David Lies to Abimelech

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Fearing for his life, David flees to Nob (v.1) which was halfway between Jerusalem and Gibeath.  Wondering where to go, he decides to ask Abimelech, the priest, for help. Abimelech was the great-grandson of Eli. When Abimelech heard that David had entered the gates of the city, he came trembling to David asking why he had come alone. David lied by saying the king had sent him there on business. Some try to excuse this by saying a war was going on and it was the duty of a good soldier to deceive the enemy. However, nowhere in Scripture is David’s lie condoned and Leviticus (19:11) makes it very plain that lying is wrong. Because of this lie, 85 priests are lead to their death (22:9-19).

While in Nob, David is spotted by a spy of Saul, Doeg the Edomite, who informed Saul of David’s whereabouts. Again he flees to Gath, which is 23 miles southwest of Nob and the hometown of Goliath. Achish, the Philistine king of Gath, recognized who David was. According to Psalms 56 and 34, he was not given a warm welcome and may even have been imprisoned. Eventually he was brought before the king and, to obtain his freedom, David pretended to be insane. He scribbled on the doors of the gate and allowed his saliva to run down on his beard because he knew it was the custom not to harm mentally unstable people.


Lying, like every other sin, is serious in God’s sight and may lead to all sorts of harmful consequences.  I must never allow myself to think that what I may classify as little white lies are ok. Usually the telling of one lie leads to the telling of more lies.

I Samuel 21:1-15 (English Standard Version)

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