1 Now Samuel died, and all Israel gathered for his funeral. They buried him near his home at Ramah. Then David moved down to the wilderness of Maon.*1
2 There was a wealthy man from Maon who owned property near the village of Carmel. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and it was sheep-shearing time.
3 This man's name was Nabal, and his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was mean and dishonest in all his dealings.
4 When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep,
5 he sent ten of his young men to Carmel. He told them to deliver this message:
6 "Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own!
7 I am told that you are shearing your sheep and goats. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them.
8 Ask your own servants, and they will tell you this is true. So would you please be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please give us any provisions you might have on hand."
9 David's young men gave this message to Nabal and waited for his reply.
10 "Who is this fellow David?" Nabal sneered. "Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.
11 Should I take my bread and water and the meat I've slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?"
12 So David's messengers returned and told him what Nabal had said.
13 "Get your swords!" was David's reply as he strapped on his own. Four hundred men started off with David, and two hundred remained behind to guard their equipment.
14 Meanwhile, one of Nabal's servants went to Abigail and told her, "David sent men from the wilderness to talk to our master, and he insulted them.
15 But David's men were very good to us, and we never suffered any harm from them. Nothing was stolen from us the whole time they were with us.
16 In fact, day and night they were like a wall of protection to us and the sheep.
17 You'd better think fast, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He's so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!"
18 Abigail lost no time. She quickly gathered two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, nearly a bushel* of roasted grain, one hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys and said to her servants,2
19 "Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly." But she didn't tell her husband what she was doing.
20 As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her.
21 David had just been saying, "A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good.
22 May God deal with me severely if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!"
23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him.
24 She fell at his feet and said, "I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say.
25 I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don't pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests.* But I never even saw the messengers you sent.3
26 "Now, my lord, as surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, since the LORD has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies be as cursed as Nabal is.
27 And here is a present I have brought to you and your young men.
28 Please forgive me if I have offended in any way. The LORD will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the LORD's battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life.
29 "Even when you are chased by those who seek your life, you are safe in the care of the LORD your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling!