Chapter 10

  1. And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
  2. And there was a man in Maon whose possessions were in Carmel. And the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife, Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance. But the man was churlish and evil in his doings, and he was of the house of Caleb.
  3. And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep, and David sent out ten young men; and David said unto the young men, Get yourselves up to Carmel and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. And thus shall you say to him that lives in prosperity: Peace be with you both, and peace be to your house, and peace be unto all that you have. And now I have heard that you have shearers. Now your shepherds who were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there anything missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel. Ask your young men and they will show you. Wherefore, let the young men find favor in your eyes, for we come in a good day. Give, I pray you, whatever comes to your hand unto your servants, and to your son David.
  4. And when David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased. And Nabal answered David’s servants and said, Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men whom I know not from where they are?
  5. So David’s young men turned their way and went again, and came and told him all those sayings. And David said unto his men, Gird 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 stayed by the stuff.
  6. 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 railed on them; but the men were very good unto us and we were not hurt, neither missed we anything as long as we were staying with them when we were in the fields. They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 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.
  7. Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles 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. And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.
  8. And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the cover of the hill; and behold, David and his men came down against her, and she met them. Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him, and he has repaid me evil for good. So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave — of all that pertain to him, by the morning light — any that pisses against the wall.
  9. And when Abigail saw David, she hastened and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, 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. 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 did send.
  10. Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, seeing the Lord has withheld you from coming to shed blood and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now let your enemies and they that seek evil to my lord be as Nabal. And now this blessing which your handmaid has brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.
  11. 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 you all your days. Yet a man is risen to pursue you and to seek your soul. But the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord your God. And the souls of your enemies, them shall he sling out as out of the middle of a sling.
  12. 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, that this shall be no grief unto you, nor offense of heart unto my lord, either that you have shed blood causeless or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid.
  13. And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me. And blessed be your advice, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand. For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel lives who has kept me back from hurting you, except you had hastened and come to meet me, surely there would not have been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisses against the wall. So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to your house. See, I have listened to your voice and have accepted your person.
  14. And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he held a feast in his house like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk. Wherefore, she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light. 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. And it came to pass, about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died.
  15. And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord that has pled 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 spoke with Abigail, to take her to him to wife. And when the servants of David had come to Abigail, to Carmel, they spoke unto her, saying, David sent us unto you to take you to him to wife. 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. And Abigail hastened 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. David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they were also both of them his wives. But Saul had given Michal, his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim.
  16. And the Ziphites came unto Saul, to Gibeah, saying, Does not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon? Then Saul arose and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon, by the way.
  17. But David stayed in the wilderness, and he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness. David therefore sent out spies, and understood that Saul had come in very deed. And David arose and came to the place where Saul had pitched. And David beheld the place where Saul lay, and Abner the son of Ner, the captain of his host. And Saul lay in the trench, and the people pitched round about him.
  18. Then answered David and said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Abishai the son of Zeruiah, brother to Joab, saying, Who will go down with me to Saul, to 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 within the trench, and his spear stuck in the ground at his pillow; but Abner and the people lay round about him.
  19. Then said Abishai to David, God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore let me smite him, I pray you, with the spear, even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time. And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not, for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless? David said furthermore, As the Lord lives, the Lord shall smite him. Or his day shall come to die, or he shall descend into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against the Lord’s anointed. But, I pray you, take now the spear that is at his pillow, and the jug of water, and let us go.
  20. So David took the spear and the jug of water from Saul’s pillow, and they got themselves away. And no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awoke; for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord was fallen upon them.
  21. Then David went over to the other side and stood on the top of a hill afar off, a great space being between them. And David cried to the people, and to Abner the son of Ner, saying, Do you not answer, Abner? Then Abner answered and said, Who are you that cry to the king? And David said to Abner, Are not you a valiant man? And who is like you in Israel? Why then have you not kept your lord the king? For there came one of the people in to destroy the king, your lord. This thing is not good that you have done. As the Lord lives, you are worthy to die, because you have not kept your master, the Lord’s anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the jug of water that was at his pillow.
  22. And Saul knew David’s voice, and said, Is this your voice, my son David? And David said, It is my voice, my lord, O king. And he said, Why does my lord thus pursue after his servant? For what have I done? Or what evil is in my hand? Now therefore, I pray you, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the Lord have stirred you up against me, let him accept an offering. But if they are the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go serve other gods. Now therefore let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a flea, as when one does hunt a partridge in the mountains.
  23. Then said Saul, I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will no more do you harm, because my soul was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. And David answered and said, Behold the king’s spear. And let one of the young men come over and fetch it. The Lord render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I would not stretch forth my hand against the Lord’s anointed. And behold, as your life was much set by this day in my eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the Lord, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation. Then Saul said to David, Blessed be you, my son David. You shall both do great things and also shall still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.
  24. 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 speedily escape into the land of the Philistines. And Saul shall despair of me, to seek me anymore in any border of Israel, so shall I escape out of his hand.
  25. And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David dwelled with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives — Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal’s wife. And it was told to Saul that David was fled to Gath, and he sought no more again for him.
  26. And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in your eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there. For why should your servant dwell in the royal city with you? Then Achish gave him Ziklag that day. Wherefore, Ziklag pertains unto the kings of Judah unto this day. And the time that David dwelled in the country of the Philistines was a full year and four months.