25 Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned him. They buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David left and went down to the desert of Paran. 1
2 There was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. This man was very wealthy; 2 he owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. At that time he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 The man’s name was Nabal, 3 and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was both wise 4 and beautiful, but the man was harsh and his deeds were evil. He was a Calebite.
4 When David heard in the desert that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 5 he 5 sent ten servants, 6 saying to them, 7 “Go up to Carmel to see Nabal and give him greetings in my name. 8 6 Then you will say to my brother, 9 “Peace to you and your house! Peace to all that is yours! 7 Now I hear that they are shearing sheep for you. When your shepherds were with us, we neither insulted them nor harmed them the whole time they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your own servants; they can tell you! May my servants find favor in your sight, for we have come 10 at the time of a holiday. Please provide us – your servants 11 and your son David – with whatever you can spare.” 12
9 So David’s servants went and spoke all these words to Nabal in David’s name. Then they paused. 10 But Nabal responded to David’s servants, “Who is David, and who is this son of Jesse? This is a time when many servants are breaking away from their masters! 11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers and give them to these men? I don’t even know where they came from!”
12 So David’s servants went on their way. When they had returned, they came and told David 13 all these things. 13 Then David instructed his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So each one strapped on his sword, and David also strapped on his sword. About four hundred men followed David up, while two hundred stayed behind with the equipment.
14 But one of the servants told Nabal’s wife Abigail, “David sent messengers from the desert to greet 14 our lord, but he screamed at them. 15 These men were very good to us. They did not insult us, nor did we sustain any loss during the entire time we were together 15 in the field. 16 Both night and day they were a protective wall for us the entire time we were with them, while we were tending our flocks. 17 Now be aware of this, and see what you can do. For disaster has been planned for our lord and his entire household. 16 He is such a wicked person 17 that no one tells him anything!”
18 So Abigail quickly took two hundred loaves of bread, two containers 18 of wine, five prepared sheep, five seahs 19 of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred lumps of pressed figs. She loaded them on donkeys 19 and said to her servants, “Go on ahead of me. I will come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
20 Riding on her donkey, she went down under cover of the mountain. David and his men were coming down to meet her, and she encountered them. 21 Now David had been thinking, 20 “In vain I guarded everything that belonged to this man in the desert. I didn’t take anything from him. But he has repaid my good with evil. 22 God will severely punish David, 21 if I leave alive until morning even one male 22 from all those who belong to him!”
23 When Abigail saw David, she got down quickly from the donkey, threw herself down before David, and bowed to the ground. 24 Falling at his feet, she said, “My lord, I accept all the guilt! But please let your female servant speak with my lord! Please listen to the words of your servant! 25 My lord should not pay attention to this wicked man Nabal. He simply lives up to his name! His name means ‘fool,’ and he is indeed foolish! 23 But I, your servant, did not see the servants my lord sent. 24
26 “Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and as surely as you live, it is the Lord who has kept you from shedding blood and taking matters into your own hands. Now may your enemies and those who seek to harm my lord be like Nabal. 27 Now let this present 25 that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the servants who follow 26 my lord. 28 Please forgive the sin of your servant, for the Lord will certainly establish the house of my lord, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord. May no evil be found in you all your days! 29 When someone sets out to chase you and to take your life, the life of my lord will be wrapped securely in the bag 27 of the living by the Lord your God. But he will sling away the lives of your enemies from the sling’s pocket! 30 The Lord will do for my lord everything that he promised you, 28 and he will make 29 you a leader over Israel. 31 Your conscience will not be overwhelmed with guilt 30 for having poured out innocent blood and for having taken matters into your own hands. When the Lord has granted my lord success, 31 please remember your servant.”
32 Then David said to Abigail, “Praised 32 be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you this day to meet me! 33 Praised be your good judgment! May you yourself be rewarded 33 for having prevented me this day from shedding blood and taking matters into my own hands! 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives – he who has prevented me from harming you – if you had not come so quickly to meet me, by morning’s light not even one male belonging to Nabal would have remained alive!” 35 Then David took from her hand what she had brought to him. He said to her, “Go back 34 to your home in peace. Be assured that I have listened to you 35 and responded favorably.” 36
36 When Abigail went back to Nabal, he was holding a banquet in his house like that of the king. Nabal was having a good time 37 and was very intoxicated. She told him absolutely nothing 38 until morning’s light. 37 In the morning, when Nabal was sober, 39 his wife told him about these matters. He had a stroke and was paralyzed. 40 38 After about ten days the Lord struck Nabal down and he died.
39 When David heard that Nabal had died, he said, “Praised be the Lord who has vindicated me and avenged the insult that I suffered from Nabal! 41 The Lord has kept his servant from doing evil, and he has repaid Nabal for his evil deeds.” 42 Then David sent word to Abigail and asked her to become his wife.
40 So the servants of David went to Abigail at Carmel and said to her, “David has sent us to you to bring you back to be his wife.” 41 She arose, bowed her face toward the ground, and said, “Your female servant, like a lowly servant, will wash 43 the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42 Then Abigail quickly went and mounted her donkey, with five of her female servants accompanying her. 44 She followed David’s messengers and became his wife.
