But where should he go? Nowhere in Saulís kingdom would he be safe; and he went down to live among his old enemies, the Philistines, on the plain. But the Philistines had not forgotten David, who had slain their great Gollath, and beaten them in many battles. They would have seized him and killed him; but David acted as though he was crazy. .Then the king of the Philistines said, "Let this poor crazy man go! We do not want him here." And David escaped from among them, and went to live in the wilderness of Judah. He found a great cave, called the cave of Adullam, and hid in it. Many people heard where he was, and from all parts of the land, especially from his own tribe of Judah, men who were not satisfied with the rule of King Saul, gathered around David. Soon he had a little army of four hundred men, who followed David as their captain.
All of these men with David were good fighters, and some of them were very brave in battle. Three of these men at one time wrought a great deed for David. While David was in the great cave, with his men, the Philistines were holding the town of Bethlehem, which had been Davidís home. David said one day: "How I wish that I could have a drink of the water from the well that is beside the gate of Bethlehem!" This was the well from which he had drawn water and drank when a boy; and it seemed to him that there was no water so good to his taste. Those three brave men went out together, walked to Bethlehem , fought their way through the Philistines who were on guard, drew a vessel of water from the well, and then fought their way back through the enemies. But when they brought the water to David, he would not drink it. He said: "This water was bought by the blood of three brave men. I will not drink it; but I will pour it out as an offering to the Lord, for it is sacred." So David poured out the water as a most precious gift to the Lord.
Saul soon heard that David, with a band of men, was hiding among the mountains of Judah. One day while Saul was sitting in Gibeah, out of doors under a tree, with his nobles around him, he said, "You are men of my own tribe of Benjamin, yet none of you will help me to find this son of Jesse, who has made an agreement with my own son against me, and who has gathered an army, and is waiting to rise against me. Is no one of you with me and against mine enemy?" One man, whose name was Doeg, an Edomite, said, "I was at the city of the priests some time ago, and saw the son of Jesse come to the chief priest, Ahimelech; and the priest gave him loaves of bread and a sword." "Send for Ahimelech and all the priests," commanded King Saul; and they took all the priests as prisoners, eighty-five men in all, and brought them before King Saul. And Saul said to them, "Why have you priests joined with David, the son of Jesse, to rebel against me, the king? You have given him bread, and a sword, and have shown yourselves his friends." Then Ahimelech, the priest, answered the king, "There is no one among all the kings servants as faithful as David; and he is the kings son-in-law, living in the palace, and sitting in the kings council. What wrong have I done in giving him bread? I knew nothing of any evil that he had wrought against the king."
Then the king was very angry. He said, "You shall die, Ahimelech, and all your fathers family, because you have helped this man, my enemy. You knew that he was hiding from me, and did not tell me of him." And the king ordered his guards to kill all the priests. But they would not obey him, for they felt that it was a dreadful deed to lay hands upon the priests of the Lord. This made Saul all the more furious, and he turned to Doeg, the Edomite the man who had told of Davidís visit to the priest, and Saul said to Doeg, "You are the only one among my servants who is true to me. Do you kill these priests who have been unfaithful to their king." And Doeg, the Edomlte, obeyed the king, and killed eighty-five men who wore the priestly garments. He went to the city of the priests, and killed all their wives and children, and burned the city. One priest alone escaped, a young man named Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. He came to David with the terrible news, that Saul had slain all the priests, and he brought the high priests breastplate and his robes. David said to him, "I saw this man Doeg, the Edomlte, there on that day, and I knew that he would tell Saul. Without intending to do harm, I have caused the death of all your fathers house. Stay with me, and fear not. I will care for your life with my own." Abiathar was now the high priest, and he was with David, and not with Saul. All through the land went the news of Saulís dreadful deed, and everywhere the people began to turn from Saul, and to look toward David as the only hope of the nation.