Reading 1 Samuel 22, it occurs to me that Saul is the perfect poster child for paranoia. As a matter of fact, when you look paranoia up in the dictionary, they should have Saul's picture there. This guy was out of control!
So much out of control, that David was running for his life. Saul's son Jonathan had confirmed to David that Saul was after him and so David began to run. His first stop was a place called Nob, where he consulted the priest and had some food. He even asked the priest if there was a weapon there. And in an incredible twist of irony, the priest said "Well, yeah - the sword of Goliath...you know the giant you killed...it's here!" Wow...no time to dive into that one, but kind of cool if you think about it.
Anyhow, David and his men went on their way, but it wasn't long before Saul heard that David had stopped there and went to Nob to grill the priests (Doeg the Edomite had snitched). So they arrived and Saul started making these crazy accusations to Ahimelech the priest like he should have known better than to help David. And Ahimelech was like, "Hey - David is one of the most loyal guys I know. He's your son-in-law for goodness sake. He has often come to consult me before so why should this be any different?"
And Saul snapped. I have no other way to explain it. This man who had been anointed King by Samuel and had been God's choice, now suddenly was so paranoid and so disturbed, he snapped. He ordered Ahimelech and his entire family executed. But his men knew he had snapped, so they wouldn't do it. It's a bad idea to kill God's priests and they knew it.
But Doeg the Edomite had no such hesitations. He killed them all. 85 of them. Oh, and then just for fun, he killed the entire town too. Men, women and children. All in the name of the King.
So it was Saul who ordered this ungodly massacre and he did it out of sheer paranoia. What a nob!