And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the person’s of thy father’s house.
- 1 Samuel 22:22
Here, David tries to repair his lie to the High Priest, Ahimelech, by explaining it to his son, Abiathar, despite Abiathar witnessing it all at the time. can you imagine the weight on David's shoulders and the depression in his heart?
In the story, David, while on the run from Saul, went to a place called Nob, where the Tabernacle resided (the Ark itself possibly still in Kiriath-Jearem at this stage).
Instead of David telling Ahimelech the truth, that he was on the run from Saul, he feared Ahimelech's rejection more than honouring God. Rather, he concocted a tall tale that he and his fellow travellers were an envoy of Saul’s on a special mission. He said he made so much haste to fulfil his mission that he didn’t take any food or even a sword to protect himself. Ahimelech, seeing through this unbelievable story helped him anyhow due to David's faithfulness to both Saul and Israel. He provided loaves of the hallowed Showbread from the Tabernacle but under special conditions. He also gave him Goliath’s sword.
Unfortunately, Doeg, an Edomite, and Saul’s head herdsman watched it all and informed Saul. David didn't trust Doeg, but because he had started the lie, he had to go through with it. This is what happens with lies.
Doeg told Saul of David's whereabouts and the exchange of food and the sword. Saul called for Ahimelech and all the priest of the Lord. After the questioning and letting this perceived treachery eat at his heart, Saul then commanded his footmen to slay the entire priestly family. To their credit, they all declined, having the sense and courage to honour God over the King.
Doeg, on the other hand, with no remorse or spiritual connection with God, Israel or the priesthood, slew Ahimelech and another eighty-four innocent Levites with the sword. The only one to escape was Abiathar, who grabbed the Ephod before he fled and sought David's company.
This story resembles a plot from a movie, but, sadly, it occurred in real life.
After the slaughter, and David's burden for feeling he was the primary cause, David had the decency to discuss the events with Abiathar and blame himself. David considered himself completely responsible for the death of all Abiathar’s siblings, parents, other tabernacle workers he had grown up with. Abiathar had the decency and heart to forgive him.
In some situations, it feels difficult to tell the truth. Yet, when a lie has finished its course it generally brings pain for someone sooner or later. In David's case, it was the death of eighty-five people.
When you think of lying for whatever reason, think of this story.
Today’s prayer: Dear Lord, I don't like the fact that David lied, but I do like that he was remorseful and understood the full ramifications I don't want to be like that, so please help me to think about this story and fear God more than rejection or loss I think I might suffer.