David and Abigail
25 1 Now Samuel died; and all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah. Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
2 And there was a man in Ma'on, whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Ab'igail. The woman was of good understanding and beautiful, but the man was churlish and ill-behaved; he was a Calebite. 4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, "Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. 6 And thus you shall salute him: 'Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 I hear that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing, all the time they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes; for we come on a feast day. Pray, give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.'" 9 When David's young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David; and then they waited. 10 And Nabal answered David's servants, "Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who are breaking away from their masters. 11 Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men who come from I do not know where?"
12 So David's young men turned away, and came back and told him all this. 13 And David said to his men, "Every man gird on his sword!" And every man of them girded on his sword; David also girded on his sword; and about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage. 14 But one of the young men told Ab'igail, Nabal's wife, "Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed at them. 15 Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them; 16 they were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore know this and consider what you should do; for evil is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is so ill-natured that one cannot speak to him."
18 Then Ab'igail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two skins of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched grain, and a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses. 19 And she said to her young men, "Go on before me; behold, I come after you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 And as she rode on the ass, and came down under cover of the mountain, behold, David and his men came down toward her; and she met them. 21 Now David had said, "Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. 22 God do so to David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him." 23 When Ab'igail saw David, she made haste, and alighted from the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, "Upon me alone, my lord, be the guilt; pray let your handmaid speak in your ears, and hear the words of your handmaid. 25 Let not my lord regard this ill-natured fellow, Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I your handmaid did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. 26 Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, seeing the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt, and from taking vengeance with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now let this present which your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Pray forgive the trespass of your handmaid; for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord; and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. 29 If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the Lord your God; and the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30 And when the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel, 31 my lord shall have no cause of grief, or pangs of conscience, for having shed blood without cause or for my lord taking vengeance himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid."
32 And David said to Ab'igail, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! 34 For as surely as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had made haste and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male." 35 Then David received from her hand what she had brought him; and he said to her, "Go up in peace to your house; see, I have hearkened to your voice, and I have granted your petition."
36 And Ab'igail came to Nabal; and, lo, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she told him nothing at all until the morning light. 37 And in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 38 And about ten days later the Lord smote Nabal; and he died. 39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from evil; the Lord has returned the evil-doing of Nabal upon his own head." Then David sent and wooed Ab'igail, to make her his wife. 40 And when the servants of David came to Ab'igail at Carmel, they said to her, "David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife." 41 And she rose and bowed with her face to the ground, and said, "Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord." 42 And Ab'igail made haste and rose and mounted on an ass, and her five maidens attended her; she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife. 43 David also took Ahin'o-am of Jezreel; and both of them became his wives. 44 Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Palti the son of La'ish, who was of Gallim.
David Spares Saul at Ziph
26 1 Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gib'e-ah, saying, "Is not David hiding himself on the hill of Hachi'lah, which is on the east of Jeshi'mon?" 2 So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, with three thousand chosen men of Israel, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. 3 And Saul encamped on the hill of Hachi'lah, which is beside the road on the east of Jeshi'mon. But David remained in the wilderness; and when he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness, 4 David sent out spies, and learned of a certainty that Saul had come. 5 Then David rose and came to the place where Saul had encamped; and David saw the place where Saul lay, with Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; Saul was lying within the encampment, while the army was encamped around him.
6 Then David said to Ahim'elech the Hittite, and to Jo'ab's brother Abi'shai the son of Zeru'iah, "Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?" And Abi'shai said, "I will go down with you." 7 So David and Abi'shai went to the army by night; and there lay Saul sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the army lay around him. 8 Then said Abi'shai to David, "God has given your enemy into your hand this day; now therefore let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice." 9 But David said to Abi'shai, "Do not destroy him; for who can put forth his hand against the Lord'S anointed, and be guiltless?" 10 And David said, "As the Lord lives, the Lord will smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall go down into battle and perish. 11 The Lord forbid that I should put forth my hand against the Lord'S anointed; but take now the spear that is at his head, and the jar of water, and let us go." 12 So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul's head; and they went away. No man saw it, or knew it, nor did any awake; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen upon them.
13 Then David went over to the other side, and stood afar off on the top of the mountain, with a great space between them; 14 and David called to the army, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, "Will you not answer, Abner?" Then Abner answered, "Who are you that calls to the king?" 15 And David said to Abner, "Are you not a man? Who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept watch over your lord the king? For one of the people came in to destroy the king your lord. 16 This thing that you have done is not good. As the Lord lives, you deserve to die, because you have not kept watch over your lord, the Lord'S anointed. And now see where the king's spear is, and the jar of water that was at his head." 17 Saul recognized David's voice, and said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" And David said, "It is my voice, my lord, O king." 18 And he said, "Why does my lord pursue after his servant? For what have I done? What guilt is on my hands? 19 Now therefore let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If it is the Lord who has stirred you up against me, may he accept an offering; but if it is men, may they be cursed before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day that I should have no share in the heritage of the Lord, saying, 'Go, serve other gods.' 20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the Lord; for the king of Israel has come out to seek my life, like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains."
21 Then Saul said, "I have done wrong; return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my life was precious in your eyes this day; behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly." 22 And David made answer, "Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and fetch it. 23 The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put forth my hand against the Lord'S anointed. 24 Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all tribulation." 25 Then Saul said to David, "Blessed be you, my son David! You will do many things and will succeed in them." So David went his way, and Saul returned to his place.
David Lives among the Philistines
27 1 And David said in his heart, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul; there is nothing better for me than that I should escape to the land of the Philistines; then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand." 2 So David arose and went over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to A'chish the son of Ma'och, king of Gath. 3 And David dwelt with A'chish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahin'o-am of Jezreel, and Ab'igail of Carmel, Nabal's widow. 4 And when it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, he sought for him no more. 5 Then David said to A'chish, "If I have found favor in your eyes, let a place be given me in one of the country towns, that I may dwell there; for why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you?" 6 So that day A'chish gave him Ziklag; therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day. 7 And the number of the days that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
8 Now David and his men went up, and made raids upon the Gesh'urites, the Gir'zites, and the Amal'ekites; for these were the inhabitants of the land from of old, as far as Shur, to the land of Egypt. 9 And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, but took away the sheep, the oxen, the asses, the camels, and the garments, and came back to A'chish. 10 When A'chish asked, "Against whom have you made a raid today?" David would say, "Against the Negeb of Judah," or "Against the Negeb of the Jerah'meelites," or, "Against the Negeb of the Ken'ites." 11 And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, thinking, "Lest they should tell about us, and say, 'So David has done.'" Such was his custom all the while he dwelt in the country of the Philistines. 12 And A'chish trusted David, thinking, "He has made himself utterly abhorred by his people Israel; therefore he shall be my servant always."