It’s hard to read Ahimelech’s story and not feel a little angry. Maybe a lot angry.
He was simply doing his God-given job as priest… but it wound up getting him and most of his family brutally killed.
Ahimelech and his family were priests who lived at Nob, only a couple of miles from Gibeah, the capital of Israel during King Saul’s reign. Soon after David fled from Saul, who had become jealous of David’s popularity and success, David visited Ahimelech and asked him for some bread and some weapons. David was careful not to mention he was running from King Saul. But, one of Saul’s servants, Doeg, happened to be there at the time.
Doeg informed King Saul that David had visited Ahimelech before he ran to Gath, and Saul summoned Ahimelech’s family to come to him. Ahimelech admitted that he’d helped David, and he truthfully indicated that he often helped David… and didn’t know why that day should be any different.
But King Saul ordered Doeg to strike down Ahimelech and his family… and he did… killing 85 priests!
Ahimelech was simply doing his job… the job God had called him to do. And, because he did his job, it cost him his life.
How does one explain this?
Ahimelech’s death was seen as a partial fulfillment of the curse on the House of Eli – that none of Eli’s male descendants would live to old age; the other part of the curse on the House of Eli – that the priesthood would pass out of his descendants – was fulfilled when Abiathar was deposed from the office of High Priest.
But, Ahimelech also died because David was deceitful.
* Sin has consequences… for the one who sins, and, sometimes, for others.
You can read Ahimelech’s story in 1Samuel 21,22.