43 David had also married 45 Ahinoam from Jezreel; the two of them became his wives. 44 (Now Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Paltiel son of Laish, who was from Gallim.)
26 The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hakilah near 1 Jeshimon?” 2 So Saul arose and
went down to the desert of Ziph, accompanied by three thousand select men of Israel, to look for David in the desert of Ziph. 3 Saul camped by the road on the hill of Hakilah near Jeshimon, but David was staying in the desert. When he realized that Saul had come to the desert to find 2 him, 4 David sent scouts and verified that Saul had indeed arrived. 3
5 So David set out and went to the place where Saul was camped. David saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the general in command of his army, were sleeping. Now Saul was lying in the entrenchment, and the army was camped all around him. 6 David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and Abishai son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, “Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?” Abishai replied, “I will go down with you.”
7 So David and Abishai approached the army at night and found Saul lying asleep in the entrenchment with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the army were lying all around him. 8 Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands. Now let me drive the spear 4 right through him into the ground with one swift jab! 5 A second jab won’t be necessary!”
9 But David said to Abishai, “Don’t kill him! Who can extend his hand against the Lord’s chosen one 6 and remain guiltless?” 10 David went on to say, “As the Lord lives, the Lord himself will strike him down. Either his day will come and he will die, or he will go down into battle and be swept away. 11 But may the Lord prevent me from extending my hand against the Lord’s chosen one! Now take the spear by Saul’s head and the jug of water, and let’s get out of here!” 12 So David took the spear and the jug of water by Saul’s head, and they got out of there. No one saw them or was aware of their presence or woke up. All of them were asleep, for the Lord had caused a deep sleep to fall on them.
13 Then David crossed to the other side and stood on the top of the hill some distance away; there was a considerable distance between them. 14 David called to the army and to Abner son of Ner, “Won’t you answer, Abner?” Abner replied, “Who are you, that you have called to the king?” 15 David said to Abner, “Aren’t you a man? After all, who is like you in Israel? Why then haven’t you protected your lord the king? One of the soldiers came to kill your lord the king. 16 This failure on your part isn’t good! 7 As surely as the Lord lives, you people who have not protected your lord, the Lord’s chosen one, are as good as dead! 8 Now look where the king’s spear and the jug of water that was by his head are!”
17 When Saul recognized David’s voice, he said, “Is that your voice, my son David?” David replied, “Yes, it’s my voice, my lord the king.” 18 He went on to say, “Why is my lord chasing his servant? What have I done? What wrong have I done? 9 19 So let my lord the king now listen to the words of his servant. If the Lord has incited you against me, may he take delight in 10 an offering. But if men have instigated this, 11 may they be cursed before the Lord! For they have driven me away this day from being united with the Lord’s inheritance, saying, ‘Go on, serve other gods!’ 20 Now don’t let my blood fall to the ground away from the Lord’s presence, for the king of Israel has gone out to look for a flea the way one looks for a partridge 12 in the hill country.”
21 Saul replied, “I have sinned. Come back, my son David. I won’t harm you, for you treated my life with value 13 this day. I have behaved foolishly and have made a very terrible mistake!” 14 22 David replied, “Here is the king’s spear! Let one of your servants cross over and get it. 23 The Lord rewards each man for his integrity and loyalty. 15 Even though today the Lord delivered you into my hand, I was not willing to extend my hand against the Lord’s chosen one. 24 In the same way that I valued your life this day, 16 may the Lord value my life 17 and deliver me from all danger.” 25 Saul replied to David, “May you be rewarded, 18 my son David! You will without question be successful!” 19 So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
27 David thought to himself, 1 “One of these days I’m going to be swept away by the hand of Saul! There is nothing better for me than to escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of searching for me through all the territory of Israel and I will escape from his hand.”
2 So David left and crossed over to King Achish son of Maoch of Gath accompanied by his six hundred men. 3 David settled with Achish in Gath, along with his men and their families. 2 David had with him his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelite and Abigail the Carmelite, Nabal’s widow. 4 When Saul learned that David had fled to Gath, he did not mount a new search for him.
5 David said to Achish, “If I have found favor with you, let me be given a place in one of the country towns so that I can live there. Why should your servant settle in the royal city with you?” 6 So Achish gave him Ziklag on that day. (For that reason Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah until this very day.) 7 The length of time 3 that David lived in the Philistine countryside was a year 4 and four months.
8 Then David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. (They had been living in that land for a long time, from the approach 5 to Shur as far as the land of Egypt.) 9 When David would attack a district, 6 he would leave neither man nor woman alive. He would take sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and clothing and would then go back to Achish. 10 When Achish would ask, “Where 7 did you raid today?” David would say, “The Negev of Judah” or “The Negev of Jeharmeel” or “The Negev of the Kenites.” 11 Neither man nor woman would David leave alive so as to bring them back to Gath. He was thinking, “This way they can’t tell on us, saying, ‘This is what David did.’” Such was his practice the entire time 8 that he lived in the country of the Philistines. 12 So Achish trusted David, thinking to himself, 9 “He is really hated 10 among his own people in 11 Israel! From now on 12 he will be my servant.”