Then Samuel died; and all Israel gathered together and mourned for him, and buried him at his house in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
Now [there was] a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel
(now the man's name was Nabal, and his wife's name was Abigail. And the woman was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in [his] dealings, and he was a Calebite),
that David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep.
So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, "Go up to Carmel, visit Nabal and greet him in my name;
and thus you shall say, 'Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.
'Now I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel.
'Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let [my] young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.'"
When David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David's name; then they waited.
But Nabal answered David's servants and said, "Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master.
"Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?"
So David's young men retraced their way and went back; and they came and told him according to all these words.
David said to his men, "Each [of you] gird on his sword." So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.
But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, "Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned them.
"Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields.
"They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep.
"Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him."
Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred [loaves] of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded [them] on donkeys.
She said to her young men, "Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them.
Now David had said, "Surely in vain I have guarded all that this [man] has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good.
"May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave [as much as] one male of any who belong to him."
When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground.
She fell at his feet and said, "On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant.
"Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.
"Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, since the LORD has restrained you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal.
"Now let this gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who accompany my lord.
"Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days.
"Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling.
"And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel,
this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the LORD deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant."
Then David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me,
and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.
"Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light [as much as] one male."
So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, "Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request."
Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, 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 did not tell him anything at all until the morning light.
But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became [as] a stone.
About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died.
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal and has kept back His servant from evil. The LORD has also returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head." Then David sent a proposal to Abigail, to take her as his wife.
When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, "David has sent us to you to take you as his wife."
She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, "Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord's servants."
Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both became his wives.
Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim.
Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, "Is not David hiding on the hill of Hachilah, [which is] before Jeshimon?"
So Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having with him three thousand chosen men of Israel, to search for David in the wilderness of Ziph.
Saul camped in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, beside the road, and David was staying in the wilderness. When he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness,
David sent out spies, and he knew that Saul was definitely coming.
David then arose and came to the place where Saul had camped. And David saw the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the commander of his army; and Saul was lying in the circle of the camp, and the people were camped around him.
Then David said to Ahimelech the Hittite and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, saying, "Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?" And Abishai said, "I will go down with you."
So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping inside the circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people were lying around him.
Then Abishai said to David, "Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time."
But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD'S anointed and be without guilt?"
David also said, "As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish.
"The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go."
So David took the spear and the jug of water from [beside] Saul's head, and they went away, but no one saw or knew [it], nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because a sound sleep from the LORD had fallen on them.
Then David crossed over to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance [with] a large area between them.
David called to the people and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, "Will you not answer, Abner?" Then Abner replied, "Who are you who calls to the king?"
So David said to Abner, "Are you not a man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not guarded your lord the king? For one of the people came to destroy the king your lord.
"This thing that you have done is not good. As the LORD lives, [all] of you must surely die, because you did not guard your lord, the LORD'S anointed. And now, see where the king's spear is and the jug of water that was at his head."
Then Saul recognized David's voice and said, "Is this your voice, my son David?" And David said, "It is my voice, my lord the king."
He also said, "Why then is my lord pursuing his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand?
"Now therefore, please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If the LORD has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering; but if it is men, cursed are they before the LORD, for they have driven me out today so that I would have no attachment with the inheritance of the LORD, saying, 'Go, serve other gods.'
"Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away from the presence of the LORD; for the king of Israel has come out to search for a single flea, just as one hunts a partridge in the mountains."
Then Saul said, "I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again because my life was precious in your sight this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have committed a serious error."
David replied, "Behold the spear of the king! Now let one of the young men come over and take it.
"The LORD will repay each man [for] his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered you into [my] hand today, but I refused to stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed.
"Now behold, as your life was highly valued in my sight this day, so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the LORD, and may He deliver me from all distress."
Then Saul said to David, "Blessed are you, my son David; you will both accomplish much and surely prevail." So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
Then David said to himself, "Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape into the land of the Philistines. Saul then will despair of searching for me anymore in all the territory of Israel, and I will escape from his hand."
So David arose and crossed over, he and the six hundred men who were with him, to Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath.
And David lived with Achish at Gath, he and his men, each with his household, [even] David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal's widow.
Now it was told Saul that David had fled to Gath, so he no longer searched for him.
Then David said to Achish, "If now I have found favor in your sight, let them give me a place in one of the cities in the country, that I may live there; for why should your servant live in the royal city with you?"
So Achish gave him Ziklag that day; therefore Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah to this day.
The number of days that David lived in the country of the Philistines was a year and four months.
Now David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites and the Girzites and the Amalekites; for they were the inhabitants of the land from ancient times, as you come to Shur even as far as the land of Egypt.
David attacked the land and did not leave a man or a woman alive, and he took away the sheep, the cattle, the donkeys, the camels, and the clothing. Then he returned and came to Achish.
Now Achish said, "Where have you made a raid today?" And David said, "Against the Negev of Judah and against the Negev of the Jerahmeelites and against the Negev of the Kenites."
David did not leave a man or a woman alive to bring to Gath, saying, "Otherwise they will tell about us, saying, 'So has David done and so [has been] his practice all the time he has lived in the country of the Philistines.'"
So Achish believed David, saying, "He has surely made himself odious among his people Israel; therefore he will become my servant forever."