Verses 20-23 (1 Samuel 22:20-23)

Here is, 1. The escape of Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, out of the desolations of the priests? city. Probably when his father went to appear, upon Saul?s summons, he was left at home to attend the altar, by which means he escaped the first execution, and, before Doeg and his bloodhounds came to Nob, he had intelligence of the danger, and had time to shift for his own safety. And whither should he go but to David? 1 Sam. 22:20. Let those that suffer for the Son of David commit the keeping of their souls to him, 1 Pet. 4:19. 2. David?s resentment of the melancholy tidings he brought. He gave David an account of the bloody work Saul had made among the priests of the Lord (1 Sam. 22:21), as the disciples of John, when their master was beheaded, went and told Jesus, Matt. 14:12. And David greatly lamented the calamity itself, but especially his e75 being accessory to it: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father?s house, 1 Sam. 22:22. Note, It is a great trouble to a good man to find himself in any way an occasion of the calamities of the church and ministry. David knew Doeg?s character so well that he feared he would do some such mischief as this when he saw him at the sanctuary: I knew he would tell Saul. He calls him Doeg the Edomite, because he retained the heart of an Edomite, though, by embracing the profession of the Jewish religion, he had put on the mask of an Israelite. 3. The protection he granted to Abiathar. He perceived him to be terrified, as he had reason to be, and therefore bade him not to fear, he would be as careful for him as for himself: With me thou shalt be in safeguard, 1 Sam. 22:23. David, having now time to recollect himself, speaks with assurance of his own safety, and promises that Abiathar shall have the full benefit of his protection. It is promised to the Son of David that God will hide him in the shadow of his hand (Isa. 49:2), and, with him, all that are his may be sure that they shall be in safeguard, Ps. 91:1. David had now not only a prophet, but a priest, a high-priest, with him, to whom he was a blessing and they to him, and both a happy omen of his success. Yet it appears (by 1 Sam. 28:6) that Saul had a high priest too, for he had a urim to consult: it is supposed that he preferred Ahitub the father of Zadok, of the family of Eleazar (1 Chron. 6:8), for even those that hate the power of godliness yet will not be without the form. It must not be forgotten here that David at this time penned Ps. 52:1-9, as appears by the title of that psalm, wherein he represents Doeg not only as malicious and spiteful, but as false and deceitful, because though what he said was, for the substance of it, true, yet he put false colours upon it, with a design to do mischief. Yet even then, when the priesthood had become as a withered branch, he looks upon himself as a green olive-tree in the house of God, Ps. 52:8. In this great hurry and distraction that David was continually in, yet he found both time and a heart for communion with God, and found comfort in it.

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary