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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 21

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

Nob was a city of the priests, the high priest resided there, and the tabernacle was pitched there 1 Samuel 21:4, 1 Samuel 21:6,1 Samuel 21:9; 1 Samuel 22:10. It was situated on the road from the north to Jerusalem, near Anathoth, and within sight of the holy city Isaiah 10:32; Nehemiah 11:32. But the site has not been identified with certainty.

Verse 2

A fresh instance of David’s unscrupulous readiness of invention (compare 1 Samuel 20:6).

Verse 4

Common - As opposed to holy. (See the marginal references, and compare the use of the word in Acts 10:14-15, Acts 10:28.) It gives an idea of the depressed and poor condition of the priesthood at that time, that Ahimelech should have had no bread at hand except the showbread.

Verse 5

The vessels of the young men ... - i. e., their clothes Deuteronomy 22:5 or wallets (marginal reference), or other articles which might be Levitically unclean and need cleansing (Leviticus 13:58; Exodus 19:10, etc.; Mark 7:4), as well as the person.

And the bread ... - The meaning is; “Though it is treating it like common bread to give it to me and my young men, there is fresh showbread baked and put on the table in place of what you give us;” the day being Friday. as is indicated in the verse following.

Verse 7

Detained before the Lord - Either to fulfill a vow Acts 21:23-27, or on account of uncleanness, or under the law of lepers Leviticus 13:4, Leviticus 13:11, Leviticus 13:21, or as a proselyte. It is not impossible that Doeg may have been in custody or in sanctuary for some crime.

Verse 9

Wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod - Rather, “in the cloak,” Goliath’s military cloak, which was part of the dedicated trophy. The ephod was naturally hung up where the high priest alone could get at it.

Verse 10

Achish king of Gath - It appears from the title that Psalms 34:0 was composed on this occasion. (See the note there.) Nothing can give a more lively impression of the straits to which David was reduced than the fact of his going to the country of the Philistines.

Verse 11

The king of the land - The Philistines gave him the title which their own lords bore.

Verse 13

Scrabbled - literally, made marks (margin), namely, the mark of the “tau” (t), which in the ancient Hebrew and Phoenician was in the shape of a cross. (See Ezekiel 9:4.)

On the doors of the gate - The gate of Achish’s palace-yard or court, in which the attendants waited. The house itself stood in this court. (Compare Esther 2:19, Esther 2:21.)

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-samuel-21.html. 1870.
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