1 Samuel 21 – “Ahimelech Helps David; David Feigns Madness”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
David convinces Ahimelech to provide him with bread and a sword. David flees to the Philistine city of Achish where he feigns madness.

II. Photo
David feigns madness: “So he concealed his good sense from them; he feigned madness for their benefit. He scratched marks on the doors of the gate and let his saliva run down his beard.” (v. 14)

III. Important Verses
5-7: The priest answered David, “I have no ordinary bread on hand; there is only consecrated bread — provided the young men have kept away from women.” In reply to the priest, David said, “I assure you that women have been kept from us, as always. Whenever I went on a mission, even if the journey was a common one, the vessels of the young men were consecrated; all the more then may consecrated food be put into their vessels today.” So the priest gave him consecrated bread, because there was none there except the bread of display, which had been removed from the presence of the LORD, to be replaced by warm bread as soon as it was taken away.
9-10: David said to Ahimelech, “Haven’t you got a spear or sword on hand? I didn’t take my sword or any of my weapons with me, because the king’s mission was urgent.” The priest said, “There is the sword of Goliath the Philistine whom you slew in the valley of Elah; it is over there, wrapped in a cloth, behind the ephod. If you want to take that one, take it, for there is none here but that one.” David replied, “There is none like it; give it to me.”
13-16: These words worried David and he became very much afraid of King Achish of Gath. So he concealed his good sense from them; he feigned madness for their benefit. He scratched marks on the doors of the gate and let his saliva run down his beard. And Achish said to his courtiers, “You see the man is raving; why bring him to me? Do I lack madmen that you have brought this fellow to rave for me? Should this fellow enter my house?”

IV. Outline
1. David and Jonathan part ways
2-10. David convinces Ahimelech to help him
11-16. David feigns madness in front of the king of Achish

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Klein, Ralph W. “1 Samuel” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 10 (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1983).
McCarter, P. Kyle, Jr. “1 Samuel,” Anchor Bible vol. 8 (New York: Doubleday, 1980).
Photo taken from http://germz.org/img/lj/beard_06.jpg

Leave a Reply