Who was High Priest when David ate the showbread, Abiathar or Ahimelech?


Can you please help me with this supposed contradiction?

In Mark 2:23-26, Jesus talks about how David went into the house of God and ate the showbread "in the days/in the time" of Abiathar the high priest. In 1 Samuel 21 it says that David came to Ahimelech, not Abiathar when he eventually ate the showbread.

So was Ahimelech the high priest and not Abiathar and if so, how do we resolve this supposed error?


Abiathar was Ahimelech's son. "Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, "Please bring the ephod here to me." And Abiathar brought the ephod to David" (I Samuel 30:7). It was Ahimelech, the current High Priest, who allowed David to eat the showbread (I Samuel 21:1-9). But it was also during the days of Abiathar who ended up succeeding his father because of this event because Saul had the priest and his household killed for helping David (I Samuel 22:9-20). The event with the showbread occurred during the life of Abiathar who was a High Priest -- it just didn't happen while he was High Priest.