In the days of Abiathar

Again, a comment on Jesus’ (or Mark’s) comment that David entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread “in the days of Abiathar the high priest.” (Mrk 2.25-26) Of course, the high priest at that time was Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar: “David went to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest.” (1 Sam 21.1) Nevertheless, Ahimelech died soon enough when Saul found out that Ahimelech had helped David: “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, giving him bread and a sword and inquiring of God for him, so that he has rebelled against me and lies in wait for me, as he does today? . . . You will surely die, Ahimelech, you and your whole family.” (1 Sam 22.13-16) Saul then ordered his man to kill all the priests in Nob. Well, not all, actually, since Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, managed to escape the homicide and joined David afterwards (22.20). And that’s why, later on, it would be Abiathar and not his father who was identified more with David. Abiathar became his priest (cf. 1 Sam 23.6-11), and, technically, he was indeed the high priest after his father’s death. And perhaps it explains the confusion in Jesus’ (or Mark’s) comment regarding the figure who helped David in the first place.


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