17 July 1 Samuel 22:6-19

17 July.  Saul kills the priests of Nob for helping David

“Saul heard that David and his men had been seen. Saul was sitting under the tamarisk tree on the hill at Gibeah, and all his officers were standing around him. He had a spear in his hand.”

“Saul said to them, ‘Listen, men of Benjamin! Do you think the son of Jesse will give all of you fields and vineyards? Will David make you commanders over thousands of men or hundreds of men? You have all made plans against me! No one tells me when my son makes an agreement with the son of Jesse!’…”

"Doeg the Edomite, who was standing there with Saul’s officers, said, ‘I saw the son of Jesse. He came to see Ahimelech son of Ahitub at Nob. Ahimelech prayed to the LORD for David and gave him food and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine.’”

“Then the king sent for the priest Ahimelech son of Ahitub and for all of Ahimelech’s relatives who were priests at Nob. And they all came to the king.”

“Saul said to Ahimelech, ‘Listen now, son of Ahitub.’ Ahimelech answered, ‘Yes, master.’ Saul said, ‘Why are you and Jesse’s son against me? You gave him bread and a sword! You prayed to God for him. David has turned against me and is waiting to attack me even now!’”

“Ahimelech answered, ‘You have no other servant who is as loyal as David, your own son-in-law and captain of your bodyguards. Everyone in your house respects him. That was not the first time I prayed to God for David. Don’t blame me or any of my relatives. I, your servant, know nothing about what is going on.’”

“But the king said, ‘Ahimelech, you and all your relatives must die!’ Then he told the guards at his side, ‘Go and kill the priests of the LORD, because they are on David’s side. They knew he was running away, but they didn’t tell me.’”

“But the king’s officers refused to kill the priests of the LORD. Then the king ordered Doeg, ‘Go and kill the priests.’ So Doeg the Edomite went and killed the priests. That day he killed 85 men who wore the linen holy robe. He also killed the people of Nob, the city of the priests. With the sword he killed men, women, children, babies, cattle, donkeys and sheep.”

          (1Samuel 22:6-19)



In today’s passage, Saul descended to even greater depths of depravity. Having convinced himself that David was his arch enemy, he began to blame everyone around him for plotting against him.

Gathering his officers and officials around him on the hillside outside the royal palace at Gibeah, he began by giving them a pep talk on the dangers of siding with David. Then he accused them of treachery by failing to inform him of his son Jonathan’s secret agreement with David. Their silence infuriated him further.

At this moment, Doeg the Edomite made a bold move to improve his standing in the court. He told Saul about David’s visit to the sanctuary at Nob, and how Ahimelech the priest had prayed for David and given him food and the sword that had belonged to Goliath of Gath.

Saul immediately sent for Ahimelech and demanded an explanation. Ahimelech, who had been dreading this moment, appealed to Saul’s better nature by telling him that David was his most loyal servant.

This infuriated Saul and he ordered his officers to kill Ahimelech and all his family. His officers, fearful of slaying the priests of the holy God of Israel, refused to carry out his orders.

Doeg the Edomite, however, had no such qualms, and immediately set about slaughtering all 85 priests, and then killed the men, women and children of Nob who had supported the priestly families.

But we are left in no doubt that it was actually Saul who was guilty of this abomination by ordering the death of Ahimelech and the priests of Nob for aiding and abetting David.

The photo shows a Jewish priest (left), the High Priest (centre) and a Levite (right) in an illustration from Charles Foster's ‘Story of the Bible in Pictures’ (1873).

The Bible describes the vestments that were to be worn by the priests in Exodus 28 & 39. These included linen undergarments and a linen priestly robe (Exodus 28:6-7). 

You can read more about the instructions Moses received for sacred altars, hand basins, priestly garments and the consecration of the priests @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/25-the-israelites-journey-from-egypt-to-mt-sinai/moses-constructs-the-ark-of-the-covenant/

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