1Samuel 25

 

1Samuel 25:1–25

Abigail, Nabal and David


Outline of Chapter 25:

 

       v.      1           Samuel Dies

       vv.    2–3        Nabal and Abigail

       vv.    4–8        David Sends Men to Nabal to Collect for Their Protection of Nabal’s Enterprise

       vv.    9–13      Nabal Refuses to Pay David’s Men/David Vows Revenge

       vv.   14–17      Nabal’s Men Come to Abigail to Tell Her What Has Happened

       vv.   18–20      Abigail Pro-actively Goes to Meet David to Dissuade Him

       vv.   21–22      David Vows to Return Evil for Evil

       vv.   23–31      Abigail Appeals to David

       vv.   32–35      David Backs Down, Recognizing that God Sent Abigail to Dissuade Him

       vv.   36–38      God Strikes Nabal Dead, Exacting David’s Revenge

       vv.   39–42      David Marries Abigail

       vv.   43–44      An Accounting of David’s Marriages and Former Marriages


Charts and Maps:

 

       v.      1           Clarke’s Dedication to Samuel

       v.      2           Sheep Ranching in the Bible

       v.      3           The Introverted Parallelism of 1Sam. 25:3

       v.     17           The Similarities Between Saul and Nabal

       v.     17           Was David Running a Protection Racket?

       v.     31           Various Translations of 1Samuel 25:30–31


Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To

 

 

Belial

 


I ntroduction: The first time I read through 1Sam. 25, I thought, is David running some sort of protection racket? In the times of mobster’s, they would offer to protect businesses from themselves for money (or, so is the movie version of those times). It appears that David is doing the same thing. Nabal, a businessman with a lot of sheep, is now harvesting his wool. This is the end product; this is where Nabal makes his money. Everything else just brings him to this point. In this chapter, David will send men to him, and they will tell Nabal, “Nothing happened to your sheep; what’s our cut?” Or so it appears to the casual reader.

 

There is a particular commentary that I read, and often grimace at the man’s thoughts: What the Bible Really Says by Manfred Barthel. Barthel comments: ...we are given a highly sanitized but still unmistakable account of David’s extortion methods. He sends an unarmed advance party to the house of a wealthy landowner called Nabal—or he sends “Messengers” to “salute” him, as the Bible puts it. They explain to Nabal, in true Mafioso style, that though David’s band of desperadoes has been camping out on Nabal’s grazing land for some time now

 

...but Nabal “obstinately” refuses to pay off—to hand over “what ever comes into your hand to your servants, to the your son David” —and David sets out with four hundred armed men for Nabal’s farmstead.

 

Nabal’s shepherds, naturally mindful of the prospect of having their kneecaps smashed by David’s “messengers,” warn Nabal’s wife, Abigail, pointing out that David’s demands are perfectly reasonable and that Nabal is just being perversely stubborn. Footnote


You may want to read this passage for yourself and you might even find yourself convinced that this is what David had done—demanded protection money from an honest and helpless businessman. However, one must look back on those times. There was no police force, per se. There was a national army, but Saul had abused these soldiers and had them chasing after David half of the time. His concern was not for the general welfare of Israel. Therefore, a businessman like Nabal could not expect to be protected by the state. Therefore, he had to hire private protection (something which is done today as well), and apparently he had hired David. That is, it does not appear as though David just showed up uninvited. However, Nabal did decide not to pay David.


This leads to David making a mistake, getting out of fellowship, and coming to kill Nabal and every male hire of his. However, in steps Abigail, Nabal’s wife, and she heads David off, and reasons with him, and prevents him from killing her husband. However, when she tells Nabal what had happened, who has just awoken after a night of drunken carousing, he has a heart attack or a stroke and dies 10 days later.


To break this chapter down more: we actually begin with the death of Samuel in v. 1. We meet Nabal the businessman in v. 2 and he and his wife are described in v. 3. Vv. 4–5 appear to be a little sketchy—it appears as though David, out of the blue sends men to Nabal, to collect money from him because he suffered no loss when he had his sheep sheared near where David was. When David’s men go to Nabal, having been told what to say, Nabal berates them, and sends them back to David empty-handed (vv. 6–11). The men return to David, empty-handed and having been insulted by Nabal. David prepares his men to saddle up and kill Nabal (vv. 12–13). This tells us that David was simply not running some protection racket, but that there was some sort of contract in place.


Abigail, Nabal’s wife, now becomes involved. She talks to the men involved with Nabal’s sheep, got the straight dope on the situation, and persuaded by these men, springs into action (vv. 14–17). What Abigail does is assemble a gift far greater than anything that could have been agreed to, and gets things ready to take it to David (vv. 18–19). Interestingly enough, David and Abigail almost run into one another while David is muttering what he is going to do to Nabal (vv. 20–22). Abigail ingratiates herself to David and clearly tells him that she knows what a total ass Nabal is (vv. 23–25). Then Abigail does the unexpected; she properly interprets everything in the context of Who and What God is (vv. 26–31). David recognizes that what she says is divine viewpoint, and he properly credits Jehovah Elohim for sending her to him to stop him from his mission of revenge (vv. 32–35). This adversity being averted, Abigail returns home to Nabal, who is drunk off his butt at a party—what a surprise that Nabal is a lying thieving businessman and a drunk (v. 36). The next day, Abigail tells Nabal why some of their assets are missing and that David was about to destroy their lives, and Nabal dies (vv. 37–38). In vv. 39–42, David hears that Abigail is a widow and he sends for her, so make her his wife. The chapter concludes with a few things about David’s marital status (vv. 43–44).


Narrative is kind of tricky sometimes. When you read one passage or one verse, you sometimes get an incorrect impression. It is easy to take an inference which is not there from a single verse. I know that I have done that on several occasions, and later, come to a verse which gives a completely different impression. So we have to be careful in making statements and saying things which a verse does not really say.


This is a general rule for Scripture. You cannot take one verse and beat it to death. I’ve seen many movies with vigil antes quote an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. I don’t know how many times this sort of thing actually occurred, but Scripture is crystal clear on this point—you do not get to exact revenge for a wrong which has been done to you. Nowhere, no way, no how. But if you take a verse like this, out of context, and ignore conflicting Scriptures, then you can be forced to a false conclusion. This is what cults do all of the time. They take a few pet Scriptures, some favorite verses, and devise a web of lies based upon those few Scriptures quoted out of context. The Jehovah Witnesses, for instance, love it when Jesus says, “The Father is greater than I.” They infer from this passage that Jesus is not God. To them, it is as clear as day. Therefore, they put great effort into beating down and explaining away the many verses which confirm our Lord’s deity.


Christian Science, which used to be a cultic force to reckon with, emphasized spiritual healing over the work of medical doctors (who are not perfect). They did not believe that medical science should be consulted in the matters of healing, which ignores specific Scriptures where medicine is applied. Again, the cult elevates a few passages, draws false inferences from those passages, and either ignores or explains away all that remains.


Application: Do now allowed yourself to be swayed from correct doctrine by what you find in two or three passages. These passages must be examined in context and in comparison to other passages on the same topi in order to come to a correct understanding. In other words, you should not read, “You will not kill” and interpret that as meaning that you never, under any circumstances, take the life of a person, animal or plant. Obviously, when the verse, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life is nearby, that there is a valid reason for taking the life of another human being. There are provisions about eating in the Law which indicate that it is reasonable to slaughter animals and to harvest crops for food. And, as already mentioned, you cannot take the statement a life for a life and use it to justify vigil ante actions. The Law also provides a system of evidence, laws and governing bodies to sort out crimes which have been committed.


I re-emphasize this because, although David did no wrong with regards to the protection which he provided, he did great wrong with resorting to vigil ante action midway through this chapter. He will admit to his wrong when stopped by the gracious Abigail.


Most people, when they read this chapter, see it as basically a story about David and Abigail, and how they met. Of course, her husband Nabal, a louse, is also involved. However, this chapter marks an extremely important advance in David’s spiritual life, which will become more pronounced in the next chapter (often mistaken as an alternate view of 1Sam. 24). David will learn in this chapter that God will avenge his enemies for him.


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Samuel Dies


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so dies Samuel and so are gathered all of Israel. And so they grieve for him and so they bury him in his house in Ramah. And so arises David and so he goes down unto a wilderness of Paran [possibly, Maon].

1Samuel

25:1

Finally, Samuel died, and all of Israel gathered to grieve [lit., and so they grieve] for him. They buried him at his estate in Ramah. David also arose, but he went down to the wilderness of Maon [possibly, Paran].

Finally, Samuel died and all Israel gathered to grieve for him. They buried Samuel at his Ramah estate. David also arose at this time, but he went down to the wilderness of Maon.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls            [not found]

Peshitta                                 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together and mourned for him, an buried him in his grave in Ramtha. And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

Septuagint                             And Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and bewailed him, and they bury him in his house in Armathaim. And David arose and he went down to the wilderness of Maon [Alexandrian: Paran].

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Samuel died, and people from all over Israel gathered to mourn for him when he was buried at his home in Ramah. Meanwhile, David moved his camp to Paran Desert.

NJB                                        Samuel died and all Israel assembled to mourn for him. They buried him at his home in Ramah.

David then set off and went down to the desert of Maon.

NLT                                        Now Samuel died, and all Israel gathered for his funeral. They buried him near his home at Ramah.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Samuel died, and all Israel gathered to mourn for him. They buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David went to the desert of Paran.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Samuel died, and all Israel gathered and made lament for him; and they buried him in Ramah, his home.

David went down to the wilderness of Paran.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Samuel died; and all Israel gathered together and mourned for him, and buried him at his house in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

Young's Updated LT              And Samuel dies, and all Israel are gathered, and mourn for him, and bury him in his house, in Ramah; and David rises and goes down unto the wilderness of Paran.


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel dies, and Israel mourns his passing. David goes to the wilderness of Maon.


