“So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the LORD, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away.”
King James Version (KJV)
21:4 There is, &c. - Here in the tabernacle: though doubtless he had other provisions is his house; but David was in great haste, and in fear of Doeg whom he saw, and knew and therefore would not stay 'till any thing could be fetched thence. There was a double impediment to the giving this bread to them; Its sacredness in itself; which the priest implies, and David answers ver.#5|, and the priest was satisfied therein by David's great necessities. The abstinence from all women, which he supposed should be in those that use it; concerning which he now enquires. And though he mentions this only concerning David's young men, and out of reverence forbears to name him; yet he is also included in the number, as David's answer shews.
21:5 Three days - As long as the law required, #Exod 19:15|. And so long David, and his men hid, it seems, hid themselves for fear of Saul, whereby they were kept both from women: and from food convenient for them. Vessels - That is, Either, Their garments, or other utensils for their journey. Or their bodies. The bread - Heb. and this bread; is in a manner common: that is, considering the time, and our necessity, this maybe used in a manner, like common bread. For though for a season while it is to stand before the Lord, it be so holy, that the priest himself might not eat it; yet afterwards it is eaten by the priest, and his whole family, and so it may be by us, in our circumstances. Tho' it were - But newly put into the vessel, it must give place to the great law of necessity, and charity; because God will have mercy preferred before sacrifice.
21:7 Detained - Not by force but by his choice; he fixed his abode there for that day; either because it was the sabbath - day; on which he might not proceed in his journey, or for the discharge of some vow. Before the Lord - That is, at the tabernacle. An Edomite - By birth, but he was proselyted to the Jewish religion.