This question is inspired by Bach's excellent question.

New King James Version 1 Samuel 21:4

And the priest answered David and said, “There is no common bread on hand; but there is holy bread, if the young men have at least kept themselves from women.”

לֶ֤חֶם (le·ḥem)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3899: Food, bread, grain

1 Samuel 21:5

Then David answered the priest, and said to him, “Truly, women have been kept from us about three days since I came out. And the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in effect common, even though it was consecrated in the vessel this day.”

as it [is]
וְהוּא֙ (wə·hū)
Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1931: He, self, the same, this, that, as, are

Bread is masculine. וְהוּא֙ is feminine. How did NKJV justify matching them in its translation?

  • Another quirk of the NKJV?
    – Dottard
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


I'm still a fledgling translating/interpreting the Hebrew. That said, I see no way that 'bread' can be interpreted from the Hebrew in the last phrase of 1Sam 21:5.

Preliminary assessment is that David said something against anointed Saul and the scribe intentionally made the phrase ambiguous.

1Sam. 21:5 - ...vessels-of the-lads holiness. Saul/hua way-of/drk profane/ch(u)l and-indeed/u-aph from/ki the-day he-is-being-hallowed/iqdsh in-vessel/b-kli.

Basically saying that Saul was profane from the day he was anointed.

In 1Sam. 21:8 - Sounds like David is saying that he took no weapons with him because the 'matter (insanity) of the king' required haste (to preserve David's life and following the instructions of David's God in 1Sam. 21:2).

It's a work in progress, of course.

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