Strong and Brave
To quickly add another point to our discussion last time of תהילים כז, the last pasuk says קוה אל ה׳ twice. We interpreted that as referring to the two sides of the perek: have faith in ה׳ in good times and don’t be arrogant, and have faith in ה׳ in bad times and don’t despair. It was mentioned that the speaker of the perek seems almost bipolar, going between those extremes. I think the linking phrase in the last pasuk, חזק ויאמץ לבך, addresses that. As I understand הכתב והקבלה, חזק refers to being strong enough to withstand physical pain. אמץ means having the strength to withstand psychological pain. David urges us to hold together even as the opposing forces in life threaten to tear us apart. This will become more important as we see David’s life go through those very highs and lows.
After David runs off, Jonathan returns to Givat Shaul, and David goes to Nob. What’s Nob? Aside from our story and its sequellae, it only appears in a list of cities in נחמיה and in ישעיה, in the haftarah for the eighth day of Pesach:
Sancherev is described as marching through all the cities of the kingdom of Yehudah from the North, and ends up in Nob, pointing to Jerusalem. We don’t have any archeological evidence about Nob, but the speculation is that it was probably on Mount Scopus. Why would David run there?
חז״ל tell us that the משכן was there at that time:
And in more detail in סדר עולם:
But how did they know? There are hints:
But the best evidence is the presence of אחימלך הכהן. We get his full name later on:
Unfortunately, there are two אחטוב הכהן's in Tanach:
One the son of אמריה, descended from פינחס בן אלעזר, and one the son of פינחס בן עלי (that’s part of what makes תנ״ך hard: everyone has lots of names, and lots of people have the same name). So we have to keep digging:
So אביתר is the son of our אחימלך בן אחטוב. When David moves the ארון to ירושלם, he divides the leadership of the כהונה:
So אחימלך בן אביתר is descended from איתמר, so his great-grandfather אחטוב is descended from איתמר, and not פינחס בן אלעזר. He must be the grandson of עלי, so it makes sense that his son אחימלך would be the כהן גדול, and thus be living by the משכן.
The Trouble with Tabernacles
So we are left with lots of hints that the משכן was in נב, but no direct statements. Contrast that to the evidence that the משכן was in גבעון before the בית המקדש was built:
Why isn’t נב mentioned? I haven’t seen anyone deal with this directly, but I think it’s an interesting question. The question, however, is worded wrong: the difference isn’t between נב and גבעון, it’s between ספר שמואל and ספר דברי הימים. ספר שמואל never mentions the משכן at all after the death of עלי and the capture of the ארון, not in נב or in גבעון. When David moves the ארון to ירושלם, ספר שמואל goes straight to his attempts to build the בית המקדש. There’s no mention that a central place for the שכינה already exists. דברי הימים doesn’t mention נב for the simple reason that נב had already been destroyed by the time the narrative section of דברי הימים starts, in פרק י with the death of שאול. So the question is: why doesn’t ספר שמואל mention the משכן?
שמואל was the נביא of חורבן שילה, just as ירמיהו was the נביא of חורבן בית ראשון. I imagine that even when the משכן was rebuilt, as long as בני עלי were the כהנים גדולים, שמואל still considered it destroyed. There may still have been a מזבח and שולחן, but it was just an empty tent without the שכינה. שמואל‘s focus turned to building the בית המקדש, as we saw when we discussed his yeshiva of ניות in רמה. It would have a new lineage of כהנים, as we quoted above from דברי הימים א פרק ה. We see that שמואל worked on that from עזרא’s re-establishing the second בית המקדש:
From the point of view of the נביאים who wrote ספר שמואל, there was no “משכן”; there was a temporary storage facility for the כלים that David would take advantage of, nothing more.