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.
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.
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.
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, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name.
And thus you shall salute him: 'Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.
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.
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.'"
When David's young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David; and then they waited.
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.
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?"
So David's young men turned away, and came back and told him all this.
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.
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.
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;
they were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.
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."
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.
And she said to her young men, "Go on before me; behold, I come after you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
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.
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.
God do so to David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him."
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.
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.
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.
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.
And now let this present which your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord.
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.
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.
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,
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."
And David said to Ab'igail, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!
Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand!
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."
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."
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.
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.
And about ten days later the LORD smote Nabal; and he died.
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.
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."
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."
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.
David also took Ahin'o-am of Jezreel; and both of them became his wives.
Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Palti the son of La'ish, who was of Gallim.
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version - Holy Bible)