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CHAPTER 21 (ESV)
1 Then David came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest. And Ahimelech came to meet David, trembling, and said to him, “Why are you alone, and no one with you?” 2 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. 3 Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever is here.” 4 And the priest answered David, “I have no common bread on hand, but there is holy bread—if the young men have kept themselves from women.” 5 And David answered the priest, “Truly women have been kept from us as always when I go on an expedition. The vessels of the young men are holy even when it is an ordinary journey. How much more today will their vessels be holy?” 6 So the priest gave him the holy bread, for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away.
- The “bread of the Presence” which was placed in the Holy Place in the tabernacle was used for a thank offering to the Lord on Sabbath. Although the bread was to be eaten only by the priests, Ahimelech agreed to give it to David and his men on the condition that they were ceremonially clean.
- Jesus used this incident to illustrate the principle that the ceremonial law was not to be viewed in a legalistic manger (Mt 12:3-4). He also teaches that it is always lawful to do good and to save life. Such compassionate acts are within the true spirit of the Law, though they appear to contradict the letter of the Law.
Lord, teach me to truly understand the Bible and Your will. I don’t wish to blindly become a legalistic Pharisee, but to love God wholeheartedly and love others as myself. In this way, I may live a life that follows Jesus’ example.