The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
It was to the priest Achimelech, at Nobe, that David betook himself. Achimelech was dismayed at his coming; Why art thou alone, he asked, with none to attend thee?
The king, David told him, has given me a task to perform, but errand and instructions are both secret; and he has given me a trysting-place where I am to meet my companions.
Hast thou food for them ready to hand, though it were but five loaves? Let me have what thou canst afford.
Why, answered the priest, never a loaf have I here for common uses; there is only the holy bread. Are they free from defilement, these followers of thine, from the touch of woman, at least?
As to women, David told the priest, we are as clean as when we set out a day or two back; and the packs the men carry are as clean as themselves. This is no holy errand of ours, but it will not bring any defilement, to-day, upon aught we carry with us.✻
So the priest gave him hallowed bread, since he had nothing but the loaves which had been set out in the Lord’s presence, and must now be taken away to make room for a new batch.
One of Saul’s servants was there that day, waiting in the Lord’s precincts, a man of Edom called Doeg, chief of Saul’s shepherds.
And now David said to Achimelech, Hast thou a sword or spear here for me? My sword and all my weapons I left behind, so urgent was the royal command.
Yes, answered the priest, there is the sword of the Philistine, Goliath, whom thou didst slay in the Valley of the Terebinth. Wrapped in a cloth it lies, behind the sacred mantle. If thou wilt take that, take it; there is none other but that. And there is none other like that, said David; give it me.
David set out the same day, to find refuge from Saul’s pursuit, and betook himself to Achis, king of Geth.
And at the sight of him, Achis’ men said to their master, Why, is not this David, a king in his own land? Was it not in his honour their dancers used to sing, By Saul’s hand a thousand, by David’s ten thousand fell?
David marked their words well, and now he went in fear of Achis king of Geth.
So he changed his mien when they were by, swooning in their hands and clinging to the door-posts and letting the spittle fall on his beard,
till Achis told his men, Why, this is a madman you have found; why must you bring him into my presence?
Have we not fools enough, that you bring this fellow in to let me watch his antics? Is this the man you would have me take into my house?
The Holy Bible