1. Samuel died and all Israel assembled to mourn for him. They buried him at his home in Ramah. David then set off and went down to the desert of Maon.
2. Now, there was a man in Maon whose business was at Carmel; the man was very rich: he owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was then at Carmel, having his sheep shorn.
3. The man's name was Nabal and his wife's Abigail. She was a woman of intelligence and beauty, but the man was miserly and churlish. He was a Calebite.
4. When David heard in the desert that Nabal was at his sheepshearing,
5. he sent ten men off, having said to them, 'Go up to Carmel, visit Nabal and greet him from me.
6. And this is what you are to say to my brother, "Peace to you, peace to your family, peace to all that is yours!
7. I hear that you now have the shearers; your shepherds were with us recently: we did not molest them, nor did they lose anything all the while they were at Carmel.
8. Ask your young men and they will tell you. I hope that you will give the men a welcome, coming as we do on a festival. Whatever you have to hand please give to your servants and to your son David." '
9. David's men went and said all this to Nabal for David, and waited.
10. Nabal retorted to the men in David's service, 'Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse?
11. There are many servants nowadays who run away from their masters. Am I to take my bread and my wine and the meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers and give it to men who come from I know not where?'
12. David's men turned on their heels and went back, and on their arrival told him exactly what had been said.
13. David then said to his men, 'Every man buckle on his sword!' And they buckled on their swords, and David buckled on his too; about four hundred followed David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.
14. Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife. He said, 'David sent messengers from the desert to greet our master, but he flared up at them.
15. Now, these men were very good to us; they did not molest us and we lost nothing all the time we had anything to do with them while we were out in the country.
16. Night and day, they were like a rampart to us, all the time we were with them, minding the sheep.
17. So now make up your mind what you should do, for the ruin of our master and his whole family is a certainty, and he is such a brute that no one can say a word to him.'
18. Abigail hastily took two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep ready prepared, five measures of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs and loaded them on donkeys.
19. She said to her servants, 'Go on ahead, I shall follow you' -- but she did not tell her husband Nabal.
20. As she was riding her donkey down behind a fold in the mountain, David and his men happened to be coming down in her direction; and she met them.
21. Now, David had decided, 'It was a waste of time my guarding all this man's property in the desert so that he lost nothing at all! He has repaid me bad for good.
22. May God bring unnameable ills on David and worse ones, too, if by morning I leave a single manjack alive of all who belong to him!'
23. As soon as Abigail saw David, she quickly dismounted from the donkey and, falling on her face in front of David, prostrated herself on the ground.
24. She fell at his feet and said, 'Let me take the blame, my lord. Let your servant speak in your ear; listen to what your servant has to say!
25. My lord, please pay no attention to this brute Nabal for his nature is like his name; "Brute" is his name and brutal he is. But I, your servant, did not see the men whom my lord sent.
26. And now, my lord, as Yahweh lives and as your soul lives, by Yahweh who kept you from the crime of bloodshed and from taking vengeance with your own hand, may your enemies and all those ill-disposed towards you become like Nabal.
27. As for the present which your servant has brought my lord, I should like this to be given to the men in your service.
28. Please forgive your servant for any offence I have given you, for Yahweh will certainly assure you of a lasting dynasty, since you are fighting Yahweh's battles and no fault has been found in you throughout your life.
29. Should anyone set out to hunt you down and try to kill you, your life will be kept close in the wallet of life with Yahweh your God, while your enemies' lives he will fling out of the pouch of the sling.
30. Once Yahweh has done for you all the good things which he has said he will do for you, and made you ruler of Israel,
31. you must have no anxiety, my lord, no remorse, over having wantonly shed blood, over having taken a revenge. When Yahweh has done well by you, then remember your servant.'
32. David said to Abigail, 'Blessed be Yahweh, God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today!
33. Blessed be your wisdom and blessed you yourself for today having restrained me from the crime of bloodshed and from exacting revenge!
34. But as Yahweh, God of Israel, lives, who prevented me from harming you, had you not hurried out to meet me, I swear Nabal would not have had a single manjack left alive by morning!'
35. David then accepted what she had brought him and said, 'Go home in peace; yes, I have listened to you and have pardoned you.'
36. Abigail returned to Nabal. He was holding a feast, a princely feast, in his house; Nabal was in high spirits, and as he was very drunk she told him nothing at all till it was daylight.
37. In the morning, when Nabal's wine had left him and his wife told him everything that had happened, his heart died within him and he became like a stone.
38. About ten days later Yahweh struck Nabal, and he died.
39. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, 'Blessed be Yahweh for having defended my cause over the insult which I received from Nabal, and for having restrained his servant from doing wrong! Yahweh has made Nabal's wickedness rebound on his own head!'
40. David then sent Abigail an offer of marriage. When the men in David's service came to Abigail at Carmel, they said, 'David has sent us to take you to him, to be his wife.'
41. She stood up, then prostrated herself on the ground. 'Consider your servant a slave', she said, 'to wash the feet of my lord's servants.'
42. Quickly Abigail stood up again and mounted a donkey; followed by five of her servant-girls, she followed David's messengers and became his wife.
43. David had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel and he kept them both as wives.
44. Saul had given his daughter Michal, David's wife, to Palti son of Laish, from Gallim.