Now Samuel died, and all the Israelites met and had a time of sad- ness for him. Then they buried him at his home in Ramah. David moved to the Desert of Maon.
A man in Maon who had land at Carmel was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was cutting the wool off his sheep at Carmel.
His name was Nabal, and he was a descendant of Caleb. His wife was named Abigail. She was wise and beautiful, but Nabal was cruel and mean.
While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was cutting the wool from his sheep.
So he sent ten young men and told them, "Go to Nabal at Carmel, and greet him for me.
Say to Nabal, 'May you and your family and all who belong to you have good health!
I have heard that you are cutting the wool from your sheep. When your shepherds were with us, we did not harm them. All the time your shepherds were at Carmel, we stole nothing from them.
Ask your servants, and they will tell you. We come at a happy time, so be kind to my young men. Please give anything you can find for them and for your son David.'"
When David's men arrived, they gave the message to Nabal, but Nabal insulted them.
He answered them, "Who is David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many slaves are running away from their masters today!
I have bread and water, and I have meat that I killed for my servants who cut the wool. But I won't give it to men I don't know."
David's men went back and told him all Nabal had said.
Then David said to them, "Put on your swords!" So they put on their swords, and David put on his also. About four hundred men went with David, but two hundred men stayed with the supplies.
One of Nabal's servants said to Abigail, Nabal's wife, "David sent messengers from the desert to greet our master, but Nabal insulted them.
These men were very good to us. They did not harm us. They stole nothing from us during all the time we were out in the field with them.
Night and day they protected us. They were like a wall around us while we were with them caring for the sheep.
Now think about it, and decide what you can do. Terrible trouble is coming to our master and all his family. Nabal is such a wicked man that no one can even talk to him."
Abigail hurried. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two leather bags full of wine, five cooked sheep, a bushel of cooked grain, a hundred cakes of raisins, and two hundred cakes of pressed figs and put all these on donkeys.
Then she told her servants, "Go on. I'll follow you." But she did not tell her husband.
Abigail rode her donkey and came down toward the mountain hideout. There she met David and his men coming down toward her.
David had just said, "It's been useless! I watched over Nabal's property in the desert. I made sure none of his sheep was missing. I did good to him, but he has paid me back with evil.
May God punish my enemies even more. I will not leave one of Nabal's men alive until morning."
When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed facedown on the ground before him.
She fell at David's feet and said, "My master, let the blame be on me! Please let me talk to you. Listen to what I say.
My master, don't pay attention to this worthless man Nabal. He is like his name. His name means 'fool,' and he is truly a fool. But I, your servant, didn't see the men you sent.
The Lord has kept you from killing and punishing anyone. As surely as the Lord lives and as surely as you live, may your enemies become like Nabal!
I have brought a gift to you for the men who follow you.
Please forgive my wrong. The Lord will certainly let your family have many kings, because you fight his battles. As long as you live, may you do nothing bad.
Someone might chase you to kill you, but the Lord your God will keep you alive. He will throw away your enemies' lives as he would throw a stone from a sling.
The Lord will keep all his promises of good things for you. He will make you leader over Israel.
Then you won't feel guilty or troubled because you killed innocent people and punished them. Please remember me when the Lord brings you success."
David answered Abigail, "Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me.
May you be blessed for your wisdom. You have kept me from killing or punishing people today.
As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, he has kept me from hurting you. If you hadn't come quickly to meet me, not one of Nabal's men would have lived until morning."
Then David accepted Abigail's gifts. He told her, "Go home in peace. I have heard your words, and I will do what you have asked."
When Abigail went back to Nabal, he was in the house, eating like a king. He was very drunk and in a good mood. So she told him nothing until the next morning.
In the morning when he was not drunk, his wife told him everything. His heart stopped, and he became like stone.
About ten days later the Lord struck Nabal and he died.
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Praise the Lord! Nabal insulted me, but the Lord has supported me! He has kept me from doing wrong. The Lord has punished Nabal for his wrong." Then David sent a message to Abigail, asking her to be his wife.
His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, "David sent us to take you so you can become his wife."
Abigail bowed facedown on the ground and said, "I am your servant. I'm ready to serve you and to wash the feet of my master's servants."
Abigail quickly got on a donkey and went with David's messengers, with her five maids following her. And she became David's wife.
David also had married Ahinoam of Jezreel. So they were both David's wives.
Saul's daughter Michal was also David's wife, but Saul had given her to Paltiel son of Laish, who was from Gallim.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.