David And Agibail
SAMUEL died and all the Israelites were gathered together to lament him,
and they buried him in his house at Ramah.
And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.
There was a man in Maon who owned land in Carmel.
His name was Nabal, of the house of Caleb, and he was very rich.
He had three thousand goats and a thousand sheep
and his sheep were being shorn in Carmel.
His wife was called Abigail and she was wise and beautiful,
but Nabal was churlish and evil in his doings.
In the wilderness David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep,
so he called out ten of his young men
and said to them: "Go to Carmel and greet Nabal from me,
and say to him,'Peace be to you and your house and all that you have.
We have not harmed your shepherds while they were shearing near us in Carmel,
nor have we stolen anything.
So find favour with these young men, and pray give unto them,
for themselves and for your son David."'
The young men came and repeated this to Nabal, but he answered: "Who is David?
And who is the son of Jesse? Many servants break away from their masters nowadays,
and shall I take my bread and water,
and the meat that I have killed for my shearers,
and give it to these men of whom I know nothing?"
The young men went back to David, and told him how they had fared,
and David said: "Gird on your swords."
He also girded on his sword, and four hundred men went with David,
leaving two hundred behind to look after their goods.
But one of Nabal's young men told Abigail about this,
saying: "David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master,
but he insulted them.
But they were very good to us, nothing was stolen and nobody was hurt,
and they were like our defenders during the time that we were together in the fields. What can we do now, for they are marching against our master,
but he is such an evil man that nobody can speak to him."
Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two bottles of wine and five sheep already cooked, and five measures of parched corn,
and a hundred bunches of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs,
and loaded them on donkeys.
And she said to her servants: "Go on ahead of me and I shall follow."
But she said nothing of this to her husband.
As she rode on the donkey, she met David and his men and she alighted from her donkey and fell at David's feet
and bowed to the ground before him and said: "Listen, I beseech you,
to the words of your handmaid. Pay no heed to this Nabal,
this son of Belial, for he is a fool.
I did not see the young men whom you sent,
but I beg of you not to shed blood nor to avenge yourself upon your enemy.
For the Lord will fight your battles even as you fight the battles of the Lord.
And in the day of your triumph I implore you to remember your handmaid."
David said to Abigail: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for sending you here,
and blessed be your counsel.
Had you not come, I would surely have slain Nabal and all his household."
Then he accepted her gifts and said: "Go in peace to your own house, for I will heed
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