1 Samuel 25

The Death of Samuel

1When 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

2Now 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. 3His 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.

4While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. 5So David sent ten young men and instructed them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel. Greet him in my name 6and say to him, ‘Long life to you, and peace to you and your house and to all that belongs to you. 7Now 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. 8Ask 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.’

9When David’s young men arrived, they relayed all these words to Nabal on behalf of David. Then they waited.

10But Nabal asked them, “Who is David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants these days are breaking away from their masters. 11Why 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?”

12So David’s men turned around and went back, and they relayed to him all these words.

13And 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.

14Meanwhile, 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. 15Yet 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. 16They were a wall around us, both day and night, the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. 17Now 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

18Then 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 19and said to her young men, “Go ahead of me. I will be right behind you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

20As Abigail came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming down toward her, and she met them.

21Now 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. 22May God punish David,c and ever so severely, if I let one of Nabal’s men survive until morning.”

23When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off the donkey, fell facedown, and bowed before him. 24She 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. 25My 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.

26Now, 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.

27Now let this gift your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow you. 28Please 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.

29And 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

30When the LORD has done for my lord all the good He promised, and when He has appointed you ruler over Israel, 31then 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.”

32Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me this day! 33Blessed is your discernment, and blessed are you, because today you kept me from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. 34Otherwise, 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.”

35Then 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.”

36When 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.

37In the morning when Nabal was sober, his wife told him about these events, and his heart failed within him and he became like a stone. 38About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal dead.

David Marries Abigail

39On 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. 40When his servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they said, “David has sent us to take you as his wife.”

41She arose, then bowed facedown and said, “Here is your maidservant, ready to serve and to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.”

42So Abigail hurried and got on a donkey, and attended by five of her maidens, she followed David’s messengers and became his wife.

43David had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel. So she and Abigail were both his wives. 44But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Paltif son of Laish, who was from Gallim.

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1 Samuel 24
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