1Sam. 25:1 almost stands by itself. It sets the stage for the next few chapters. David’s location is tied to this chapter. Samuel’s death is the background for Saul’s negative volition in chapters 27–28 and his foray into spiritism in 1Sam. 28.


1Samuel 25:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mûwth (תמ) [pronounced mooth]

to die

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #4191 BDB #559

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028


Translation: Finally, Samuel died,... Samuel was the last judge, and some might call him the first of the office of prophets (recall that he organized a school of prophets). He has been an old man for a long time. This was made mention of at least twice previously in Samuel (1Sam. 8:1, 5 12:2). So it was only a matter of time before he died. He is passing along the torch to David, who will be the spiritual Atlas, if you will, of his generation. Clarke lists him as being 98 years old at his death, Footnote which information is obviously taken from an unnamed source. He also suggests that Samuel was involved in Israel’s roughly 16–20 years prior to Saul; however, I would not be surprised if he was involved for a longer period of time.


1Samuel 25:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbats (ץ ַב ָק) [pronounced kaw-BATS]

to be gathered, to be collected, to be congregated, to congregate selves

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #6908 BDB #867

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Yiserâêl (ל ֵא ָר  ׃  ̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...and all of Israel gathered... The people of Israel did not have to be requested to attend Samuel’s funeral; it just came naturally to them. Samuel was a great man of his day, well-respected even by men such as Saul. In fact, as we will see, Saul, even though he has not made contact with Samuel for sometime, will feel lost without him in the world.


Application: Those who have raised you spiritually will eventually leave this world. In fact, everybody dies; so it is just a matter of time. You must give your spiritual growth over to God. This does not mean that when your spiritual mentor dies, that you just wait for God to speak to you; but God will provide a teacher for you.


1Samuel 25:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

çâphad (דַפ ָס) [pronounced saw-FAHD]

to lament, to grieve, to wail, to bewail

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5594 BDB #704

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...to grieve [lit., and so they grieve] for him. Israel recognized that God was with Samuel and that he spiritually guided the nation. Therefore, they were sorry that he died. For some, this would have left them in a state of spiritual panic.

 

Keil and Delitzsch tell us: [Samuel’s] labours as a prophet were recognised by the whole nation as a blessing for Israel. Since the days of Moses and Joshua, no man had arisen to whom the covenant nation owed so much as to Samuel, who has been justly called the reformer and restorer of the theocracy.


1Samuel 25:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbar (רַבָק) [pronounced kaw-BAHR]

to bury, to heap up a mound

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6912 BDB #868

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

Râmâth (ת ָמָר) [pronounced raw-MAWTH]

height, high place; transliterated Ramah

feminine noun used primarily as a proper noun; with the directional hê here

Strong’s #7413 BDB #928


Translation: They buried him at his estate [lit., in his house] in Ramah. Samuel’s home had been Ramah; it is where he was born and where he returned to after being brought up in the Tabernacle of God. This is apparently where he made his base of operations when he functioned as a circuit judge.

 

It is highly unlikely that Samuel was physically buried inside his house, but he may have been buried in the courtyard or something like that. Jamieson, et. al, write: that is, his own mausoleum. The Hebrews took as great care to provide sepulchers anciently as people do in the East still, where every respectable family has its own house of the dead. Often this is in a little detached garden, containing a small stone building (where there is no rock), resembling a house, which is called the sepulcher of the family--it has neither door nor window. Footnote Although this makes perfect sense, they give us no references to confirm this.

 

Gill tells us that the Greeks and Romans sometimes buried the dead in their homes; however, this was not a Hebrew custom. Footnote Gill gives us several theories which have been proposed as to where Samuel was buried; however, in the courtyard of his estate makes the most sense. Gill tells us, that according to the historical records, Samuel's bones remained, until removed by Arcadius the emperor into Thrace; Benjamin of Tudela reports (Itinerar. p. 52), that when the Christians took Ramlah, which is Ramah, from the Mahometans, they found the grave of Samuel at Ramah by a synagogue of the Jews, and they took him out of the grave, and carried him to Shiloh, and there built a large temple, which is called the Samuel of Shiloh to this day. I do not know the time frame here (although at least a millennium would have passed between Samuel’s death and being moved anywhere by Christians; nor do I know if this is even accurate.


Freeman tells us that we cannot assume that Samuel’s tomb was actually somewhere on his land; but that the house here spoken of is actually Samuel’s tomb (compare 1Kings 2:34 Job 30:23). He says that it is much more likely that a tomb built for a body is referred to as a house, rather than the house for the living be used as a burial place. Footnote On the one hand, burying a person on their estate seems a natural thing to do, Samuel was a national figure and it is possible that his body was buried in a more public place (it is also possible that his estate became a more public place—if he was buried there).


Samuel occupied a great place in Israel’s history—actually, a unique position where he bridged the gap between judge and king, as well as introduced the practice of the office of prophet. Clarke Footnote writes a dedication to Samuel, which I have placed below.

Clarke’s Dedication to Samuel

In this chapter we have the account of the death of Samuel, who from his infancy had been devoted to God and the service of his people. He was born at a time in which religion was at a very low ebb in Israel, as there were but very few prophets, and no open vision - scarcely any revelation from God. Those who might be called prophets had no regular ministry of God’s word; they were extraordinary messengers sent for a particular purpose, and not continued in the work any longer than the time necessary to deliver their extraordinary message.


Samuel is supposed to have been the first who established academies or schools for prophets, at least we do not hear of them before his time; and it is granted that they continued till the Babylonish captivity. This was a wise institution, and no doubt contributed much to the maintenance of pure religion, and the prevention of idolatry among that people.


Samuel reformed many abuses in the Jewish state, and raised it to a pitch of political consequence to which it had been long a stranger. He was very zealous for the honor of God, and supported the rights of pure religion, of the king, and of the people, against all encroachments. He was chief magistrate in Israel before the appointment of a king, and afterwards he acted as prime minister to Saul, though without being chosen or formally appointed to that station. Indeed, he seems on the whole to have been the civil and ecclesiastical governor, Saul being little more than general of the Israel’s forces.


In his office of minister in the state, he gave the brightest example of zeal, diligence, inflexible integrity, and uncorruptedness. He reproved both the people and the king for their transgressions, with a boldness which nothing but his sense of the Divine authority could inspire, and yet he tempered it with a sweetness which showed the interest he felt in their welfare, and the deep and distressing concern he felt for their back-slidings and infidelities.


He was incorrupt; he received no man’s bribe; he had no pension from the state; he enriched none of his relatives from the public purse; left no private debts to be discharged by his country. He was among the Hebrews what Aristides is said to have been among the Greeks, so poor at his death, though a minister of state, that he did not leave property enough to bury him. Justice was by him duly and impartially administered, and oppression and wrong had no existence.


If there ever was a heaven-born minister, it was Samuel; in whose public and private conduct there was no blemish, and whose parallel cannot be found in the ancient or modern history of any country in the universe.

Let ministers of state who have sought for nothing but their own glory, and have increased the public burdens by their improvident expenditure; who have endeavored, by their wordy representations, to dazzle and elude the people, and impose false grandeur in the place of true greatness and solid prosperity; who have oppressed the many, and enriched the worthless few; fall down at the feet of This heaven-born man, and learn, from this immaculate judge of Israel, what a faithful servant to his king, and an incorruptible minister of state, means, and in retiring from their high station, or in going to appear before the judgment-seat of God, see whether, in the presence of their king, and in the face of the thousands of their people, they can boldly say, “Behold, here am I! Witness against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose ass have I seized? Whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, by the imposition of heavy taxes for the support of needless expenses, and the payment of venal men? Or of whose hand have I taken any bribe to blind my eyes? Scrutinize my conduct, examine the state of my family, compare their present circumstances with what they were previously to my administration, and see if you can find aught in my hands.” See 1Sa_12:1, etc.


O, how seldom in the annals of the world, from the assembled heads of the great body politic, can the departing prime minister hear, “You have not defrauded us, you have not oppressed us; neither have you taken anything from any man’s hand!” This voice call be heard from Gilgal; but of what other minister can this be spoken but of Samuel the seer, who was the gift of God’s mercy to the people of Israel; whose memory was too precious to be intrusted to public monuments, but stands, and alas; almost unique in the Book of God? Of Daniel, and his administration, I shall have occasion to speak elsewhere.


A prime minister, deeply devoted to God and faithful to his king and to his country, is so rare a character in the world, that when he does occur, he should be held up to public admiration. But I have no parallel for Samuel. See the notes on 1 Samuel 12:1-25 (note) and on 1Sa_24:6 (note).

Israel reacted to the death of Samuel in the same way as they had to previous deaths of Old Testament saints, e.g. Jacob (Gen. 50:10), Aaron (Num. 20:29), and Moses (Deut. 34:8).


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1Samuel 25:1e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yârad (ד ַר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAHD]

to descend, to go down

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3381 BDB #432

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

midebâr (רָ ׃ד ̣מ) [pronounced mide-BAWR]

wilderness, unpopulated wilderness, desert wilderness

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4057 BDB #184

Pârân (ןָראָ) [pronounced paw-RAWN]

(possibly) boughs; abounding in foliage [or caverns]; and is transliterated Paran

Proper noun location

Strong’s #6290 BDB #803

The Septuagint has Maon, and several English translations also have Maon.

Mâ׳ôwn (ןעָמ) [pronounced maw-ĢOHN]

dwelling, habitation; transliterated Maon

feminine proper noun

Strong’s #4584 BDB #733

I include Maon to show that a damaged manuscript, one where perhaps pizza was eaten on, might yield Paran instead of Maon. The wilderness of Paran is found 7 times, all in the Torah; and the wilderness of Maon is found twice in the same passage in 1Sam. 23. I mention this, so that neither city is rejected because of being affixed to the wilderness of.


