Saul’s jealousy and paranoia are reaching fever pitch. We’ve seen David run. Now the storyteller cuts to Saul’s reaction and pursuit. It’s not pretty.
Goliath isn’t the only seemingly impossible opponent David has to fight in his life. In fact, Goliath is just a prelude. David now faces the wrath of his own king and his entire army and people. Nowhere is safe.
Ahimelech the priest is an innocent bystander caught in the middle. A sense of impending dread swarms over this encounter he has with the king. We know something tragic and terrible is about to happen.
And then Saul gives the execution orders. The Israelite soldiers with him refuse. They know better than to lay a violent hand on any representative of God. So Saul gets Doeg the godless Edomite (doesn’t that name just sound like a mercenary hit-man?) to do his dirty work.
85 priest of God. This is Saul’s supposed justice for giving bread to David. The murder of 85 innocent people would be reprehensible enough, but these are priests of God. This is an act of war on God Himself.
This is also from the same twisted mind that had pity on the king of the Amalekites when he was told to kill him.
This is not the good king. These are dark times in Israel.
While Saul goes on his petty revenge war-path, David rescues a city in peril. The contrast shouldn’t be lost on us.
One king acts out of greedy self-preservation. Another king fights for the survival of others.
One king is blinded by his own self-importance. Another king sees the needs of the weak and oppressed around him.
One destroys. One gives refuge.
We want to be like David. Not like Saul.