WHERE DAVID FOUND THE GIANT'S SWORD
I Samuel xxi: 1, to xxii: 23.
ROM his meeting with Jonathan, David went forth to be a
wanderer, having no home as long as Saul lived. He went
away so suddenly that he was without either bread to
eat, or a sword for defence. On his way he called at a
little city called Nob, where the Tabernacle was then
standing, although the holy ark was still in another
place by itself. (See Story 51.) The
chief priest, Ahimelech, was surprised to see David
coming alone. David said to him, "The king has sent me
upon an errand of which no one is to be told, and my
men are to meet me in a secret place. Can you give me a
few loaves of bread?"
"There is no bread here," said the priest, "except the
holy bread from the table in the holy house. The
priests have just taken it away to put new bread in its
place." (For an account of the table and the bread, see
"Let me have that bread," said David, "for we are the
Lord's, and are holy."
So the priest gave David the holy bread, which was to
be eaten by the priests alone. David said also, "Have
you a spear, or a sword, which I can take with me? The
king's errand was so sudden that I had no time to bring
"There is no sword here," said the priest, "except the
sword of Goliath of Gath, whom you slew in the valley
of Elah. It is wrapped in a cloth, in the closet with
the priest's robe. If you wish that sword, you can have
it." (See Story 58.)
"There is no sword like that," said David; "give it to
me." So David took the giant's sword, and five loaves
of bread, and went away. But where should he go?
Nowhere in Saul's kingdom
 would he be safe; and he went down to live among his
old enemies, the Philistines, on the plain.
DAVID TOOK THE GIANT'S SWORD
But the Philistines had not forgotten David, who had
slain their great Goliath, and beaten them in many
battles. They would have seized him and killed him; but
David acted as though he was crazy. Then the king of
the Philistines said, "Let this poor crazy man go! We
do not want him here."
And David escaped from among them, and went to live in
the wilderness of Judah. He found a great cave, called
the cave of Adullam, and hid in it. Many people heard
where he was, and from all parts of the land,
especially from his own tribe of Judah, men who were
not satisfied with the rule of King Saul, gathered
around David. Soon he had a little army of four hundred
men, who followed David as their captain.
All of these men with David were good fighters, and
some of them were very brave in battle. Three of these
men at one time wrought a great deed for David. While
David was in the great cave, with his men, the
Philistines were holding the town of Bethlehem, which
had been David's home. David said one day: "How I wish
that I could have a drink of the water from the well
that is beside the gate of Bethlehem!"
This was the well from which he had drawn water and
drank when a boy; and it seemed to him that there was
no water so good to his taste.
Those three brave men went out together, walked to
Bethle-  hem, fought their way through the Philistines who were
on guard, drew a vessel of water from the well, and
then fought their way back through the enemies.
But when they brought the water to David, he would not
drink it. He said:
"This water was bought by the blood of three brave men.
I will not drink it; but I will pour it out as an
offering to the Lord, for it is sacred." So David
poured out the water as a most precious gift to the
Lord. Saul soon heard that David, with a band of men,
was hiding among the mountains of Judah. One day while
Saul was sitting in Gibeah, out of doors under a tree,
with his nobles around him, he said, "You are men of my
own tribe of Benjamin, yet none of you will help me to
find this son of Jesse, who has made an agreement with
my own son against me, and who has gathered an army,
and is waiting to rise against me. Is no one of you
with me and against mine enemy?"
THE WATER FROM THE WELL OF BETHLEHEM
One man, whose name was Doeg, an Edomite, said, "I was
at the city of the priests some time ago, and saw the
son of Jesse come to the chief priest, Ahimelech; and
the priest gave him loaves of bread and a sword." "Send
for Ahimelech and all the priests," commanded King
Saul; and they took all the priests as prisoners,
eighty-five men in all, and brought them before King
Saul. And Saul said to them, "Why have you priests
joined with David, the
 son of Jesse, to rebel against me, the king? You have
given him bread, and a sword, and have shown yourselves
Then Ahimelech, the priest, answered the king, "There
is no one among all the king's servants as faithful as
David; and he is the king's son-in-law, living in the
palace, and sitting in the king's council. What wrong
have I done in giving him bread? I knew nothing of any
evil that he had wrought against the king."
Then the king was very angry. He said, "You shall die,
Ahimelech, and all your father's family, because you
have helped this man, my enemy. You knew that he was
hiding from me, and did not tell me of him."
And the king ordered his guards to kill all the
priests. But they would not obey him, for they felt
that it was a dreadful deed to lay hands upon the
priests of the Lord. This made Saul all the more
furious, and he turned to Doeg, the Edomite, the man
who had told of David's visit to the priest, and Saul
said to Doeg, "You are the only one among my servants
who is true to me. Do you kill these priests who have
been unfaithful to their king."
And Doeg, the Edomite, obeyed the king, and killed
eighty-five men who wore the priestly garments. He went
to the city of the priests, and killed all their wives
and children, and burned the city.
One priest alone escaped, a young man named Abiathar,
the son of Ahimelech. He came to David with the
terrible news, that Saul had slain all the priests, and
he brought the high-priest's breast-plate and his
David said to him, "I saw this man Doeg, the Edomite,
there on that day, and I knew that he would tell Saul.
Without intending to do harm, I have caused the death
of all your father's house. Stay with me, and fear not.
I will care for your life with my own."
Abiathar was now the high-priest, and he was with
David, and not with Saul. All through the land went the
news of Saul's dreadful deed, and everywhere the people
began to turn from Saul, and to look toward David as
the only hope of the nation.