1 Samuel 22:18
(18) And Doeg the Edomite . . . fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons.--No doubt, assisted by his own attached servants, Doeg carried out this deed of unexampled barbarity. For this act the Edomite servant of Saul has been execrated in the most ancient Jewish writings perhaps above any other of the famous wicked men who meet us in the Holy Scriptures. For instance, we read in the Babylonian Talmud how "Doeg the Edomite, after his massacre of the priests, was encountered by three destructive demons. One deprived him of his learning (concerning which see above, in Note on 1Samuel 22:9), a second burned his soul, and a third scattered his dust in the synagogues"--Treatise Sanhedrin, fol. 106, Colossians 2. The Babylonian Talmud has a still more curious comment on the iniquity of Doeg, in which David is bitterly reproached by the Most High for being the cause of Doeg's great sin and its terrible consequences. "Rav Yehudah recorded that Rav had said . . . The Holy One, blessed be He! had said to David, How long shall this iniquity cling to thee? Through thee the priests of Nob were slain; through thee Doeg the Edomite became a reprobate; and through thee Saul and his three sons were slain."--Treatise Sanhedrin, fol. 95, cols. 1, 2.

A linen ephod.--The ordinary priests appear to have worn a linen over garment, similar in form to the high priestly cape or ephod. They came probably from Nob to Gibeah (the distance was not great) clad in their official costume, out of respect to the king who sent for them. The murderous deed assumes a still more awful character when we recollect who were the victims--the priests of the living God, clad in their white ministering robes!

22:6-19 See the nature of jealous malice and its pitiful arts. Saul looks upon all about him as his enemies, because they do not just say as he says. In Ahimelech's answer to Saul we have the language of conscious innocence. But what wickedness will not the evil spirit hurry men to when he gets the dominion! Saul alleges that which was utterly false and unproved. But the most bloody tyrants have found instruments of their cruelty as barbarous as themselves. Doeg, having murdered the priests, went to the city, Nob, and put all to the sword there. Nothing so vile but those may do it, who have provoked God to give them up to their hearts' lusts. Yet this was the accomplishment of the threatenings against the house of Eli. Though Saul was unrighteous in doing this, yet God was righteous in permitting it. No word of God shall fall to the ground.And the king said to Doeg, turn thou and fall upon the priests,.... For determined he was they should die; if one would not put them to death, another should, and who so fit for this bloody work as the false accuser of them, and false witness against them?

and Doeg the Edomite turned; immediately, he at once obeyed the king's orders, as brutish as they were:

and fell upon the priests; with his sword in hand:

and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod; not the ephod of Urim and Thummim, which was only worn by the high priest, but a garment wholly linen, worn by common priests; the Targum is,"who are fit to be clothed with a linen ephod;''not that they were clothed with it, but were deserving of it; or it designs the great and more honourable among the servants of the Lord, as Kimchi observes, for such were clothed with this garment, as Samuel and David; and he thinks it suggests, that more were slain than these; and the Septuagint version makes them to be eight hundred five, and Josephus (h) three hundred eighty five; in the slaying of whom, as the same writer says, Doeg was assisted by some wicked men like himself; and the slaughter did not end here, as the 1 Samuel 22:19 shows.

(h) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 12. sect. 6.

1 Samuel 22:17
Top of Page
Top of Page