Translation: David also arose, but he went down to the wilderness of Maon [possibly, Paran]. David, despite his seemingly cordial visit with Saul, knows that Saul is not a man to be trusted. Therefore, David cannot go to the funeral of Samuel. There is no telling what might be running through Saul’s head again.


Gill also suggests Footnote that David was living among the Kedarenes while living that far south, and associates David’s living there with Psalm 120:5, where the author (possibly David) mentions living in the tents of Cedar (there are other interpretations of this passage as well). However, we do not know if David really was residing in the wilderness of Paran (see below).


We have the Massoretic text, which reads the wilderness of Paran and the LXX which reads the wilderness of Moan. Let’s first examine these two general areas:


The wilderness of Paran is a relatively large desert area with the wilderness of Sinai to the south; the wilderness of Zin to the north, and the wilderness of Shur to the northwest. Today, this is the center of the Sinai Peninsula, which is sandwiched between the Mediterranean, the Suez Gulf and the Gulf of Aqaba. This is the area where exodus generation wandered for some of the time. Although this region is generally inhospitable, ZPEB says the eastern edge of the Sinai peninsula is intensely broken up into dissected hills, through faults, and wadi floors—a wild assortment of landforms impossible to describe in detail. Footnote The indication is, there might be some areas where David’s group could survive. The biggest problem here is, this is pretty far from the action in Carmel. That is, David and his men, if they were in the wilderness of Paran, would not be that close to Carmel, where Nabal’s business is. In fact, they would be about 150–200 miles away, even if they were at the northeastern tip of the wilderness of Paran (some author’s suggest to the wilderness of Paran was must general and included southern Judah—this would put David 80–100 miles away). This does not mean that David didn’t go to the wilderness of Paran first and then drift back up to the Maon-Carmel area. However, we have nothing in the passage which documents that sort of movement. Jamieson, et. al. suggests that the wilderness of Paran stretches to the southern portion of Judah. Footnote If this is the case, then this translation makes sense. There would be several days to ride between northern Paran and Maon.


On the other hand, the wilderness of Maon is in the general area of Maon and Carmel. The wilderness of Maon is mentioned but twice in the Old Testament, and all in the same passage, but in relation to David and Saul’s movements in that general area (1Sam. 23:24–25). The majority of David’s movements are confined to that general area, making this the most likely reading from the standpoint of logic. On the other hand, there are two laws of textual criticism which suggest Paran: (1) It is possible that a copyist at some point, copied Maon from another verse instead of Paran; and (2) Maon is the most reasonable location here, meaning that it is more likely that a copyist would intentionally change Paran to Maon rather than the other way around.


To sum up: from the standpoint of logic, this is probably Maon; from the standpoint of textual criticism, this would be Paran. A third option is this could be a different wilderness of Paran makes little sense.


Proper interpretation of this passage may yield a semi-reasonable explanation: David’s men have already guarded Nabal’s sheep in Carmel. This was a contract which had been negotiated and fulfilled on one side. However, neither David nor his men had been paid on this contract. Therefore, even though they had to move to an area quite far away, they were still able to ascertain the information needed in order to determine when it was their payday. However, even with this explanation, Paran is a distance away; even northern Paran. The distance between Maon and Paran would have been several days journey. On the other hand, if David and his men are this far from Nabal, Nabal would have had the nerve to stiff David for the money owed. The difference to us is, everything David or his men go to Carmel, we are talking perhaps a week’s journey. If David and his men are in Maon, then the journey would be half a day. Abigail’s quick action (v. 18) would suggest that David is nearby.

 

Barnes opinion: The Septuagint has the far more probable reading “Maon.” The wilderness of Paran lay far off to the south, on the borders of the wilderness of Sinai (Num. 10:12; 1Ki. 11:18), whereas the following verse 1Sa. 25:2 shows that the scene is laid in the immediate neighborhood of Maon. If, however, Paran be the true reading, we must suppose that in a wide sense the wilderness of Paran extended all the way to the wilderness of Beersheba, and eastward to the mountains of Judah . Footnote


Now, all this aside, you may wonder, what does David’s location or relocation have to do with Samuel’s death? It is simply this: Samuel was one of the few men who could reason with Saul and get him, at least for a short time, more or less on board for God’s plan. In a bind, David could always go to Samuel, and it is unlikely that Saul would harm Samuel to get to David. However, with Samuel gone, the little restraint that Saul may have exhibited in the past is almost sure gone completely. Therefore, David needs, in his own mind, to be more careful and hidden further from Saul. This would tend to support the reading of the Masoretic text (which reads Paran), where David is looking to move further and further from Saul.


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Nabal and Abigail


And a man in Maon and his works in the Carmel. And the man great exceedingly. And to him sheep, three thousands; and a thousand goats. And he was as a shearing of his sheep in the Carmel.

1Samuel

25:2

[There was] a man in Maon and his work [was] in Carmel; and this man [was] very rich [lit., great]. And he had [lit., to him] 3000 sheep and 1000 goats. And it was as [he] sheared his sheep in Carmel:

There was this very rich man who lived in Maon, but commuted to Carmel for his work. He owned 3000 sheep and 1000 goats. The following came to pass while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And there was a man in Maon, and his flocks were in Carmel, and [he was] a very great man; and he had 1000 sheep and 100 she-goats. And he happened to be shearing his flock in Carmel.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Nabal was a very rich man who lived in Maon. He owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, which he kept at Carmel. His wife Abigail was sensible and beautiful, but he was from the Caleb clan and was rough and mean.

NLT                                        There was a wealthy man from Maon who owned property near the village of Carmel. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and it was sheep-shearing time.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Now, there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. He was a very rich man. He had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.

JPS (Tanakh)                        There was a man in Maon whose possessions were in Carmel. The man was very wealthy; he owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. At the time, he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              And there is a man in Maon, and his work is in Carmel; and the man is very great, and he has three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats; and he is shearing his flock in Carmel.


What is the gist of this verse? Maon is a rich man who lives in Maon and he has his sheep business in Carmel and he is shearing his flock in Carmel.


1Samuel 25:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

Mâ׳ôwn (ןעָמ) [pronounced maw-OHN]

dwelling, habitation; transliterated Maon

feminine proper noun

Strong’s #4584 BDB #733


Translation: [There was] a man in Maon... This is the second time the Maon is mentioned in the book of Samuel (1Sam. 23:24–25).


1Samuel 25:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ma׳ăseh (ה  ֲע ַמ) [pronounced mah-ğa-SEH

deeds, works, production, that which is done

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #4639 BDB #795

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

Karemel (ל∵מר-) [pronounced kahre-MEL]

garden, plantation and is transliterated Carmel

proper noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3760 BDB #502


Translation: ...and his work [was] in Carmel;... Nabal (the name of this guy) was one of the early commuters. He had a home in the suburbs in Maon, but he worked in Carmel. Obviously, the bus line was a couple years in the future, which meant that he would split his time between Maon and Carmel.


Carmel has also been mentioned before in this book (1Sam. 15:12 18:12). This is not the Mount Carmel west of the plain of Esdraelon, but the Carmel which is close to Maon (see Joshua 15:55). This is the Carmel where Saul erected a monument to himself. Caleb claimed a territory very near here, which confirms the fact that Nabal is a Calebite (v. 3).


1Samuel 25:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

gâdôwl (לדָ) [pronounced gaw-DOLE]

great in quantity, great in magnitude and extent, mighty, vast, unyielding, immutable; great things, significant and astonishing [or mind-blowing] things

adjective often used as a substantive

Strong’s #1419 (& #1431) BDB #152

meôd (דֹא  ׃מ) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: ...and this man [was] very rich [lit., great]. For a man to have a house in one place, but have a business venture elsewhere made him a very rich person. Because he was rich, people thought of him as being great.


1Samuel 25:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

tsôn (ןאֹצ) [pronounced tzohn]

small cattle, sheep and goats, flock, flocks

feminine singular collective noun

Strong’s #6629 BDB #838

shelôshâh (הָשֹלש) [pronounced shiloh-SHAW]

a three, a trio, a triad, a threesome

feminine numeral construct

Strong’s #7969 BDB #1025.

eleph (ף ל א) pronounced EH-lef]

thousand, families, (500?); military units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

eleph (ף ל א) pronounced EH-lef]

thousand, families, (500?); military units

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

׳êz (ז̤ע) [pronounced ģayz]

she-goat; in the plural, it can mean goats’ hair

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #5795 BDB #777


Translation: And he had [lit., to him] 3000 sheep and 1000 goats. His balance sheet is given to us, just in case we did not recognize how wealthy he is. Interestingly enough, sheep is used in the Hebrew as we use it in the English—as a collective plural; and goats is also used in the Hebrew as we use it in the English—as a simple plural noun.


If the numbers are to be believed elsewhere in Scripture, Nabal was a mid-sized rancher. To get a feel for the number of sheep that ancient ranchers had, may I offer you...

Sheep Ranching in the Bible

Scripture

Rancher

1Sam. 25:2

Nabal has 3000 sheep and 1000 goats.

1Kings 8:62–63

At the opening of the Temple, Solomon offers 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. This does not mean that this came from the king’s personal stash of cattle. No doubt, this refers to the animals which the people of Israel offer with Solomon.

2Kings 3:4

Mesha, the king of Moab, has to pay the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wood of 100,000 sheep in subordination to Israel. The fact that he is called a sheep breeder in this passage suggests even that these could have come from his extensive flocks (which he originally culled from his own people, to be sure).

Job 1:3 42:12

When Job was restored, he had 14,000 sheep, 6000 camels, 1000 oxen and 1000 female donkeys, which represents an exact doubling of his original fortune.

This was more or less taken from The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times; Ralph Gower; ©1987 by Moody International; Ⓟ by Moody Press; p. 143.


1Samuel 25:2e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

gâzaz (ז-זָ) [pronounced gaw-ZAHZ]

to cut [hay]; to shear [a flock]

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #1494 BDB #159

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

tsôn (ןאֹצ) [pronounced tzohn]

small cattle, sheep and goats, flock, flocks

feminine singular collective noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6629 BDB #838

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

Karemel (ל∵מר-) [pronounced kahre-MEL]

garden, plantation and is transliterated Carmel

proper noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3760 BDB #502


Translation: And [the following] came to pass [lit., was] as [he] sheared his sheep in Carmel: the events which follow occurred while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel (while Nabal was on the job).


Interestingly enough, Scripture records two incidents of sheep shearing: Gen. 38:12-13 2Sam. 13:23-24. This is the time when the labors of the sheep owner come to fruition. Once the sheep are shorn, the wool will be sold or traded, and that will represent the profits of this particular business man.


And a name of the man, Nabal and a name of his woman, Abigail. And the woman, pleasant understanding and beautiful of figure; and the man severe and evil of deeds. And he a Calebite.

1Samuel

25:3

The name of the man [is] Nabal and the name of his wife [is] Abigail. The woman [was] of good understanding with a beautiful figure; while [lit., and] then man [was] harsh and practiced evil [lit., (was) evil of deeds]. He [was] a Calebite [i.e., a dog].

The man’s name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. His wife was very intelligent and attractive whereas the man was harsh and severe and he made a practice of doing evil. He was from the tribe of Caleb.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife was Abigail; and she was a beautiful woman, and of a beautiful countenance; but the man Nabal was harsh and evil in his doings, and like a dog.

Septuagint                             And the man’s name, Nabal; and his wife’s name, Abigaia; and his wife [was] of good understanding and very beautiful in person; but the man [was] harsh and evil in his doing, and the man [was] churlish.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       [Nabal was a very rich man who lived in Maon. He owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, which he kept at Carmel. His wife Abigail was sensible and beautiful, but he was from the Caleb clan and was rough and mean]. [vv. 2–3 are combined].

The Message                         The man's name was Nabal (Fool), a Calebite, and his wife's name was Abigail. The woman was intelligent and good-looking, the man brutish and mean.

NLB                                       This man’s name was Nabal, and his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was mean and dishonest in all his dealings.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         This man's name was Nabal, and his wife's name was Abigail. She was sensible and beautiful, but he was harsh and mean. He was a descendant of Caleb.

JPS (Tanakh)                        The man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was a hard man and an evildoer.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible   Now ║the name of the man║ was Nabal, and ║the name of his wife║ Abigail, —and ║the woman║ was of good understanding and of beautiful figure, —but ║the man║ was unfeeling and of evil practices and he was a Calebite.

Young's Literal Translation    And the name of the man is Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail, and the woman is of good understanding, and of fair form, and the man is hard and evil in doings; and he is a Calebite.


What is the gist of this verse? Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, is a rat bastard and his wife Abigail is his polar opposite.


1Samuel 25:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615


Translation: The name of the man [is] Nabal... At this point, we get to know who our principal characters are. There is first the man, whose name is Nabal. There are occasions in Scripture where I don’t think the actual name of the person is recorded, but more his essence. I believe that is what we have here. Nabal means fool, and Nabal was an ass and a jerk. God the Holy Spirit could have determined that it would not be worth the trouble to record this man’s actual name. For principal of narrative, we will simply refer to him as the ass. However, Nabal’s actual name was certainly at least very close to the word foolish, given what his wife, Abigail will say about him in v. 25. Now, of course, the simplest explanation is that Nabal was his name, although we do not know why his parents chose to give him that name. Another explanation is, this is how he became to be known, because of his stupidity. Perhaps Nabal was a play on his actual name (various authors suggest several different scenarios).


1Samuel 25:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #802 BDB #61

ăbîygayil (ל̣י-גי.בֲא) [pronounced ab-vee-GAH-yil]

my father is joy (or, joyous); or my father’s joy; and is transliterated Abigail

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #26 BDB #4


Translation: ...and the name of his wife [is] Abigail. The wife of this jerk had the name Abigail. This was her actual name and it means my father is joy or my father is joyous or my father’s joy (the latter seeming to be a very apropos name given by a father to his daughter). Quite obviously, when Abigail was born, her father was extremely joyous to have a daughter. Now, this goes against the custom of the ancient world, where sons seemed to be over-valued. However, the father looks at this little girl and he was overjoyed; he was happy and blessed to have a little girl. This would indicate that he took great care in bringing this girl up from a baby into adulthood.


1Samuel 25:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #802 BDB #61

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better

feminine singular adjective construct which often acts like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

sekel (ל∵כ∵) [pronounced SEH-kel]

understanding, intelligence, prudence, insight; cunning

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7922 BDB #968


Translation: The woman [was] of good understanding... The first thing that we are told about Abigail is that she was a woman of good understanding; or, that she was pleasant yet understanding and insightful. In any case, she was a woman of intelligence.


1Samuel 25:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yâpheh (ה∵פָי) [pronounced yaw-FEH]

fair, beautiful

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #3303 BDB #421

tôar (ר ַאֹ) [pronounced TOH-ahr]

a striking figure, an eye-catching form, a form which stands out, which catches your eye, which gets your attention; a form

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #8389 BDB #1061


Translation: ...with a beautiful figure;... Abigail also has a beautiful, striking figure. The person who recounted this at some point in time (probably David) was struck immediately by her attractive figure. In fact, it was so attractive that he just had to tell us about it.


1Samuel 25:3e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

qâsheh (השָק) [pronounced kaw-SHEH]

hard, severe, difficult, fierce, intense, vehement, stiff, harsh, stubborn

adjective

Strong’s #7186 BDB #904

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ra׳ (ע ַר) [pronounced rahģ]

evil, bad, wicked; evil in appearance, deformed; disagreeable, displeasing; unhappy, unfortunate; sad

adjective; a masculine singular construct

Strong’s #7451 BDB #948

ma׳ălîyl (לי ̣לֱע ַמ) [pronounced mah-ģa-LEEL]

acts, deeds, practices

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #4611 BDB #760


Translation: ...while [lit., and] the man [was] harsh and practiced evil [lit., (was) evil of deeds]. Nabal is pretty much the polar opposite of Abigail. He was harsh and severe. That means, he lacked compassion. It was his way or the highway. How others felt and thought was really unimportant. He had things that he wanted in life, and he went out and got them, others be damned. The needs of others are not his concern. They can look out after themselves; and if their needs or desires conflicted with his, then his would supplant theirs.

 

Gill comments that Nabal is morose and ill natured in the temper and disposition of his mind, and wicked in his conversation, and fraudulent and oppressive in his dealings with men. Footnote


Furthermore, this is a man of evil. He practiced evil. He did evil. He did that which was wrong. In order to satisfy his own desires, Nabal would do anything. If doing this wrong or that gained him an extra dollar in his checking account, then he was all for that. He didn’t mind screwing someone else, if the end result was that he was richer.


You may wonder, what happened that this extremely intelligent and wonderful woman ended up with a jerk like Nabal. Look around you—it happens all the time.


1Samuel 25:3f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

Kâlibbîy (י.̣לָ) [pronounced kaw-lib-BEE]

dog; transliterated Calebite

adjective singular gentis

Strong’s #3614 BDB #477

Rotherham devotes a suprising amount of discussion to this word here. What he discusses in a footnote is, is this a reference to being a Calebite or to being doggish? Remember that the temperament of dogs at that time was much different than it is now. That is, you may think of the loyalty and gentleness of a Black Lab whereas, the ancient world dog may have been more akin to a rottweiler, pit bull or chow. The key here is actually the vowel points, something added hundreds of years after this was written. The Septuagint, Syriac and Arabic render this doggish; the Aramaic and Vulgate render this as Calebite; the Hebrew manuscripts are found both ways, and some are written one way, but read the other. Of course, commentators lean both ways as well.

From the standpoint of textual criticism, one would not want the name of Caleb besmirched; choosing (not necessarily changing) particular vowel points gives us doggish instead, thus casting no stain upon Caleb’s name. However, this was an issue so far removed from the original writing that it would be a difficult call.

What we do not find here is a son of (which means, a descendent of). This would suggest doggish; but it would not preclude Nabal from being a Calebite. Furthermore, Carmel is actually very close to where Caleb originally settled (Joshua 14). What we find often in Scripture are plays on words; so, this would allow for Nabal to be a Calebite and to be simultaneously described as being a dog. This is the usage that I would go with. It may seem as though I am straddling both sides of the fence here, but given the many times Biblical authors are playful with the language (see v. 25), such a position is not only valid but likely.


Translation: He [was] a Calebite [i.e., a dog]. Now, for the final contrast: Nabal was a descendant of Caleb. Caleb was a man of great character and faith. Caleb was the number 2 man next to Joshua. Had Joshua not been around, Moses would have selected Caleb to follow in his footsteps and to lead Israel. However, Nabal was more of a dog, a creature which was hated in the ancient world.


V. 3 is an example of inverted parallelism. Footnote

The Introverted Parallelism of 1Sam. 25:3

The name of the man [is] Nabal

and the name of his wife [is] Abigail.

The woman [was] of good understanding with a beautiful figure;

while [lit., and] then man [was] harsh and practiced evil [lit., (was) evil of deeds].

He [was] a Calebite [i.e., a dog].

This is one of the many times in Scripture that we find this structure.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


David Sends Men to Nabal to Collect for Their Protection of Nabal’s Enterprise


And so hears David in the wilderness that shearing Nabal his sheep.

1Samuel

25:4

[While] in the wilderness, David hears that Nabal is shearing his sheep.

While in the wilderness, David hears that Nabal is shearing his sheep.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And David heard in the wilderness, that Nabal the Carmelite was shearing his sheep.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       One day, Nabal was in Carmel, having his servants cut the wool from his sheep. David was in the desert when he heard about it.

The Message                         David, out in the backcountry, heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              And David hears in the wilderness that Nabal is shearing his flock,...


What is the gist of this verse? While David is in the wilderness [of Maon], he hears about Nabal shearing his sheep.


1Samuel 25:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen, to hear, to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and act upon, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and take note of, to listen and be cognizant of

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

midebâr (רָ ׃ד ̣מ) [pronounced mide-BAWR]

wilderness, unpopulated wilderness, desert wilderness

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4057 BDB #184


Translation: [While] in the wilderness, David hears... David is without any wealth or means of support; therefore, he keeps his ear close to the ground for opportunities; in this case, David is waiting to be paid for some work that he and his men have already done.


Now we only get part of the story here. In fact, throughout this chapter, it is easy to take one verse and misinterpret what is going on. The chapter must be taken as a whole, and each verse must be considered in its context and with the other verses. I have occasionally written a summary for a verse, or had an idea as to what was going on, and later had to revise when examining the other verses. As has been mentioned when I introduced this chapter is, some interpret this as some sort of a protection racket on David’s part. As we look at the first few verses, this is how it appears. Again, one must take the entirely of the chapter into consideration.


1Samuel 25:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

gâzaz (ז-זָ) [pronounced gaw-ZAHZ]

to shear

Qal active participle

Strong’s #1494 BDB #159

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

tsôn (ןאֹצ) [pronounced tzohn]

small cattle, sheep and goats, flock, flocks

feminine singular collective noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6629 BDB #838


Translation: ...that Nabal is shearing his sheep. At the end of a growing cycle, a farmer harvests his crops. This is after nearly a year’s worth of work, all of his labors come to fruition. The problem and risk here is that souls who are less industrious, may want to take advantage of the farmer and steal from him after all of the work has been done. With a sheepherder who sells his wool, the situation is similar. He cares for his sheep for a specific period of time, feeding them and tending to their needs, and then gives them all a haircut. That is the fruition of the shepherd’s labors. It is also the time when he is vulnerable to attack. In that day and age, it was like the armored car had shown up to haul the money from the bank. Just as a bank will hire private security guards, so an owner of sheep would hire security for himself—particularly during the shearing period. However, that David was hired is only implied in this chapter—it is never stated.


Now, what apparently has happened is that David guarded these sheep for the many months previous. Nabal apparently said, “David, you know I can’t pay you now; however, as soon as I sell the wool, you will be the first man paid.” So David is waiting for news that Nabal is shearing his sheep, so that he and his men can get their back wages.

 

Jamieson, et. al comment: David and his men lurked in these deserts, associating with the herdsmen and shepherds of Nabal and others and doing them good offices, probably in return for information and supplies obtained through them. Hence when Nabal held his annual sheep-shearing in Carmel, David felt himself entitled to share in the festival and sent a message, recounting his own services and asking for a present. "In all these particulars we were deeply struck with the truth and strength of the biblical description of manners and customs almost identically the same as they exist at the present day. On such a festive occasion, near a town or village, even in our own time, an Arab sheik of the neighboring desert would hardly fail to put in a word either in person or by message; and his message, both in form and substance, would be only a transcript of that of David" [ROBINSON].


Again, we are not completely positive of where David is. If the wilderness of Paran is understood to extend into southern Judah, David is perhaps 80–100 miles away from Nabal. However, if he and his men are in the wilderness of Maon, then he is only a morning’s ride from Nabal.


And so sends David ten young men and so says David to the young men, “Go up Carmel-ward and you have come in unto Nabal and you have asked for him in my name to peace.

1Samuel

25:5

Therefore [lit., then] David sent 10 young men and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel and when you have come to Nabal, ask about his welfare on my behalf [lit., ask in regards to him in my name with reference to peace].

Therefore, David sent ten of his young men, and he said to them, “Go up to Carmel and when you come to Nabal, ask about his welfare on my behalf.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And David sent ten young men, and he said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and ask him in my name concerning peace.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       So he sent ten men to Carmel with this message for Nabal: I hope that you and your family are healthy and that all is going well for you. [vv. 5–6 are combined].

The Message                         ...and sent ten of his young men off with these instructions: “Go to Carmel and approach Nabal. Greet him in my name, 'Peace!’

NJB                                        ...he sent ten young men, instructing them: “Go up to Carmel. Pay Nabal a visit and greet him in my name.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So David sent ten young men and told them, "Go to Carmel, visit Nabal, and greet him for me.

JPS (Tanakh)                        David dispatched ten young men, and David instructed the young men, “Go up to Carmel. When you come to Nabal, greet him in my name.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              ...and David sends ten young men, and David says to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and [when] you have come in unto Nabal, and asked of him in my name of [his] welfare,...


What is the gist of this verse? David sends ten of his men to contact Nabal.


1Samuel 25:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for, to send forth, to send away, to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

׳asârâh (הָרָ-ע) [pronounced ģah-saw-RAW]

ten

feminine numeral

Strong’s #6235 BDB #796

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654


Translation: Therefore [lit., then] David sent 10 young men... David was always looking for work; he was an enterprising young man, and this was on behalf of those who had come to him and put their trust in him. He hears about Nabal, who is a very successful rancher, and what David is going to do is solicit work on behalf of his men. So he chooses ten men to go to speak to Nabal.


You may ask, why is David sending ten men? Is this to intimidate Nabal? Of course not. If David wanted to intimidate Nabal, he would have gone with 100+ men and David would have been up in front. These men are merely collecting payment for what is owed them, and since the ancient world worked on trade, it would take ten men to carry back to camp all that they expected. One man could not have transported what was due David on his own. Even five men would be too few. Ten was just the right amount.


1Samuel 25:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654


Translation: ...and David said to the young men,... David does not send his men out without careful instructions. He is in a difficult position. He is still hiding out, to some degree from Saul (although he is enjoying a respite from that search due to the events of the previous chapter). So David can be a little more overt. However, he has to be careful, so when he sends these men out there, he is careful to send them out with instructions.


1Samuel 25:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to rise, to climb

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

Karemel (ל∵מר-) [pronounced kahre-MEL]

garden, plantation and is transliterated Carmel

proper noun with the directional hê

Strong’s #3760 BDB #502

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615


Translation: ...“Go up to Carmel and when you have come to Nabal,... David knows nothing about Nabal’s reputation; or, if he does, he has decided to not be influenced by the rumors. What we have so far in this chapter is what was known about Nabal after the fact. As far as David knows, Nabal is just another businessman who might be interested in some temporary labor.


It may be important to note that many crooked businessmen have marvelous personalities. This is how they are able to easily swindle so many people. They are able to project often what we want to see. So, if David and Nabal had a face to face meeting, then it would be reasonable to assume Nabal charmed David and got David’s guard down.


Secondly, from the second verse on, you may have wondered, “How does a beautiful and intelligent woman like Abigail get hooked up with a guy like Nabal?” First off, it happens all the time, even in modern society. If Nabal is both successful and charming, and able to keep his true nature hidden, he could have snagged a woman like Abigail, even though she may have felt that she was getting a good deal when they got married.


1Samuel 25:5d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâal (ל ַא ָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask, to petition, to request, to inquire; to demand; to question, to interrogate

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâlôwm (םל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LOHM]

completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, safe, secure, tranquil, undisturbed, unagitated

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7965 BDB #1022


Translation: ...ask about his welfare on my behalf [lit., in regards to him in my name with reference to peace]. David has a reputation. He is also temporarily safe from Saul, which makes him more bankable. The ten men are to begin with a standard greeting and this is one to inquire as to Nabal’s welfare from David. Therefore, these ten men function more or less as David’s emissaries or ambassadors.


Again, it appears as though David is contacting Nabal after the fact—that is, that David supplied protection without being asked, and now is sending men to collect. This is not the case, something which will be discussed later in this chapter, once we put all of the facts together.


And you have said thus, ‘To the life and you peace and your house peace and all which to you peace.

1Samuel

25:6

And you will say this [lit., thus], ‘Peace to [your] life and you; peace [to] your house, and peace [to] all that is yours [lit., (is) to you].

Then you will say this to him, “Peace to your life and to you; peace to your house and peace to all that is yours.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And you will say thus, “May you and your house seasonally prosper, and all yours be in health.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       So he sent ten men to Carmel with this message for Nabal: I hope that you and your family are healthy and that all is going well for you. [vv. 5–6 are combined].

The Message                         Life and peace to you. Peace to your household, peace to everyone here!


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Say to him, ‘May you live long! May you, your home, and all you have prosper!

JPS (Tanakh)                        Say as follows: ‘To life! Greetings to you and to your household.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              ...and said thus: ‘To life! And you, peace; and your house, peace; and all that you have—peace!


What is the gist of this verse? David’s greeting was ingratiating. He wishes peace and prosperity to Nabal and his entire house.


1Samuel 25:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

kôh (הֹ) [pronounced koh]

so, thus, here, hence

adverb

Strong’s #3541 BDB #462


Translation: And you will say this [lit., thus],... David is not haphazard in his instructions. He does not want to appear untoward. The men which he sends, he instructs carefully. He tells them exactly what to say.


1Samuel 25:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

chay (י ַח) [pronounced KHAH-ee]

living, alive

adjective with the definite article; pausal form

Strong's #2416 BDB #311

Keil and Delitzsch actually spend some time examining the lâmed preposition and chay together, concluding that the meaning is obscure, and suggesting long life or good fortune to you might be the proper understandings of this word. Footnote

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

shâlôwm (םל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LOHM]

completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, safe, secure, tranquil, undisturbed, unagitated

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7965 BDB #1022


Translation: ...‘Peace to [your] life and you;... David’s men are first to wish peace and prosperity to Nabal and to his life. The idea is, David is concerned for his welfare.


1Samuel 25:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

shâlôwm (םל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LOHM]

completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, safe, secure, tranquil, undisturbed, unagitated

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7965 BDB #1022


Translation: ...peace [to] your house,... David also tells his men to wish peace and prosperity to Nabal’s estate. This would include Nabal’s family, his house, his servants, and his general estate.


1Samuel 25:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kôl ăsher mean all whom, whomever, all whose, all where, wherever.

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâlôwm (םל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LOHM]

completeness, soundness, welfare, peace, safe, secure, tranquil, undisturbed, unagitated

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7965 BDB #1022


Translation: ...and peace [to] all that is yours [lit., (is) to you]. Finally, David wishes peace to everything that belongs to Nabal. The idea is, if David missed anything in the previous quote, he is making up for it here.


And now I have heard that those shearing for you; now the ones shepherding which [are] to you have been with us—we did not reproach [or, injure] them and had not lacked to them anything all days of their being in the Carmel.

1Samuel

25:7

And now I have heard that you have sheep-shearers [lit., that (there are) sheep-shearers for you]; now, when your shepherds [lit., the ones shepherding which (are) to you] were with us, we did not reproach [shame or injure] them they lacked not one thing [lit., nothing (was) lacking to them] all the days they were in Carmel.

I have recently heard that you now how some sheep-shearers gathering at your ranch. Now, when your shepherd were with us, we did not reproach or harm them and they lacked not one thing while they were in Carmel.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 Your shepherds were with us and we did not harm them, and they did not miss anything all the time they were in Carmel.

Septuagint                             And now, behold, I have heard that your shepherd who were with us in the wilderness are shearing you sheep; and we did not hinder them; neither did we demand anything from them all the time they were in Carmel.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       I've heard that you are cutting the wool from your sheep. When your shepherds were with us in Carmel, we didn't harm them, and nothing was ever stolen from them.

The Message                         I heard that it's sheep-shearing time. Here's the point: When your shepherds were camped near us we didn't take advantage of them. They didn't lose a thing all the time they were with us in Carmel.

NLT                                        I am told that you are shearing your sheep and goats. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         I hear that your sheepshearers are with you. Your shepherds have been with us, and we have not mistreated them. Nothing of theirs has been missing as long as they've been in Carmel.

JPS (Tanakh)                        I hear that you are now doing you shearing. As you know, your shepherds have been with us; we did not harm them, an nothing of theirs was missing all the time they were in Carmel.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                I have heard that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing, all the time they were in Carmel.

Updated Emphasized Bible   ║Now║ therefore, I have heard that you have shearers, —

Well, ║the shepherds that you have║ have been with us,

We reproached them not,

Neither did they miss anything.

 

NASB                                     ‘And ow I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel.

Young's Updated LT              And, now, I have heard that you have shearers; now, the shepherds whom you have been with us, we have not put them to shame, nor has anything been looked after by them, all the days of their being in Carmel.


What is the gist of this verse? David says that he hears that Nabal has brought in his shearers. When David’s men acted as protection for Nabal’s shepherds, all went well while they were in Carmel.


This verse is the key to this entire passage. Misread it is to misinterpret the entire passage.


1Samuel 25:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen, to hear, to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and act upon, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and take note of, to listen and be cognizant of

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

gâzaz (ז-זָ) [pronounced gaw-ZAHZ]

to shear

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #1494 BDB #159

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: And now I have heard that you have sheep-shearers [lit., that (there are) sheep-shearers for you];... Here is where you must read this passage carefully; here and in the next portion of this verse. David tells Nabal that he knows that he is shearing the sheep. This means that, it is payday for Nabal; and it is time to settle his previous debts. David has heard that Nabal has hired some sheep shearers, meaning that he is about to bring all of his ranching efforts to fruition for this season. Just recognize the simple fact that sheep shearers are not the same as the shepherds. Different words and very different functions.


1Samuel 25:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

râ׳âh (ה ָעָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAWH]

shepherding, tending [a flock]; a shepherd, one who tends sheep

masculine plural, Qal active participle with the definite article

Strong’s #7462 BDB #944

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

kâlam (םַלָ) [pronounced kaw-LAHM]

to put someone to shame, to reproach, to treat shamefully, to disgrace; to injure, to hurt some one

1st person plural, Hiphil imperfect with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #3637 BDB #483


Translation: ...now, when your shepherds [lit., the ones shepherding which (are) to you] were with us,... All that Nabal has for a very short time will be vulnerable. But, it does not compare to the time that David and his men had already spent with Nabal’s sheep while they were being shepherded in Carmel. The shearing and selling of the wool may take a few days at most. However, David has already provided a season’s worth of protection for Nabal. Now, he wants to be paid for that.


Here is what happened; Nabal hired David’s men to protect his flocks while they were in Carmel. David and his men did. Then Nabal told David, “Look, I don’t have my profits yet from these sheep. Wait until the week that I shear them, and come by then for your paychecks.” What these men were to do, going with David’s words, was to gently remind Nabal of his previous obligations.


1Samuel 25:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

pâqad (ד ַק ָ) [pronounced paw-FAHD]

to be sought, missed, to be lacking, visited, to be visited upon, to be appointed

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong's #6485 BDB #823

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

preposition with the 3rd person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

meûwmâh (הָמא מ) [pronounced me-oo-MAW]

 anything, and it is usually found in negative sentences; therefore, with the negative, it is often rendered nothing

indefinite singular pronoun/adverb

Strong’s #3972 BDB #548

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

Together, kôl + yâmîym can mean in all time, all the time, perpetually, forever, always.

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

Karemel (ל∵מר-) [pronounced kahre-MEL]

garden, plantation and is transliterated Carmel

proper noun with the directional hê

Strong’s #3760 BDB #502


Translation: ...we did not reproach [shame or injure] them they lacked not one thing [lit., nothing (was) lacking to them] all the days they were in Carmel. Now David makes his point: he and his men, seen by some as a gathering of reprobates and malcontents, were spending time in the same general area as Nabal’s shepherds; however, David’s men never reproached, shamed or injured Nabal’s shepherds all the time that they were in Carmel. Furthermore, not one of their personal items ever turned up missing. That is, David’s men did not steal into the shepherds’ camp and take their food or supplies. What is apparently the case, David and his men provided hired protection for Nabal. They just were not in the same geographical area by coincidence. David’s men had protected Nabal’s sheep for a season; and this is a gentle reminder of that. David is simply asking for Nabal to share some of the wealth, an appropriate amount for the protection which David rendered.

 

Clarke comments: It is most evident that David had a claim upon Nabal, for very essential services performed to his herdmen at Carmel. He not only did them no hurt, and took none of their flocks for the supply of his necessities, but he protected them from the rapacity of others; they were a Wall unto us, said Nabal’s servants, both by night and day. In those times, and to the present day, wandering hordes of Arabs, under their several chiefs, think they have a right to exact contributions of provisions, etc., wherever they come; David had done nothing of this kind, but protected them against those who would. Footnote

 

Gill says about the same thing: [David’s men] did not steal a sheep or lamb from them, as was common for soldiers to do; nor did they allow any of the Arabs to rob them—these Arabs who lived in the wilderness of Paran, who lived upon plunder. Furthermore, David kept Nabal’s sheep safe from the wild beasts who hurt them. David’s men were a wall unto them by night and day, as Nabal's servants reported to Abigail (1Sam.25:16). Footnote


You have to understand the mental state of the ancient soldier. They were paid in what they took during a battle. If they wanted this or that from an enemy, they just took it. If they saw a woman they wanted, they raped her or they took her with. So, David’s men exercised great restraint when they were around Nabal’s shepherds. What they could have taken from Nabal would have been far greater than what they would have been paid. However, their behavior was honorable and impeccable.


I want you to understand something here: I am not an apologist for David. When David is wrong—and he is many times in Scripture—I will properly castigate him (not to ever imply that I would have been better under the same circumstances). However, on the other hand, when David is righteous in his actions, I am not about to sully his name. Here, David begins by being righteous, but he does fall out of fellowship part-way through this chapter because of the mental attitude sin anger (in v. 13).


Ask your young men and they will make [this] known to you. And find the young men grace in your [two] eyes for on a day good we have come [or, (is to us)]. Give please that finds your hand to your servants and to your son, to David.”

1Samuel

25:8

Ask your young men [about these things] and they will confirm what I have told you [lit., make known to you]. Furthermore [let] the young men find grace in your eyes on [this] good day we have come, then please give whatever your hand finds to your servants even to your son, David.”

Ask your young men about these things and they will confirm what we have told you. Furthermore, if these young men have found grace in your sight on this good day that we have come, then please give them whatever you feel is appropriate, in appreciation for our service and for your son, David.”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             Ask your servants, and they will tell you. Let then your servants find grace in your eyes, for we are come on a good day. Give, we pray you, whatever your had may find, to your son David.


 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Ask your shepherds, and they'll tell you the same thing. My servants are your servants, and you are like a father to me. This is a day for celebrating, so please be kind and share some of your food with us.

The Message                         Ask your young men--they'll tell you. What I'm asking is that you be generous with my men--share the feast! Give whatever your heart tells you to your servants and to me, David your son.’ ”

NAB                                       As your servants and they will tell you so. Look kindly on these yong men, since w come at a festival time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can manage.’ ”

NLT                                        As your own servants, and they will tell you this is true. So would you please be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please give us any provisions you might have on hand.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Ask your young men, and let them tell you. Be kind to my young men, since we have come on a special occasion. Please give us and your son David anything you can spare.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Ask your young men and they will tell you. So receive these young men graciously, for we have come on a festive occasion. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can.’ ”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              “Ask your young men, and they declare to you, and the young men find grace in your eyes, for on a good day we have come; give, I pray you, that which your hand finds, to your servants, and to your son, to David.”


What is the gist of this verse? At this point, Nabal has money, because he is shearing his sheep, and David sends his men there to collect on a debt for handling security while Nabal’s sheep grazed in Carmel.


1Samuel 25:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

shâal (ל ַא ָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask, to petition, to request, to inquire; to demand; to question, to interrogate

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: Ask your young men [about these things] and they will confirm what I have told you [lit., make known to you]. The information which David is conveying through his 10 young men is accurate and can be verified by Nabal’s men. All he has to do is ask them, and they will confirm all that David has said to them.


