1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah.
U W -1. David. Personal. Other dwelling. X a 2-4. Nabal's wealth. b 5-12. David's message to Nabal. Y 13. Resentment of David. Z c 14-17. Report of David to Abigail. d 18-20. Abigail's present prepared. Y 21,22. Resentment of David. Z d 23-31. Abigail's present presented. c 32-35. Answer of David to Abigail. X a 36-38. Nabal's death. b 39-42. David's message to Abgail. W 43,44. David. Personal. Other wives.
And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran. (topography here is most exact. It is a continuous descent to the Negeb for more than a day's journey)
2: And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel (or business was); and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
3: Now the name of the man was Nabal (= fool); and the name of his wife Abigail (= father, i.e. source, of joy): and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish (cruel) and evil in his doings; and he was a Calebite (Sept. Sry., and Arab. have translated the word "cynical").
4: And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.
b e 5-8. Message of David. f 9. Delivery by young men. e 10,11. Reply to David. f 12. Report by young men.
5: And David sent out ten young men, and David said to the young men, “Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6: And thus shall you all say to him that lives in prosperity (= a bon vivant), ‘Peace be both to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.
7: And now I have heard that you have shearers: now your shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there anything missing to them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8: Ask your young men, and they will shew you. Wherefore let the young men find favor in your eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray you, whatsoever comes to your hand to your servants, and to your son David.’ ”
9: And when David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.
10: And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.
11: Shall I then take my bread, and my water (Sept. reads "wine"), and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men, whom I know not from which place they be?”
12: So David's young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.
13: And David said to his men, “Gird you all on every man his sword.” And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the baggage.
14: But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he flew at them (or, stormed at them).
15: But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:
16: They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.
17: Now therefore know and consider what you will do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.”
18: Then Abigail made haste, and (notice the many "ands", emphasizing Abigail's thought and care, as well as rapidity) took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
19: And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; behold, I come after you.” But she told not her husband Nabal.
20: And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.
21: Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained to him: and he has requited me evil for good.
22: So and more also do God to the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any man that piss against the wall.”
23: And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,
24: And fell at his feet, and said, “Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let your handmaid, I pray you, speak in your audience, and hear the words of your handmaid.
25: Let not my lord, I pray you, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I your handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom you didst send.
26: Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, seeing the Lord has withhold-en you from coming to shed blood (= wading in blood [as we say].), and from saving yourself with your own hand, now let your enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.
27: And now this present which your handmaid has brought to my lord (verb is masc.; and is so when women act in a masc. way, and fem. when men act in a fem. way), let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.
28: I pray you, forgive the trespass of your handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil has not been found in your all your days.
29: Yet a man is risen to pursue you, and to seek your soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bag of life with the Lord your God; and the souls of your enemies, them shall He sling out (i.e. like the stones in David's slingshot), as out of the middle of a sling.
30: And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and shall have appointed you ruler over Israel;
31: That this shall be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed innocent blood, or that my lord has saved himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid.”
32: And David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent you this day to meet me:
33: And blessed be your good taste, and blessed be you, which have kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from saving myself with my own hand.
34: For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, Which has kept me back from hurting you, except you had hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left to Nabal by the morning light any man that pisses against the wall.”
35: So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said to her, “Go up in peace to your house; see, I have hearkened to your voice, and have uplifted your face.”
36: And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house (banquet or drinking feast. Cp. 2 Sam. 13:28), like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.
37: But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.
38: And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died.
39: And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord, that has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil: for the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head,” And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.
40: And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, “David sent us to you to take you to him to wife.”
41: And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, “Behold, let your handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” (this was and is the most menial service)
42: And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.
43: David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel (= gracious); and they were also both of them his wives.
44: But Saul had given Michal his daughter (cp. 2 Sam. 3:14,15), David's wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim.