1 Samuel 21

Talks for Growing Christians

David Seeks Provision from Ahimelech and Protection from Achish

1 Samuel 21

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Lesson Number 25

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The testimony of believers is compromised when they lie to fellow believers.
  2. The testimony of believers is compromised when they turn to the world for security.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s learn from our mistakes.


  1. What painful decision did David make in 1 Samuel 20?
  2. Who was usually allowed to eat the showbread? Why was an exception made here?
  3. What did Jesus teach in relation to this story?
  4. When did David lie to the high priest Ahimelech in this chapter?
  5. Why did David pretend to be crazy before King Achish?


  1. David became a fugitive and left his wife and position in the royal court, because King Saul continued to threaten his life.
  2. According to the Law in Leviticus 24, this bread was normally for the priests. In this case, the preservation of David’s life was more important than a ceremonial regulation.
  3. The Lord referenced this event in Matthew 12 when the Pharisees were criticizing the disciples for picking and eating grain on the Sabbath. His point was that moral obligations in life supersede civil or ceremonial regulations.
  4. In verse 2 he claimed to be on secret business for the king. In verse 8 he said the king’s business required haste.
  5. He wanted the Philistines to think he was harmless, so they would give him refuge from King Saul.


  1. This lesson taught that “moral obligations in life supersede civil or ceremonial regulations.” Give an application for this biblical principle today. The Bible is not teaching that is permissible to break God’s moral laws on occasion.
  2. Lying is never justified, and David’s lies in this chapter were no exception. How does this compare to discussion question #1. What was the sad consequence of David’s lie?


  1. David made several mistakes in this chapter, but he learned from his mistakes. This does not excuse the mistake, but hopefully we will also learn from our mistakes and make less in the future.

Key Verses

  • “So the priest gave him holy bread; for there was no bread there but the showbread which had been taken from before the LORD.” 1 Samuel 21:6
  • “Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath.” 1 Samuel 21:10

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