Now, if this was some kind of scam, if David were running a protection racket rather than a valid security force, then Nabal’s young men would have reported that. They would have said, “Hey, David’s men showed up on occasion, talked a lot of trash, but really provided no real protection except from themselves.” However, David knows that this will not be how his job will be reviewed. Those who were in the field day-by-day could testify to to the competence of David and his men. David also mentions this because Nabal wasn’t there all of the time. He lived in Maon, but kept the ranch in Carmel. Therefore, he did not live on the ranch and possibly visited this place of business only infrequently. And there is reasonable evidence to suggest that there was a mutual contract agreed to by both parties.


1Samuel 25:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

chên (ן ̤ח) [pronounced khayn]

grace, favor, blessing

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2580 BDB #336

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

׳êynayim (ם̣יַני̤ע) [pronounced ģay-nah-YIM]

spring, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes, spring

feminine dual noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

This can be rendered, in your estimation, in your opinion, to your way of thinking.


Translation: Furthermore [let] the young men find grace in your eyes... Now David asks Nabal for a favor. Nabal has looked these young men over; they have provided a service, and David is asking that Nabal take this into consideration.


I want you to notice the deference and politeness we find here. David does not say, “Bill’s past due; you’ve got money; now pay us.” This is how we conduct business today in modern American. We only do business by signing contracts that only lawyers understand, and are more than willing to argue about for vast sums of money. There, they had a handshake deal. Their honor was in the handshake.


1Samuel 25:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better

feminine singular adjective construct which often acts like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s# none BDB #88

Instead of in us, there is the alternate readings of we come. The difference is a missing aleph (found in the second reading and lacking in the first). .

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97


Translation: ...on [this] good day we have come,... David asks for Nabal to consider this on this good day that these men of David’s have arrived. It is a good day for Nabal, because he is having his sheep sheared and he will reap some serious profit. He now has the money to pay David for services rendered.


We find this sort of thing in business all of the time. A business might order supplies or raw materials, but be billed for these purchases, only to pay on those bills once they have garnered some profits. As a matter of fact, many business depend upon this sort of arrangement where they have a month’s time to make good on the items that they have purchases. Therefore, the idea that David was willing to forgo payment until Nabal turned a profit is a common practice today and not a reason to misunderstand what is here.


1Samuel 25:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative with the voluntative hê

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

together, they mean how, that which, what, whatever; whom, whomever

untranslated mark of a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

2nd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

Three early printed editions have servant instead. Footnote This would give us, to your servant, even to your son David. The ancient translations have this in the plural, along with the MT.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: ...[then] please give whatever your hand finds to your servants even to your son, David. The grammar of this sentence means that, when Nabal pays these servants, he will have paid David. David has apparently already performed this service and he is asking for remuneration. The implication is that his men are still available for service. Again, notice that David does not suggest that his men collect this money with harshness or rancor (“Isn’t it about damn time you paid us, Nabal?”); they do so with polite deference.


Application: Running a good business does not preclude manners, deference or decorum. I have always flown on various American airlines companies, and have been given reasonably polite service. Things were not perfect, but the companies often seemed parsimonious to me. However, I recently flew on Korean Air and was struck by the marked differences. The service was much better, I never felt as though they were trying to cut corners. Their manners, deference and decorum made the flight a delightful experience (as delightful as 12 hours can be inside the same airplane). It also gave me the impression, if no corners were cut inside the cabin, then their were probably no corners cut in other areas (e.g., maintenance).


Application: Speaking of business, and given that we will run into this issue soon, there is no justification for questionable practices in business. Profit should not be the bottom line. Crushing all competition by any means possible should not be the motto and mission statement of any company. Whereas, there is nothing wrong with a company turning a profit, even a large profit, there is everything wrong with shady business practices and immoral competitive tactics. The bottom line should never justify wrong or evil business ethics.

 

What David’s men should have expected is to be invited to the feast in progress, and then to be sent packing with a generous assortment of whatever Nabal had that he could pay them with. As Gill writes: a day in which Nabal made a feast for his shearers, as was usual then, and still is, (see 2Sam. 13:23); and at such times as persons are generally cheerful and merry, so free and liberal, and as there were plenty of provisions, not only enough for the guests and shearers, but to spare, and there was no need for an increase of expense, it might upon the whole be concluded it was a proper time for David to apply for accommodations for himself and his men. Footnote


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Nabal Refuses to Pay David’s Men/David Vows Revenge


And so come in men of David and so they speak unto Nabal as all of the words the these in a name of David and so they rest.

1Samuel

25:9

Then men of David came [to Nabal] and they spoke to Nabal according to all these words on behalf of David [lit., in David’s name] and then they waited [lit., rested].

Then men then went to Nabal and said these things on behalf of David and then waited.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             So the servants come and speak these words to Nabal, according to all these words in the name of David.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       David's men went to Nabal and gave him David's message, then they waited for Nabal's answer.

The Message                         David's young men went and delivered his message word for word to Nabal. Nabal tore into them,...

NLT                                        David’s young men gave this message to Nabal and waited for his reply.

REB                                       David’s servants came and delivered this message to Nabal in David’s name. When they paused,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         When David's young men came to Nabal, they repeated all of this to him for David, and then they waited.

JPS (Tanakh)                        David’s young men went and delivered this message to Nabal in the name of David. When they stopped speaking,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Literal Translation    And the young men of David come in, and speak unto Nabal according to all these words, in the name of David—and rest.


What is the gist of this verse? David’s servants do exactly as David had instructed them, they deliver David’s message to Nabal and then wait for his answer (and, presumably for him to cut them a check).


1Samuel 25:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: Then men of David came [to Nabal]... David’s men then went to Nabal, as they had been instructed by David. Again, although it is possible that they went from a camp in Paran to Maon, that would have been a long journey of several days.


1Samuel 25:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

dâbar (ר ַב ָד) [pronounced dawb-VAHR]

to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce

3rd person masculine plural, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #1696 BDB #180

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Ke kôl (לֹ ׃) appear to mean according to all, just as all, exactly as all. The idea is that they said to Nabal exactly that which David had instructed them.

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

words, sayings, doctrines, commands; things, matters, reports

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

êlleh (ה  ֵא) [pronunced KEHLleh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural adjective with the definite article

Strong's #428 BDB #41

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s# none BDB #88

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

 

Translation: ...and they spoke to Nabal according to all these words on behalf of David [lit., in David’s name]... The ten young men said exactly to Nabal as David had instructed them; this is what ke kôl (לֹ ׃) appear to mean together. They spoke on behalf of David (or, in his name).


1Samuel 25:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nûwach (ַחנ) [pronounced NOO-ahkh]

rest, cause to rest, to be at rest, set down, lay down, deposit, leave

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5117 (and #3240) BDB #628


Translation: ...and then they waited [lit., rested]. Apparently, Nabal did not answer them right away. In fact, their message was probably actually delivered to one of Nabal’s underlings, who took the message in to Nabal while these ten men rested outside, after their long ride. Footnote And, yes, I am aware that it says here that they spoke to Nabal; however, that does not preclude them talking from someone in Nabal’s front office. Apparently, they had to wait for some time. Finally, Nabal stepped out from his office (his home) to speak to them personally.


And so answers Nabal servants of David and so he says, “Who [is] David? And who [is] a son of Jesse? The day have become great in number servants the ones breaking away a man from faces of his master.

1Samuel

25:10

Nabal then answered David’s servants, saying, “Who [is] David? Who [is this] son of Jesse? Today, servants have become numerous, [those] ones breaking away from their master [lit., a man from his master].

Nabal then answered David’s servants, saying, “Just who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? There are innumerable servants nowadays breaking away from their masters.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And Nabal sprang up, and answered the servants of David, and said, “Who [is] David? And who [is] the son of Jessæ? Nowadays, there is an abundance of servants who depart every one from his master.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       This is what he said: Who does this David think he is? That son of Jesse is just one more slave on the run from his master, and there are too many of them these days.

The Message                         ...”Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? The country is full of runaway servants these days.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Who is David?” Nabal answered David's servants. “Who is Jesse's son? So many servants nowadays are leaving their masters.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              And Nabal answers the servants of David and says, “Who is David, and who the son of Jesse? Today have servants been multiplied who are breaking away each from his master;.


What is the gist of this verse? Nabal comes out and disparages the idea of giving anything to these men. He asks, “Who is this David?” and then adds, “There are so many men today who have broken away from their masters.”


1Samuel 25:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187


Translation: Nabal then answered David’s servants, saying, “Who [is] David? Nabal makes David’s servants stand around for awhile and then he asks, “Just who is this David?” This means, more or less, who does this David fellow think he is? Nabal knows exactly who David is. In a crowd of a thousand men, Nabal could have probably picked David out. We have good reason to believe that a fair and legal contract, albeit oral, was negotiated between them. Nabal is making a subtle point—actually two points.


1Samuel 25:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yîshay (י ָש̣י) [pronounced yee-SHAH-ee]

transliterated Jesse

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3448 BDB #445


Translation: Who [is this] son of Jesse? This is an extremely interesting question. David did not identify himself as the son of Jesse. He told his servants exactly what to say, and they repeated it. There are a couple of options here: (1) David did identify himself as the son of Jesse; (2) the servants embellished his words; (3) Nabal did know who he was. David has already placed his parents in the protective custody of the king of Moab, so it would be less likely for him to refer to himself as Jesse’s son. The idea is to keep his parents safe, and that would involve maintaining a distance from them. The second option, that David’s servants added to his words is also unlikely; David no doubt chose them for their reliability and tactfulness. Therefore, they would have gone along with anything that David instructed them to do. The latter option is the most likely. Nabal is going on and on about, “Just who the hell is David?” but he knows who David is. He knows exactly who David is and all about him, including the name of his father. Knowing this, Nabal knows David’s reputation as well. The key here is, Nabal does know who David is. He is not pretending that he doesn’t.


