25:4 When David heard in the desert that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 25:5 he 1 sent ten servants, 2 saying to them, 3 “Go up to Carmel to see Nabal and give him greetings in my name. 4 25:6 Then you will say to my brother, 5 “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 6 at the time of a holiday. Please provide us – your servants 7 and your son David – with whatever you can spare.” 8
25:9 So David’s servants went and spoke all these words to Nabal in David’s name. Then they paused. 25:10 But Nabal responded to David’s servants, “Who is David, and who is this son of Jesse? This is a time when many servants are breaking away from their masters! 25:11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers and give them to these men? I don’t even know where they came from!”
25:12 So David’s servants went on their way. When they had returned, they came and told David 9 all these things. 25:13 Then David instructed his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So each one strapped on his sword, and David also strapped on his sword. About four hundred men followed David up, while two hundred stayed behind with the equipment.
25:14 But one of the servants told Nabal’s wife Abigail, “David sent messengers from the desert to greet 10 our lord, but he screamed at them. 25:15 These men were very good to us. They did not insult us, nor did we sustain any loss during the entire time we were together 11 in the field. 25:16 Both night and day they were a protective wall for us the entire time we were with them, while we were tending our flocks. 25:17 Now be aware of this, and see what you can do. For disaster has been planned for our lord and his entire household. 12 He is such a wicked person 13 that no one tells him anything!”
25:18 So Abigail quickly took two hundred loaves of bread, two containers 14 of wine, five prepared sheep, five seahs 15 of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred lumps of pressed figs. She loaded them on donkeys 25:19 and said to her servants, “Go on ahead of me. I will come after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
25:20 Riding on her donkey, she went down under cover of the mountain. David and his men were coming down to meet her, and she encountered them. 25:21 Now David had been thinking, 16 “In vain I guarded everything that belonged to this man in the desert. I didn’t take anything from him. But he has repaid my good with evil. 25:22 God will severely punish David, 17 if I leave alive until morning even one male 18 from all those who belong to him!”
25:23 When Abigail saw David, she got down quickly from the donkey, threw herself down before David, and bowed to the ground. 25:24 Falling at his feet, she said, “My lord, I accept all the guilt! But please let your female servant speak with my lord! Please listen to the words of your servant! 25:25 My lord should not pay attention to this wicked man Nabal. He simply lives up to his name! His name means ‘fool,’ and he is indeed foolish! 19 But I, your servant, did not see the servants my lord sent. 20
25:26 “Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and as surely as you live, it is the Lord who has kept you from shedding blood and taking matters into your own hands. Now may your enemies and those who seek to harm my lord be like Nabal. 25:27 Now let this present 21 that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the servants who follow 22 my lord. 25:28 Please forgive the sin of your servant, for the Lord will certainly establish the house of my lord, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord. May no evil be found in you all your days! 25:29 When someone sets out to chase you and to take your life, the life of my lord will be wrapped securely in the bag 23 of the living by the Lord your God. But he will sling away the lives of your enemies from the sling’s pocket! 25:30 The Lord will do for my lord everything that he promised you, 24 and he will make 25 you a leader over Israel. 25:31 Your conscience will not be overwhelmed with guilt 26 for having poured out innocent blood and for having taken matters into your own hands. When the Lord has granted my lord success, 27 please remember your servant.”
25:32 Then David said to Abigail, “Praised 28 be the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you this day to meet me! 25:33 Praised be your good judgment! May you yourself be rewarded 29 for having prevented me this day from shedding blood and taking matters into my own hands! 25:34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives – he who has prevented me from harming you – if you had not come so quickly to meet me, by morning’s light not even one male belonging to Nabal would have remained alive!” 25:35 Then David took from her hand what she had brought to him. He said to her, “Go back 30 to your home in peace. Be assured that I have listened to you 31 and responded favorably.” 32
25:36 When Abigail went back to Nabal, he was holding a banquet in his house like that of the king. Nabal was having a good time 33 and was very intoxicated. She told him absolutely nothing 34 until morning’s light. 25:37 In the morning, when Nabal was sober, 35 his wife told him about these matters. He had a stroke and was paralyzed. 36
1 tn Heb “David”; for stylistic reasons the pronoun has been used in the translation.
2 tn Or “young men.”
3 tn Heb “and David said to the young men.”
4 tn Heb “and inquire concerning him in my name in regard to peace.”
5 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, le’ekhay). 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).
6 tc The translation follows many medieval Hebrew
7 tn This refers to the ten servants sent by David.
8 tn Heb “whatever your hand will find.”
9 tn Heb “him”; the referent (David) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
10 tn Heb “bless.”
11 tn Heb “all the days we walked about with them when we were.”
12 tn Heb “all his house” (so ASV, NRSV); NAB, NLT “his whole family.”
13 tn Heb “he is a son of worthlessness.”
14 tn Heb “skins.”
15 sn The seah was a dry measure equal to one-third of an ephah, or not quite eleven quarts.
16 tn Heb “said.”
17 tc Heb “Thus God will do to the enemies of David and thus he will add.” Most of the Old Greek
19 tn Heb “and foolishness is with him.”
20 tn Heb “my lord’s servants, whom you sent.”
21 tn Heb “blessing.”
22 tn Heb “are walking at the feet of.”
23 tn Cf. KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV “bundle”; NLT “treasure pouch.”
24 tn Heb “according to all which he spoke, the good concerning you.”
25 tn Heb “appoint.”
26 tn Heb “and this will not be for you for staggering and for stumbling of the heart of my lord.”
27 tn Heb “and the
29 tn Heb “blessed.”
30 tn Heb “up.”
31 tn Heb “your voice.”
32 tn Heb “I have lifted up your face.”
33 tn Heb “and the heart of Nabal was good upon him”; NASB, NRSV “Nabal’s heart was merry within him”; NIV “he was in high spirits”; NCV, TEV “was in a good mood”; CEV “was very drunk and feeling good.”
34 tn Heb “and she did not tell him a thing, small or large.”
35 tn Heb “when the wine had gone out from Nabal.”
36 tn Heb “and his heart died within him and he became a stone.” Cf. TEV, NLT “stroke”; CEV “heart attack.” For an alternative interpretation than that presented above, see Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle, “The Law of the Heart: The Death of a Fool (1 Samuel 25),” JBL 120 (2001): 401-27, who argues that a medical diagnosis is not necessary here. Instead, the passage makes a connection between the heart and the law; Nabal dies for his lawlessness.