David Spares Saul’s Life
1 yWhen Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took zthree thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in ato relieve himself.1 Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts bof the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, c“Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 And afterward dDavid’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, e“The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is fthe Lord’s anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words gand did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. hAnd some told me to kill you, but I spared you.2 I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, ffor he is the Lord’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that ithere is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though jyou hunt my life to take it. 12 kMay the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? lAfter a dead dog! mAfter a flea! 15 kMay the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and nplead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”
16 As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, o“Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, pfor you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18 And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now, behold, qI know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 rSwear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and sthat you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” 22 And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up tto the stronghold.
The Death of Samuel
David and Abigail
Then David rose and went down to ythe wilderness of Paran. 2 And there was a man in zMaon whose business was in aCarmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. bHe was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; che was a Calebite. 4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal bwas shearing his sheep. 5 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. 6 And thus you shall greet him: d‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, eand they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come fon a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”
9 When David’s young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David, and then they waited. 10 And Nabal answered David’s servants, g“Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? hThere are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. 11 Shall I take imy bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to jmen who come from I do not know where?” 12 So David’s young men turned away and came back and told him all this. 13 And David said to his men, “Every man strap on his sword!” And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And kabout four hundred men went up after David, kwhile two hundred lremained with the baggage.
14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them. 15 Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, nand we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. 16 They were oa wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, pfor harm is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is such qa worthless man that one cannot speak to him.”
18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs1 of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. 19 And she said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 And as she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, behold, David and his men came down toward her, and she met them. 21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, rso that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has sreturned me evil for good. 22 tGod do so to the enemies of David2 and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.”
23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried uand got down from the donkey vand fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, w“On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 25 Let not my lord regard qthis worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal3 is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. 26 Now then, my lord, xas the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, because ythe Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from zsaving with your own hand, now then alet your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now let this bpresent that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the Lord will certainly make my lord ca sure house, because my lord dis fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. 29 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 ehe shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30 And when the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you and has appointed you prince4 over Israel, 31 my lord shall have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience for having shed blood without cause or for my lord zworking salvation himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.”
32 And David said to Abigail, f“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, ywho have kept me this day from bloodguilt zand from working salvation with my own hand! 34 For as surely gas the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, ywho has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male.” 35 Then David received from her hand what she had brought him. And he said to her, h“Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition.”
36 And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, ihe was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart jwas merry within him, for he was very drunk. So she told him nothing kat all until the morning light. 37 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. 38 And about ten days later lthe Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, f“Blessed be the Lord who has mavenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, nand has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. oThe Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and pspoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife. 40 When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.” 41 And she rose qand 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.” 42 And Abigail hurried and rose and mounted a donkey, and her five young women attended her. She followed the messengers of David and became his wife.