This article is part of a series of Bible passages, which together are mainly about how the Bible says the Jewish race developed and were given laws, how they settled in ancient Israel, and how it says God sometimes punished them for disobeying his commands, which led to them changing their ways.
This is Part 6 (of 8) in Section 7: "The First Centuries In The Promised Land".
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
1 Samuel chapter 25 (TEV)
1 Samuel died, and all the Israelites came together and mourned for him. Then they buried him at his home in Ramah.
After this, David went to the wilderness of Paran. 2 There was a man of the clan of Caleb named Nabal, who was from the town of Maon, and who owned land near the town of Carmel. He was a very rich man, the owner of three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. His wife Abigail was beautiful and intelligent, but he was a mean, bad-tempered man.
1 Samuel chapter 25 (NIV)
4 While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. 5 So he sent ten young men and said to them, "Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. 6 Say to him: 'Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!
7 " 'Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. 8 Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.' "
9 When David's men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David's name. Then they waited.
10 Nabal answered David's servants, "Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. 11 Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?"
12 David's men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. 13 David said to his men, "Put on your swords!" So they put on their swords, and David put on his. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.
14 One of the servants told Nabal's wife Abigail: "David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. 15 Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. 16 Night and day they were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them. 17 Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him."
18 Abigail quickly gathered two hundred loaves of bread, two leather bags full of wine, five roasted sheep, two bushels of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred cakes of dried figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she said to the servants, "You go on ahead and I will follow you." But she said nothing to her husband.
20 She was riding her donkey around a bend on a hillside when suddenly she met David and his men coming toward her. 21 David had been thinking, "Why did I ever protect that fellow's property out here in the wilderness? Not a thing that belonged to him was stolen, and this is how he pays me back for the help I gave him! 22 May God strike me dead if I don't kill every last one of those men before morning!"
1 Samuel chapter 25 (NLT)
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, 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.
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! 30 When the LORD has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, 31 don't let this be a blemish on your record. Then you won't have to carry on your conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the LORD has done these great things for you, please remember me!"
32 David replied to Abigail, "Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! 33 Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murdering the man and carrying out vengeance with my own hands. 34 For I swear by the LORD, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal's men would be alive tomorrow morning."
35 Then David accepted her gifts and told her, "Return home in peace. We will not kill your husband."
36 When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal had thrown a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn't tell him anything about her meeting with David until the next morning. 37 The next morning when he was sober, she told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay on his bed paralyzed. 38 About ten days later, the LORD struck him and he died.
39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Praise the LORD, who has paid back Nabal and kept me from doing it myself. Nabal has received the punishment for his sin."
Then David wasted no time in sending messengers to Abigail to ask her to become his wife. 40 When the messengers arrived at Carmel, they told Abigail, "David has sent us to ask if you will marry him." 41 She bowed low to the ground and responded, "Yes, I am even willing to become a slave to David's servants!" 42 Quickly getting ready, she took along five of her servant girls as attendants, mounted her donkey, and went with David's messengers. And so she became his wife. 43 David also married Ahinoam from Jezreel, making both of them his wives. 44 Saul, meanwhile, had given his daughter Michal, David's wife, to a man from Gallim named Palti son of Laish.
1 Samuel chapter 26 (CEV)
1 Once again, some people from Ziph went to Gibeah to talk with Saul. "David has a hideout on Mount Hachilah near Jeshimon out in the desert," they told him.
2 Saul took three thousand of Israel's best soldiers and went to look for David there in Ziph Desert. 3 Saul set up camp on Mount Hachilah, which is across the road from Jeshimon. But David was hiding out in the desert. When David heard that Saul was following him, 4 he sent some spies to find out if it was true. 5 Then he sneaked up to Saul's camp. He noticed that Saul and his army commander Abner the son of Ner were sleeping in the middle of the camp, with soldiers sleeping all around them. 6 David asked Ahimelech the Hittite and Joab's brother Abishai, "Which one of you will go with me into Saul's camp?" "I will!" Abishai answered.
