Who was Doeg the Edomite in the Bible?

Doeg the Edomite is remembered for his betrayal of King David and his contempt for the Lord's priests. His story is recorded in 1 Samuel 21—22. The Edomites were descendants of Jacob's brother Esau and thereby related to the Israelites as cousins. Doeg is identified as the chief of King Saul's shepherds, so he had been a trusted and respected servant of Israel's king (1 Samuel 21:7). As such, when there arose a conflict between Saul and David, Doeg sided with Saul.

When David fled from Saul, he stopped in Nob and asked the priest there for provisions of food and weapons. Ahimelech, the priest, gave David and his men the only food and weapon available, which was the consecrated showbread and Goliath's sword from when David slew the giant. Doeg had been present in Nob and witnessed the exchange (1 Samuel 21:1–9).

King Saul received word that David had been located so he asked his servants to inform him of all they knew in relation to David and his whereabouts (1 Samuel 22:6–8). Doeg took the opportunity to betray David by recounting what he had witnessed in Nob (1 Samuel 22:9–10). King Saul then summoned Ahimelech and the other priests. They did not deny helping David and they reminded the king that David had always been faithful to Saul. Nonetheless, Saul commanded that all these priests be put to death. King Saul's guards, however, refused to execute these faithful priests, so Saul asked Doeg to kill them (1 Samuel 22:11–18).

Doeg not only killed eighty-five priests that day, he also then massacred the entire town of Nob "both man and woman, child and infant, ox, donkey and sheep, he put to the sword" (1 Samuel 22:19). The only person to survive was Ahimelech's son Abiathar who fled to David for protection and reported all that Doeg had done (1 Samuel 22:20–21). When David heard the report, he stated that Doeg's reputation was such that David had known Doeg would betray them to King Saul (1 Samuel 22:22). David chose to respond in song by penning Psalm 52 where he contrasted Doeg's love of evil and destruction with God's faithfulness and justice. David vowed to rest in God's presence as he waited for God to take down Doeg. Doeg is not mentioned again in Scripture.

Instead of being loyal to the Lord and following His commands, Doeg chose to be loyal to King Saul and carry out commands everyone else refused to do because they knew those commands were despicable. Doeg sought approval from a wicked king instead of seeking to please the Lord. Doeg's actions provide a contrast to David who consistently chose to seek God's will and obey His commands (Acts 13:22). Doeg will be remembered as a man whose political allegiance led him to commit unthinkable atrocity while David is remembered for being a man after God's own heart who acted with integrity and righteousness.

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