1 Samuel 25
The Death of Samuel
1 When Samuel died, all Israel gathered to mourn for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah.
Then David set out and went down to the Wilderness of Paran. a
David, Nabal, and Abigail
2 Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. He was a very wealthy man with a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. 3 His name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was harsh and evil in his dealings.
4 While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men and instructed them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel. Greet him in my name 6 and say to him, ‘Long life to you, and peace to you and your house and to all that belongs to you. 7 Now I hear that it is time for shearing. When your shepherds were with us, we did not harass them, and nothing of theirs was missing the whole time they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. So let my young men find favor with you, for we have come on the day of a feast. Please give whatever you can afford to your servants and to your son David.’ ”
9 When David’s young men arrived, they relayed all these words to Nabal on behalf of David. Then they waited.
10 But Nabal asked them, “Who is David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants these days are breaking away from their masters. 11 Why should I take my bread and water and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give them to these men whose origin I do not know?”
12 So David’s men turned around and went back, and they relayed to him all these words.
13 And David said to his men, “Strap on your swords!” So David and all his men put on their swords, and about four hundred men followed David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.
14 Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s young men informed Nabal’s wife Abigail, “Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he scolded them. 15 Yet these men were very good to us. When we were in the field, we were not harassed, and nothing of ours went missing the whole time we lived among them. 16 They were a wall around us, both day and night, the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. 17 Now consider carefully what you must do, because disaster looms over our master and all his household. For he is such a scoundrel that nobody can speak to him!”
Abigail Intercedes for Nabal
18 Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five butchered sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, b a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs. She loaded them on donkeys 19 and said to her young men, “Go ahead of me. I will be right behind you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
20 As Abigail came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming down toward her, and she met them.
21 Now David had just finished saying, “In vain I have protected all that belonged to this man in the wilderness. Nothing that belongs to him has gone missing, yet he has paid me back evil for good. 22 May God punish David, c and ever so severely, if I let one of Nabal’s men survive until morning.”
23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off the donkey, fell facedown, and bowed before him. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “My lord, may the blame be on me alone, but please let your servant speak to you; hear the words of your servant. 25 My lord should pay no attention to this scoundrel Nabal, d for he lives up to his name:His name means Fool, and folly accompanies him. I, your servant, did not see my lord’s young men whom you sent.
26 Now, my lord, as surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, the LORD has held you back from coming to bloodshed and avenging yourself with your own hand. May your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be like Nabal.
27 Now let this gift your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow you. 28 Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the LORD will surely make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because he fights the LORD’s battles. May no evil be found in you as long as you live.
29 And should someone pursue you and seek your life, then the life of my lord will be bound securely by the LORD your God in the bundle of the living. But He shall fling away the lives of your enemies like stones from a sling. e
30 When the LORD has done for my lord all the good He promised, and when He has appointed you ruler over Israel, 31 then my lord will have no remorse or guilt of conscience over needless bloodshed and revenge. And when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, may you remember your maidservant.”
32 Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me this day! 33 Blessed is your discernment, and blessed are you, because today you kept me from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, then surely no male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by morning light.”
35 Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him, and he said to her, “Go home in peace. See, I have heeded your voice and granted your request.”
36 When Abigail returned to Nabal, there he was in the house, holding a feast fit for a king, in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing until morning light.
David Marries Abigail
39 On hearing that Nabal was dead, David said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has upheld my cause against the reproach of Nabal and has restrained His servant from evil. For the LORD has brought the wickedness of Nabal down upon his own head.”
Then David sent word to Abigail, asking for her in marriage. 40 When his servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they said, “David has sent us to take you as his wife.”
41 She arose, then bowed facedown and said, “Here is your maidservant, ready to serve and to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.”
42 So Abigail hurried and got on a donkey, and attended by five of her maidens, she followed David’s messengers and became his wife.
1 a Hebrew and some LXX manuscripts; other LXX manuscripts Maon
18 b 5 seahs is approximately 33 dry quarts or 36.5 liters of roasted grain.
22 c Some LXX manuscripts; MT David’s enemies
25 d Nabal means fool .
29 e Literally fling away the souls of your enemies as from the pocket of a sling
44 f Palti is a variant of Paltiel ; see 2 Samuel 3:15.