answered Ahimelek the priest, "The king sent me on a mission and said to me, 'No one is to know anything about the mission I am sending you on.' As for my men, I have told them to meet me at a certain place.

New Living Translation
"The king has sent me on a private matter," David said. "He told me not to tell anyone why I am here. I have told my men where to meet me later.

English Standard Version
And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place.

New American Standard Bible
David 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.'

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
David answered Ahimelech the priest, "The king gave me a mission, but he told me, 'Don't let anyone know anything about the mission I'm sending you on or what I have ordered you to do.' I have stationed my young men at a certain place.

International Standard Version
David told Ahimelech the priest, "The king commanded me about a matter, saying to me, 'Don't let anyone know anything about the matter I'm sending you to do and about which I've commanded you. I've directed the young men to a certain place.'

NET Bible
David replied to Ahimelech the priest, "The king instructed me to do something, but he said to me, 'Don't let anyone know the reason I am sending you or the instructions I have given you.' I have told my soldiers to wait at a certain place.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"The king ordered me to do something," David answered the priest Ahimelech, "and he told me, 'No one must know anything about this mission I'm sending you on and about the orders I've given you. I've stationed my young men at a certain place.' "

Jubilee Bible 2000
And David said unto Ahimelech, the priest, The king has commanded me a business and has said unto me, Let no one know anything of this business about which I send thee and what I have commanded thee, and I have appointed my servants to a certain place.

King James 2000 Bible
And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king has charged me with a business, and has said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business about which I send you, and what I have commanded you: and I have directed my young men to such and such a place.

American King James Version
And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king has commanded me a business, and has said to me, Let no man know any thing of the business about which I send you, and what I have commanded you: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.

American Standard Version
And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know anything of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed the young men to such and such a place.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And David said to Achimelech the priest: The king hath commanded me a business, and said: Let no man know the thing for which thou art sent by me, and what manner of commands I have given thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.

Darby Bible Translation
And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king has commanded me a business, and has said to me, Let no man know anything of the business whereon I send thee, and what I have commanded thee; and I have directed the young men to such and such a place.

English Revised Version
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 the young men to such and such a place.

Webster's Bible Translation
And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said to me, Let no man know any thing of the business about which I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.

World English Bible
David said to Ahimelech the priest, "The king has commanded me a business, and has said to me, 'Let no man know anything of the business about which I send you, and what I have commanded you; and I have appointed the young men to such and such a place.'

Young's Literal Translation
And David saith to Ahimelech the priest, 'The king hath commanded me a matter, and he saith unto me, Let no man know anything of the matter about which I am sending thee, and which I have commanded thee; and the young men I have caused to know at such and such a place;
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 2. - The king hath commanded me a business. This pretence of a private commission from the king was a mere invention, but his "appointing his servants to meet him at such and such a place" was probably the exact truth. After parting with Jonathan, David probably did not venture to show himself at home, but, while Saul still supposed him to be at Bethlehem, gave orders to some trusty officer to gather together a few of his most faithful men, and await him with them at some fit place. Meanwhile alone he sets out on his flight, and, having as yet no settled plan, goes to Nob, because it was out of the way of the road to Bethlehem, whither Saul would send to arrest him. Naturally such a visit would seem strange to Ahimelech; but David needed food and arms, and probably counsel; and. but for the chance of the presence of Doeg, no harm might have ensued. As it was, this visit of David completed the ruin of Eli's house.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And David said unto Ahimelech the priest,.... In reply to his question, and to account for such an appearance he made without an equipage:

the king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, let no man know anything of the business thereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee; he pretended he was upon a secret expedition, by the order of Saul, which none were to know of, no, not his own servants, and that was the reason why he came to him alone; which was a downright lie, and was aggravated by its being told only for the sake of getting a little food; and especially told to an high priest, and at the tabernacle of God, and when he was come to inquire of the Lord there; and was attended with a dreadful consequence, the slaughter of the Lord's priests there, which afterwards lay heavy on David's mind, 1 Samuel 22:22; and is the very sin he is thought to refer to in Psalm 119:28. This shows the weakness of the best of men, when left to themselves; David who as much hated lying as any man did, fell into it himself:

and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place; to such a place, of such an one, not naming place nor person, that they might not be known; so the Targum calls it a place hidden and kept; and that David had some servants, though not now with him, who ate of the shewbread, appears from Matthew 12:3; whom Jonathan might send after him, to a place agreed on and appointed between them; so that this might be true.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know—This was a direct falsehood, extorted through fear. David probably supposed, like many other persons, that a lie is quite excusable which is told for the sole purpose of saving the speaker's life. But what is essentially sinful, can never, from circumstances, change its immoral character; and David had to repent of this vice of lying (Ps 119:29).

1 Samuel 21:2 Additional Commentaries
Context
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.' 3"Now therefore, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever can be found."…
Cross References
1 Samuel 21:3
Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find."

Psalm 141:3
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Treasury of Scripture

And David said to Ahimelech the priest, The king has commanded me a business, and has said to me, Let no man know any thing of the business about which I send you, and what I have commanded you: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.

The king The whole of this is a gross falsehood; and which was attended with the most fatal consequences. It is well known that from all antiquity it was held no crime to tell a lie in order to save life. Thus Diphilon () `I hold it right to tell a lie for safety: nothing should be avoided to save life.' A heathen may say or sing thus: but no Christian can act thus and save his soul, though he may save his life.

1 Samuel 19:17 And Saul said to Michal, Why have you deceived me so, and sent away …

1 Samuel 22:22 And David said to Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite …

Genesis 27:20,24 And Isaac said to his son, How is it that you have found it so quickly, …

1 Kings 13:18 He said to him, I am a prophet also as you are; and an angel spoke …

Psalm 119:29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me your law graciously.

Galatians 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: …

Colossians 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man …

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