7 That same night, David and Abishai crept into the camp. Saul was sleeping, and his spear was stuck in the ground not far from his head. Abner and the soldiers were sound asleep all around him. 8 Abishai whispered, "This time God has let you get your hands on your enemy! I'll pin him to the ground with one thrust of his own spear."
9 "Don't kill him!" David whispered back. "The LORD will punish anyone who kills his chosen king. 10 As surely as the LORD lives, the LORD will kill Saul, or Saul will die a natural death or be killed in battle. 11 But I pray that the LORD will keep me from harming his chosen king. Let's grab his spear and his water jar and get out of here!"
12 David took the spear and the water jar, then left the camp. None of Saul's soldiers knew what had happened or even woke up--the LORD had made all of them fall sound asleep. 13 David and Abishai crossed the valley and went to the top of the next hill, where they were at a safe distance.
14 "Abner!" David shouted toward Saul's army. "Can you hear me?"
Abner shouted back. "Who dares disturb the king?"
15 "Abner, what kind of a man are you?" David replied. "Aren't you supposed to be the best soldier in Israel? Then why didn't you protect your king? Anyone who went into your camp could have killed him tonight. 16 You're a complete failure! I swear by the living LORD that you and your men deserve to die for not protecting the LORD's chosen king. Look and see if you can find the king's spear and the water jar that were near his head."
17 Saul could tell it was David's voice, and he called out, "David, my son! Is that you?"
"Yes it is, Your Majesty. 18 Why are you after me? Have I done something wrong, or have I committed a crime? 19 Please listen to what I have to say. If the LORD has turned you against me, maybe a sacrifice will make him change his mind. But if some people have turned you against me, I hope the LORD will punish them! They have forced me to leave the land that belongs to the LORD and have told me to worship foreign gods. 20 Don't let me die in a land far away from the LORD. I'm no more important than a flea! Why should the king of Israel hunt me down as if I were a bird in the mountains?"
21 "David, you had the chance to kill me today. But you didn't. I was very wrong about you. It was a terrible mistake for me to try to kill you. I've acted like a fool, but I'll never try to harm you again. You're like a son to me, so please come back."
22 "Your Majesty, here's your spear! Have one of your soldiers come and get it. 23 The LORD put you in my power today, but you are his chosen king and I wouldn't harm you. The LORD rewards people who are faithful and live right. 24 I saved your life today, and I pray that the LORD will protect me and keep me safe."
25 "David, my son, I pray that the Lord will bless you and make you successful!"
Saul went back home. David also left.
1 Samuel chapter 27 (TEV)
1 David said to himself, "One of these days Saul will kill me. The best thing for me to do is to escape to Philistia. Then Saul will give up looking for me in Israel, and I will be safe."
2 So David and his six hundred men went over at once to Achish son of Maoch, king of Gath. 3 David and his men settled there in Gath with their families. David had his two wives with him, Ahinoam from Jezreel, and Abigail, Nabal's widow, from Carmel. 4 When Saul heard that David had fled to Gath, he gave up trying to find him.
5 David said to Achish, "If you are my friend, let me have a small town to live in. There is no need, sir, for me to live with you in the capital city." 6 So Achish gave him the town of Ziklag, and for this reason Ziklag has belonged to the kings of Judah ever since.
7 David lived in Philistia for sixteen months. 8 During that time David and his men would attack the people of Geshur, Girzi, and Amalek, who had been living in the region a very long time. He would raid their land as far as Shur, all the way down to Egypt, 9 killing all the men and women and taking the sheep, cattle, donkeys, camels, and even the clothes. Then he would come back to Achish, 10 who would ask him, "Where did you go on a raid this time?" and David would tell him that he had gone to the southern part of Judah or to the territory of the clan of Jerahmeel or to the territory where the Kenites lived. 11 David would kill everyone, men and women, so that no one could go back to Gath and report what he and his men had really done. This is what David did the whole time he lived in Philistia. 12 But Achish trusted David and said to himself, "He is hated so much by his own people the Israelites that he will have to serve me all his life."
1 Samuel chapter 28 (TEV)
1 Some time later the Philistines gathered their troops to fight Israel, and Achish said to David, "Of course you understand that you and your men are to fight on my side." 2 "Of course," David answered. "I am your servant, and you will see for yourself what I can do."
