Reading through the Bible together
In this chapter we see the results of David’s failure to trust the Lord in the face of Saul’s determined pursuit. Holding court at his home in Gibeah, Saul suspects his own officers of covering for David. Doeg, the Edomite chief of Saul’s shepherds, tells him that he saw Ahimelech give David bread and the sword of Goliath.
Thinking he saw plotters even among the priests, Saul summoned Ahimelech and all his family. The priests, of course, had no idea why Saul wanted to see them. In verses 14 and 15 we read Ahimelech’s reasonable defense of David, but Saul was beyond reason. He ordered his officers to kill the priests, and when they refused he ordered Doeg to do it. So Doeg slaughtered 85 priests, and the whole population of the little town of Nob. Only Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, survived.
The Bible does not picture David with a halo. It “tells it like it is.” David’s deception led to the deaths of all the priests, as well as the people of their village. If only he had been completely honest with Ahimelech! What regrets he must have felt! The words, "If only," can be very sad at times. But the Lord did not abandon David, as we shall see in the next chapter. One who hurts others by his mistakes can be forgiven and restored, if he will repent and renew his trust in the Lord.
Retired Professor and Missionary