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1 Samuel 25:3-8

Context
25:3 The man’s name was Nabal, 1  and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was both wise 2  and beautiful, but the man was harsh and his deeds were evil. He was a Calebite.

25:4 When David heard in the desert that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 25:5 he 3  sent ten servants, 4  saying to them, 5  “Go up to Carmel to see Nabal and give him greetings in my name. 6  25:6 Then you will say to my brother, 7  “Peace to you and your house! Peace to all that is yours! 25:7 Now I hear that they are shearing sheep for you. When your shepherds were with us, we neither insulted them nor harmed them the whole time they were in Carmel. 25:8 Ask your own servants; they can tell you! May my servants find favor in your sight, for we have come 8  at the time of a holiday. Please provide us – your servants 9  and your son David – with whatever you can spare.” 10 

1 sn The name נָבָל (Nabal) means “foolish” or “senseless” in Hebrew, and as an adjective the word is used especially of persons who have no perception of ethical or religious claims. It is an apt name for this character, who certainly typifies such behavior.

2 tn Heb “good of insight”; KJV “of good understanding”; NAB, NIV, TEV “intelligent”; NRSV “clever.”

3 tn Heb “David”; for stylistic reasons the pronoun has been used in the translation.

4 tn Or “young men.”

5 tn Heb “and David said to the young men.”

6 tn Heb “and inquire concerning him in my name in regard to peace.”

7 tc The text is difficult here. The MT and most of the early versions support the reading לֶחָי (lekhai, “to life,” or “to the one who lives”). Some of the older English versions (KJV, ASV; cf. NKJV) took the expression to mean “to him who lives (in prosperity),” but this translation requires reading a good deal into the words. While the expression could have the sense of “Long life to you!” (cf. NIV, NJPS) or perhaps “Good luck to you!” this seems somewhat redundant in light of the salutation that follows in the context. The Latin Vulgate has fratribus meis (“to my brothers”), which suggests that Jerome understood the Hebrew word to have an alef that is absent in the MT (i.e., לֶאֱחָי, leekhay). Jerome’s plural, however, remains a problem, since in the context David is addressing a single individual, namely Nabal, and not a group. However, it is likely that the Vulgate witnesses to a consonantal Hebrew text that is to be preferred here, especially if the word were to be revocalized as a singular rather than a plural. While it is impossible to be certain about this reading, the present translation essentially follows the Vulgate in reading “my brother” (so also NJB; cf. NAB, RSV, NRSV).

8 tc The translation follows many medieval Hebrew mss in reading בָּאנוּ (banu, “we have come”) rather than the MT’s בָּנוּ (banu, “we have built”).

9 tn This refers to the ten servants sent by David.

10 tn Heb “whatever your hand will find.”



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