Achish said, "Good! I will make you my permanent bodyguard."
3 Now Samuel had died, and all the Israelites had mourned for him and had buried him in his hometown of Ramah. Saul had forced all the fortunetellers and mediums to leave Israel. 4 The Philistine troops assembled and camped near the town of Shunem; Saul gathered the Israelites and camped at Mount Gilboa. 5 When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was terrified, 6 and so he asked the Lord what to do. But the Lord did not answer him at all, either by dreams or by the use of Urim and Thummim or by prophets. 7 Then Saul ordered his officials, "Find me a woman who is a medium, and I will go and consult her."
"There is one in Endor," they answered.
8 So Saul disguised himself; he put on different clothes, and after dark he went with two of his men to see the woman.
"Consult the spirits for me and tell me what is going to happen," he said to her. "Call up the spirit of the man I name."
9 The woman answered, "Surely you know what King Saul has done, how he forced the fortunetellers and mediums to leave Israel. Why, then, are you trying to trap me and get me killed?"
10 Then Saul made a sacred vow. "By the living Lord I promise that you will not be punished for doing this," he told her.
11 "Whom shall I call up for you?" the woman asked.
"Samuel," he answered.
12 When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed and said to Saul, "Why have you tricked me? You are King Saul!"
13 "Don't be afraid!" the king said to her. "What do you see?"
"I see a spirit coming up from the earth," she answered.
14 "What does it look like?" he asked.
"It's an old man coming up," she answered. "He is wearing a cloak." Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed to the ground in respect. 15 Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me? Why did you make me come back?"
Saul answered, "I am in great trouble! The Philistines are at war with me, and God has abandoned me. He doesn't answer me any more, either by prophets or by dreams. And so I have called you, for you to tell me what I must do."
16 Samuel said, "Why do you call me when the Lord has abandoned you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you what he told you through me: he has taken the kingdom away from you and given it to David instead. 18 You disobeyed the Lord's command and did not completely destroy the Amalekites and all they had. That is why the Lord is doing this to you now. 19 He will give you and Israel over to the Philistines. Tomorrow you and your sons will join me, and the Lord will also give the army of Israel over to the Philistines."
20 At once Saul fell down and lay stretched out on the ground, terrified by what Samuel had said. He was weak, because he had not eaten anything all day and all night. 21 The woman went over to him and saw that he was terrified, so she said to him, "Please, sir, I risked my life by doing what you asked. 22 Now please do what I ask. Let me fix you some food. You must eat so that you will be strong enough to travel."
23 Saul refused and said he would not eat anything. But his officers also urged him to eat. He finally gave in, got up from the ground, and sat on the bed. 24 The woman quickly killed a calf which she had been fattening. Then she took some flour, prepared it, and baked some bread without yeast. 25 She set the food before Saul and his officers, and they ate it. And they left that same night.
1 Samuel chapter 29 (TEV)
1 The Philistines brought all their troops together at Aphek, while the Israelites camped at the spring in Jezreel Valley. 2 The five Philistine kings marched out with their units of a hundred and of a thousand men; David and his men marched in the rear with King Achish. 3 The Philistine commanders saw them and asked, "What are these Hebrews doing here?"
Achish answered, "This is David, an official of King Saul of Israel. He has been with me for quite some time now. He has done nothing I can find fault with since the day he came over to me."
4 But the Philistine commanders were angry with Achish and said to him, "Send that fellow back to the town you gave him. Don't let him go into battle with us; he might turn against us during the fighting. What better way is there for him to win back his master's favor than by the death of our men? 5 After all, this is David, the one about whom the women sang, as they danced, "Saul has killed thousands, but David has killed tens of thousands.' "
6 Achish called David and said to him, "I swear by the living God of Israel that you have been loyal to me; and I would be pleased to have you go with me and fight in this battle. I have not found any fault in you from the day you came over to me. But the other kings don't approve of you. 7 So go back home in peace, and don't do anything that would displease them."
8 David answered, "What have I done wrong, sir? If, as you say, you haven't found any fault in me since the day I started serving you, why shouldn't I go with you, my master and king, and fight your enemies?"
