Eighty-five—If I could turn back time

Eighty-five—If I could turn back time

David was on the run from his father-in-law. King Saul’s relentless pursuit of the man who would be king was fuelled by blinding jealousy. Jonathan had warned David. David had fled. But hunger and need for weaponry caused him to look to Ahimelech the priest for help. Ahimelech had obviously heard the talk on the street. David was radioactive. To go near him was a death sentence. Thus, he approached David trembling. He gave David bread and the sword of Goliath and must have heaved a sigh of relief when David headed for Philistia. David would rue the day that he brought the curse of death upon Ahimelech and the other priests at Nob. Saul came to town. His interrogation of Ahimelech was a cruel formality. Doeg, an Edomite, who was desperate to curry favour with Saul, had given details of Ahimelech’s encounter with David. Saul’s demand for loyalty had entered the realms of the irrational. Ahimelech’s defence on his own behalf just sped up his demise. Saul’s order to kill the priests struck terror into his Hebrew troops. Saul may not have feared God, but they did! Any vestiges of the spirit of Esau that forgave his brother, Jacob, had long since drained away and been replaced with that which filled the murderous heart of his descendant, Doeg. ‘Then the king said to Doeg, “You turn and strike the priests.” And Doeg the Edomite turned and struck down the priests, and he killed on that day eighty-five persons who wore the linen ephod” (1Sam.22:18). David would later be informed of this massacre. He lamented to Abiatha, “Doeg the Edomite was there at Nob that day. I knew he would surely tell Saul. So I am responsible for the death of all your father’s family” (1Sam.22:22). If David could turn back time he would not have gone near Ahimelech. Such is life that some things are just best avoided for everyone’s sake. May God give us the wisdom to discern any actions that may cause evil to fall upon the innocent.



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