David and Nabal (1 Sam 25:1-25:13)

“Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran. There was a man in Maon, whose property was in Carmel. The man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal. The name of his wife was Abigail. This woman was clever and beautiful. The man, however, was surly and mean. He was a Calebite.”

Nabal, which means insensitive, was a very rich man living in Maon, but whose property was in Carmel, where he was shearing his sheep. This must have been close by and certainly not the northern Mount Carmel. His wife’s name was Abigail who was smart and good looking. Nabal was a Calebite, a strong tribe that would have been descendents of Caleb. He however was mean.

“David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. So David sent ten young men. David said to the young men. ‘Go up to Carmel. Go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. Thus you shall salute him. ‘Peace be to you! Peace be to your house! Peace be to all that you have! I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us. We did them no harm. They missed nothing all the time that they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your sight. We have come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”

David was going to send 10 of his young men to remind Nabal that they had protected his shepherds. This was a kind of protection money that they wanted from Nabal. However, they were to come in peace with a peace greeting. In return, they were asking for whatever Nabal would like to give them.

“When David’s young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David. Then they waited. But Nabal answered David’s servants. ‘Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread, my water, and my meat that I have butchered for my shearers, and give it to men who come from I do not know where?’ So David’s young men turned away. They came back and told him all this. David said to his men. ‘Every man strap on his sword!’ Every one of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. About four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.”

When the 10 men from David arrived, Nabal responded that he knew nothing about David. He was not going to give anything to anybody he did not where they were from. He had butchered meat for his workers. They would get something. Shepherds were always complaining about something. David’s men returned and told their story to David. The David told them to get their swords. So David took off with about 400 men while 200 stayed behind.

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