9 "I agree," Achish replied. "I consider you as loyal as an angel of God. But the other kings have said that you can't go with us into battle. 10 So then, David, tomorrow morning all of you who left Saul and came over to me will have to get up early and leave as soon as it's light."
11 So David and his men started out early the following morning to go back to Philistia, and the Philistines went on to Jezreel.
1 Samuel chapter 30 (TEV)
1 Two days later David and his men arrived back at Ziklag. The Amalekites had raided southern Judah and attacked Ziklag. They had burned down the town 2 and captured all the women; they had not killed anyone, but had taken everyone with them when they left. 3 When David and his men arrived, they found that the town had been burned down and that their wives, sons, and daughters had been carried away. 4 David and his men started crying and did not stop until they were completely exhausted. 5 Even David's two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, had been taken away. 6 David was now in great trouble, because his men were all very bitter about losing their children, and they were threatening to stone him; but the Lord his God gave him courage.
7 David said to the priest Abiathar son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod," and Abiathar brought it to him. 8 David asked the Lord, "Shall I go after those raiders? And will I catch them?"
He answered, "Go after them; you will catch them and rescue the captives."
9 So David and his six hundred men started out, and when they arrived at Besor Brook, some of them stayed there. 10 David continued on his way with four hundred men; the other two hundred men were too tired to cross the brook and so stayed behind. 11 The men with David found a young Egyptian out in the country and brought him to David. They gave him some food and water, 12 some dried figs, and two bunches of raisins. After he had eaten, his strength returned; he had not had anything to eat or drink for three full days. 13 David asked him, "Who is your master, and where are you from?"
"I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite," he answered. "My master left me behind three days ago because I got sick. 14 We had raided the territory of the Cherethites in the southern part of Judah and the territory of the clan of Caleb, and we burned down Ziklag."
15 "Will you lead me to those raiders?" David asked him.
He answered, "I will if you promise me in God's name that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master." 16 And he led David to them.
The raiders were scattered all over the place, eating, drinking, and celebrating because of the enormous amount of loot they had captured from Philistia and Judah. 17 At dawn the next day David attacked them and fought until evening. Except for four hundred young men who mounted camels and got away, none of them escaped. 18 David rescued everyone and everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives; 19 nothing at all was missing. David got back all his men's sons and daughters, and all the loot the Amalekites had taken. 20 He also recovered all the flocks and herds; his men drove all the livestock in front of them and said, "This belongs to David!"
21 Then David went back to the two hundred men who had been too weak to go with him and had stayed behind at Besor Brook. They came forward to meet David and his men, and David went up to them and greeted them warmly. 22 But some mean and worthless men who had gone with David said, "They didn't go with us, and so we won't give them any of the loot. They can take their wives and children and go away." 23 But David answered, "My brothers, you can't do this with what the Lord has given us! He kept us safe and gave us victory over the raiders. 24 No one can agree with what you say! All must share alike: whoever stays behind with the supplies gets the same share as the one who goes into battle." 25 David made this a rule, and it has been followed in Israel ever since.
26 When David returned to Ziklag, he sent part of the loot to his friends, the leaders of Judah, with the message, "Here is a present for you from the loot we took from the Lord's enemies." 27 He sent it to the people in Bethel, to the people in Ramah in the southern part of Judah, and to the people in the towns of Jattir, 28 Aroer, Siphmoth, Eshtemoa, 29 and Racal; to the clan of Jerahmeel, to the Kenites, 30 and to the people in the towns of Hormah, Borashan, Athach, 31 and Hebron. He sent it to all the places where he and his men had roamed.
You may have been offended by the gruesomeness of some of the Bible passages here. But the Bible indicates that under ideal circumstances, God wants people to live in peace. To find out more about the way Christians and ordinary people are instructed to behave when not called upon to participate in defensive wars, visit:
What The Bible Says About Violence, Anger, Jealousy, Arguments, And Living In Peace With Each Other.
The next file in this section (Part 7), is entitled: "The Death of King Saul, and the Reign of King David".
If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials: