Loyalty is usually an admirable trait… but not when it causes one to be blindly loyal to something/someone obviously wrong.

I. The Background of a Slaughter

1Samuel 21:1-10a

Soon after David was anointed to be the next king… and was growing in popularity, King Saul grew jealous of David and began to try to take his life. David stayed away from Saul, stopping first at Nob, a city where many priests and their families lived. David claimed to be on a royal mission, so a priest named Ahimelech gave David and his men some of the sacred bread from the tabernacle, as well as the sword that had belonged to Goliath. Doeg, an Edomite shepherd, happened to be there and saw David and his men. Why was Doeg there? Possibly to worship; probably to sell sheep for sacrifices.

1Samuel 22:6-10

Later, when King Saul was accusing his officials of conspiring with David, Doeg stepped forward and volunteered the info he had about what had happened at Nob. But, Doeg only told half the story… not the whole truth. He neglected to mention that the priests had been deceived and that, from their point of knowledge, they had done nothing wrong and had certainly not been disloyal to the king.

1Samuel 22:11,13,14

King Saul and his soldiers went to Nob; but Ahimelech the priest denied any wrongdoing… or even guilt.

II. The Butcher of the Slaughter

1Samuel 22:16-19,22

When King Saul ordered his soldiers to kill the priests for their “disloyalty”, they refused. They knew Saul was in the wrong. So, Saul gave the order to Doeg, who, to show his “loyalty”, murdered 85 priests and their families!

Only 1 priest survived – Abiathar, who would report to David what had happened.

See Psalm 52.


“Loyalty” is ‘the quality/state/instance of being loyal’.

To be “loyal”, is to be ‘unswerving in allegiance’… as:

– faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign/government;

– faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due;

– faithful to a cause/ideal/custom/institution/product.

Are you, perhaps, loyal to something that you should not be loyal to?

* Loyalty is only as valid as that which loyalty is given to!


You can read Doeg’s story in 1Samuel 21,22; Psalm 52


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