Samuel died, and all Israel assembled to mourn for him, and they buried him by his home in Ramah. David then went down to the Wilderness of Paran.
A man in Maon had a business in Carmel; he was a very rich man with 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats and was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
The man's name was Nabal, and his wife's name, Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was harsh and evil in [his] dealings.
While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep,
so David sent 10 young men instructing them, "Go up to Carmel, and when you come to Nabal, greet him in my name.
Then say this: 'Long life to you, and peace to you, to your family, and to all that is yours.
I hear that you are shearing. When your shepherds were with us, we did not harass them, and nothing of theirs was missing the whole time they were in Carmel.
Ask your young men, and they will tell you. So let [my] young men find favor with you, for we have come on a feast day. Please give whatever you can afford to your servants and to your son David.'"
David's young men went and said all these things to Nabal on David's behalf, and they waited.
Nabal asked them, "Who is David? Who is Jesse's son? Many slaves these days are running away from their masters.
Am I supposed to take my bread, my water, and my meat that I butchered for my shearers and give them to men who are from I don't know where?"
David's men retraced their steps. When they returned to him, they reported all these words.
He said to his men, "All of you, put on your swords!" So David and all his men put on their swords. About 400 men followed David while 200 stayed with the supplies.
One of Nabal's young men informed Abigail, Nabal's wife: "Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he yelled at them.
The men treated us well. When we were in the field, we weren't harassed and nothing of ours was missing the whole time we were living among them.
They were a wall around us, both day and night, the entire time we were herding the sheep.
Now consider carefully what you must do, because there is certain to be trouble for our master and his entire family. He is such a worthless fool nobody can talk to him!"
Abigail hurried, taking 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five butchered sheep, a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys.
Then she said to her male servants, "Go ahead of me. I will be right behind you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
As she rode the donkey down a mountain pass hidden from view, she saw David and his men coming toward her and met them.
David had just said, "I guarded everything that belonged to this man in the wilderness for nothing. He was not missing anything, yet he paid me back evil for good.
May God punish me, and even more if I let any of his men [survive] until morning."
When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off the donkey and fell with her face to the ground in front of David.
She fell at his feet and said, "The guilt is mine, my lord, but please let your servant speak to you directly. Listen to the words of your servant.
My lord should pay no attention to this worthless man Nabal, for he lives up to his name: His name is Nabal, and stupidity is all he knows. I, your servant, didn't see my lord's young men whom you sent.
Now my lord, as surely as the LORD lives and as you yourself live, it is the LORD who kept you from participating in bloodshed and avenging yourself by your own hand. May your enemies and those who want trouble for my lord be like Nabal.
Accept this gift your servant has brought to my lord, and let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.
Please forgive your servant's offense, for the LORD is certain to make a lasting dynasty for my lord because he fights the LORD's battles. Throughout your life, may evil not be found in you.
"When someone pursues you and attempts to take your life, my lord's life will be tucked safely in the place where the LORD your God protects the living. However, He will fling away your enemies' lives like [stones] from a sling.
When the LORD does for my lord all the good He promised and appoints you ruler over Israel,
there will not be remorse or a troubled conscience for my lord because of needless bloodshed or my lord's revenge. And when the LORD does good things for my lord, may you remember [me] your servant."
Then David said to Abigail, "Praise to the LORD God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today!
Blessed is your discernment, and blessed are you. Today you kept me from participating in bloodshed and avenging myself by my own hand.
Otherwise, as surely as the LORD God of Israel lives, who prevented me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, Nabal wouldn't have had any men left by morning light."
Then David accepted what she had brought him and said, "Go home in peace. See, I have heard what you said and have granted your request."
Then Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was in his house, feasting like a king. Nabal was in a good mood and very drunk, so she didn't say anything to him until morning light.
In the morning when Nabal sobered up, his wife told him about these events. Then he had a seizure and became paralyzed.
About 10 days later, the LORD struck Nabal dead.
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Praise the LORD who championed my cause against Nabal's insults and restrained His servant from doing evil. The LORD brought Nabal's evil deeds back on his own head." Then David sent messengers to speak to Abigail about marrying him.
When David's servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, "David sent us to bring you to him as a wife."
She bowed her face to the ground and said, "Here I am, your servant, to wash the feet of my lord's servants."
Then Abigail got up quickly, and with her five female servants accompanying her, rode on the donkey following David's messengers. And so she became his wife.
David also married Ahinoam of Jezreel, and the two of them became his wives.
But Saul gave his daughter Michal, David's wife, to Palti son of Laish, who was from Gallim.
Then the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah saying, "David is hiding on the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon."
So Saul, accompanied by 3,000 of the choice men of Israel, went to the Wilderness of Ziph to search for David there.
Saul camped beside the road at the hill of Hachilah opposite Jeshimon. David was living in the wilderness and discovered Saul had come there after him.
So David sent out spies and knew for certain that Saul had come.
Immediately, David went to the place where Saul had camped. He saw the place where Saul and Abner son of Ner, the general of his army, had lain down. Saul was lying inside the inner circle of the camp with the troops camped around him.
Then David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab's brother Abishai son of Zeruiah, "Who will go with me into the camp to Saul?" "I'll go with you," answered Abishai.
That night, David and Abishai came to the troops, and Saul was lying there asleep in the inner circle of the camp with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. Abner and the troops were lying around him.
Then Abishai said to David, "Today God has handed your enemy over to you. Let me thrust the spear through him into the ground just once. I won't [have to strike] him twice!"
But David said to Abishai, "Don't destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the LORD's anointed and be blameless?"
David added, "As the LORD lives, the LORD will certainly strike him down: either his day will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish.
However, because of the LORD, I will never lift my hand against the LORD's anointed. Instead, take the spear and the water jug by his head, and let's go."
So David took the spear and the water jug by Saul's head, and they went their way. No one saw them, no one knew, and no one woke up; they all remained asleep because a deep sleep from the LORD came over them.
David crossed to the other side and stood on top of the mountain at a distance; there was a considerable space between them.
Then David shouted to the troops and to Abner son of Ner: "Aren't you going to answer, Abner?" "Who are you who calls to the king?" Abner asked.
David called to Abner, "You're a man, aren't you? Who in Israel is your equal? So why didn't you protect your lord the king when one of the people came to destroy him?
What you have done is not good. As the LORD lives, all of you deserve to die since you didn't protect your lord, the LORD's anointed. Now look around; where are the king's spear and water jug that were by his head?"
Saul recognized David's voice and asked, "Is that your voice, my son David?" "It is my voice, my lord and king," David said.
Then he continued, "Why is my lord pursuing his servant? What have I done? What evil is in my hand?
Now, may my lord the king please hear the words of his servant: If it is the LORD who has incited you against me, then may He accept an offering. But if it is people, may they be cursed in the presence of the LORD, for today they have driven me away from sharing in the inheritance of the LORD saying, 'Go and worship other gods.'
So don't let my blood fall to the ground far from the LORD's presence, for the king of Israel has come out to search for a flea, like one who pursues a partridge in the mountains."
Saul responded, "I have sinned. Come back, my son David, I will never harm you again because today you considered my life precious. I have been a fool! I've committed a grave error."
David answered, "Here is the king's spear; have one of the young men come over and get it.
May the LORD repay every man for his righteousness and his loyalty. I wasn't willing to lift my hand against the LORD's anointed, even though the LORD handed you over to me today.
Just as I considered your life valuable today, so may the LORD consider my life valuable and rescue me from all trouble."
Saul said to him, "You are blessed, my son David. You will certainly do great things and will also prevail." Then David went on his way, and Saul returned home.
David said to himself, "One of these days I'll be swept away by Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape immediately to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will stop searching for me everywhere in Israel, and I'll escape from him."
So David set out with his 600 men and went to Achish son of Maoch, the king of Gath.
David and his men stayed with Achish in Gath. Each man had his family with him, and David had his two wives: Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow.
When it was reported to Saul that David had fled to Gath, he no longer searched for him.
Now David said to Achish, "If I have found favor with you, let me be given a place in one of the outlying towns, so I can live there. Why should your servant live in the royal city with you?"
That day Achish gave Ziklag to him, and it still belongs to the kings of Judah today.
The time that David stayed in the Philistine territory amounted to a year and four months.
David and his men went up and raided the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites. From ancient times they had been the inhabitants of the region through Shur as far as the land of Egypt.
Whenever David attacked the land, he did not leave a single person alive, either man or woman, but he took flocks, herds, donkeys, camels, and clothing. Then he came back to Achish,
who inquired, "Where did you raid today?" David replied, "The south country of Judah," "The south country of the Jerahmeelites," or "Against the south country of the Kenites."
David did not let a man or woman live to be brought to Gath, for he said, "Or they will inform on us and say, 'This is what David did.' " This was David's custom during the whole time he stayed in the Philistine territory.
So Achish trusted David, thinking, "Since he has made himself detestable to his people Israel, he will be my servant forever."