1Samuel 25:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

râbab (בַבָר) [pronounced rawb-VAHBV]

to become many, to become great in number, to be great in number, to be increased

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #7231 BDB #912

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

pârats (ץַרָ) [pronounced paw-RATS]

to break off, to separate oneself [from anyone]

masculine plural, Hithpael participle with the definite article

Strong’s #6555 BDB #829

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, mipânîym mean from before your face, out from before your face, from one’s presence. However, together, they can also be a reference to the cause, whether near or remote, and can therefore be rendered because of, because that.

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10


Translation: Today, servants have become numerous, [those] ones breaking away from their master [lit., a man from his master]. What Nabal is saying is, there are tons of slaves who have broken away from their masters; how can I possibly keep track of all of them? The slave here, of course is David, and his master is Saul. David is spoken of as one of the many slaves who escaped from his master. But what is Nabal implying? He is saying that David is a fugitive. He should be under the control of his master. However, he is saying this in such a way as to imply, “I don’t know who this David ben Jesse is, so I could not report him (but, I really do know who he is, and if pushed, I will report his whereabouts to Saul).”


Do you see what Nabal is doing? He acts as though he has no idea who David is, because so many slaves have escaped their masters. But he calls David the son of Jesse, which indicates, “I know damn well who he is.” The remark about slaves breaking away from their masters is a subtle threat that Nabal might consider turning David in. All of this is done with the most subtle nuance of language.

 

Nabal is not only speaking of David, but also of these ten men and the others who have joined David. As Gill points out, not only had David escaped his master (Saul), but he had also received and protected fugitives and renegades, such as fled from their masters and from their creditors (see 1Sam. 22:2). Footnote


And I have taken my bread and my waters and my slaughtered meat which I have slaughtered for my shearers and I have given to men who I do not know where from here those.”

1Samuel

25:11

I will take my bread and my water and my meat which I had slaughtered for my shearers, and then give this to men that I don’t [even] know where they came from?”

So, I should take my bread and my water and the meat which I prepared for my shearers and then just give this to men whose origins I cannot even verify?”


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And should I take my bread, and my wine, and my slaying that I have slain for them that shear my sheep and should I give them to men of whom I know not from where they are?

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       What makes you think I would take my bread, my water, and the meat that I've had cooked for my own servants and give it to you? Besides, I'm not sure that David sent you!

The Message                         Do you think I'm going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheepshearers and give it to men I've never laid eyes on? Who knows where they've come from?”

NLT                                        Should I take my bread and water and the meat I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?’


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Should I take my bread, my water, and my meat that I butchered for my shearers and give them to men coming from who knows where?”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              ...and I have taken my bread, and my water, and my flesh, which I slaughtered for my shearers, and have given it to men whom I have not known from where they are!”.


What is the gist of this verse? Nabal adds, “Should I give this food and meat which is for my shearers and just give it to men whose origins are suspect?”


Nabal’s answer indicates that Nabal has given this some thought. He has already determined how he will deal with the request from David, which we just covered, and he gives these ten men the coup de grace here.


1Samuel 25:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

lechem (םחל) [pronounced LEH-khem]

literally means bread; used more generally for food

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #3899 BDB #536

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mayim (ם̣יַמ) [pronounced MAH-yim]

water, waters

masculine plural noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #4325 BDB #565

This is wine in the Greek. We will later find out that Nabal throws a party with copious amounts of alcohol. However, this does not mean that he would mention alcohol here.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ţibvechâh (הָחב̣ט) [pronounced tibv-KHAW]

a slaying of cattle; a slaughterhouse; a thing slaughtered, a slaughter, a slaughtered meat

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #2878 BDB #370

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

ţâbvach (ח-בָט) [pronounced tawb-VAHKH]

to kill or slaughter [cattle], to butcher [animals]; to kill or slay [men]; used figuratively to slaughter ruthlessly and without compassion

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #2873 BDB #370

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

gâzaz (ז-זָ) [pronounced gaw-ZAHZ]

to shear

masculine plural, Qal active participle with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #1494 BDB #159


Translation: I will take my bread and my water and my meat which I had slaughtered for my shearers,... Nabal has prepared bread, water and meat for his shearers; this does not mean that he is a generous and thoughtful man. This may be the bare minimum that he can provide them without them walking out on him. However, the impression that Nabal is conveying is, he is paying these men whom he has personally observed do the work he contracted them for. He looks at these ten men and sees no reason to pay them.


1Samuel 25:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions, soldiers, companions

masculine plural noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced uh-SHER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

yâda׳ (ע ַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

1st person singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

êy (י̤א) [pronounced āy]

where

adverb; with a suffix, the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #335 BDB #32

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

zeh (הז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

masculine singular, demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2088, 2090 (& 2063) BDB #260

hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh]

they, those; themselves; these [with the definite article]

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241


Translation: ...and then give this to men that I don’t [even] know where they came from?” Nabal makes a statement here, or asks the question, should he take these things designed for his shearers and just give them to men whose origins he cannot even verify. We know that there is a great deal more profit involved here, and it was secured by David and his men. However, Nabal takes the position, just who are you, and, even if I owed David money, how can I confirm that you are in any way associated with him?


That Nabal can make this argument indicates that he has never seen these ten men before. He does not know from where they have come or if they have any sort of real connection to David. “What—you think you can just show up here and demand money? You people that I do not know?” Either Nabal did not hire David directly or these men were not involved in the security which David provided.


And so turn young men of David to the way and so they return and so they make know to him as all the words the these.

1Samuel

25:12

David’s young men then turned [themselves] to the road and they returned [to David] and make known to him all of these words.

David’s young men then returned to David and told him all that Nabal had said.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             So the servants of David turned to their way, and came and reported to David according to these words.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The men returned to their camp and told David everything Nabal had said.

The Message                         David's men got out of there and went back and told David what he had said.

NJB                                        David’s men turned on their heels and went back, and on their arrival told him exactly what had been said.

NLT                                        So David’s messengers returned and told him what Nabal had said.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         David's young men returned and told him all this.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Thereupon David’s young men retraced their steps; and when they got back, they told him all this.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              And the young men of David turn on their way, and turn back, and come in, and declare to him according to all these words.


What is the gist of this verse? David’s young men return to him and tell him what Nabal said.


1Samuel 25:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâphake ( ַפ ָה) [pronounced haw-FAHKe]

to turn [as a cake, a dish, one’s hand or side], to turn oneself; to turn back, to flee; to overturn, to overthrow [e.g., cities]; to convert, to change; to pervert, to be perverse

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2015 BDB #245

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

dereke ( ר ) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, journey, manner, course

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #1870 BDB #202


Translation: David’s young men then turned [themselves] to the road... It was obvious from his demeanor, that there was no reasoning with Nabal. Furthermore, David had not given them a plan of contingency—what to do if Nabal was contrary. So they simply return to the road that they came on, apparently without saying a word of rebuttal to Nabal.


It might do us well to understand the psychology of this. David is an honest person, and therefore he assumes those who deal with him will be honest as well. He had no contingency plan; he performed a service, he performed this service with integrity, and it never occurred to him that he would not get paid. David will blow up over this; he will lose his temper, because he was treated unjustly.


1Samuel 25:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to return, to turn, to turn back, to reminisce, to restore something, to bring back something, to revive, to recover something, to make restitution

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7725 BDB #996


Translation: ...and they returned [to David]... These ten young men return to David. There was no contingency plan. There was no plan B, just in case Nabal chose to stiff David and his crew for the money they deserve. T prepare you for the logic here; if David was running a protection racket, the first thing that he would do is plan for what he would do when Nabal says, “Hell no.” A protection racket by its very nature, must plan on the victim saying no.


1Samuel 25:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Do these mean something together?

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

words, sayings, doctrines, commands; things, matters, reports

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

êlleh (ה  ֵא) [pronunced KEHLleh]

these, these things

demonstrative plural adjective with the definite article

Strong's #428 BDB #41


Translation: ...and make known to him all of these words. Upon their return, with nothing in hand, they tell David what happened and what Nabal said. It will be clear that David will lose his temper when he hears what Nabal told his young men.


And so says David to his men, “Gird a man his sword.” And so gird on a man his sword. And so girds on also David his sword. And so they go up after David about four hundred a man and two hundred remained upon manufactured goods.

1Samuel

25:13

David then said to his men, “Each one of you put on [lit., gird] his sword.” So each man put on his sword, as did David [lit., and David also girded on his sword]. About 400 men went up after David while [lit., and] 200 remained with their personal belongings [lit., beside the valuables].

David then said to him men, “Put on your swords.” So each man put on his sword, as did David, and about 400 of them followed David, while the remaining 200 stayed with their supplies.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 [Almost identical to Alexandrian LXX]

Septuagint                             And David said to his men, “Gird on every man his sword [Alexandrian LXX adds: and they girded on every man his sword and David also girded on his sword]. and they went up after David, about 400 men; and 200 abode with the stuff.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “Everybody get your swords!” David ordered. They all strapped on their swords. Two hundred men stayed behind to guard the camp, but the other four hundred followed David.

The Message                         David said, “Strap on your swords!” They all strapped on their swords, David and his men, and set out, four hundred of them. Two hundred stayed behind to guard the camp.

NLT                                        “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. Four hundred men started off with David , and two hundred remained behind to guard their equipment.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Each of you put on your swords!” David told his men. And everyone, including David, put on his sword. About four hundred men went with David, while two hundred men stayed with the supplies.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT               And David says to his men, “Gird on each his sword;” and they gird on each his sword, and David also girds on his sword, and there go up after David about four hundred men, and two hundred have remained by the vessels.


What is the gist of this verse? David and his men put on their weapons and go up to Nabal. About 200 of David’s men stay behind with their personal belongings.


1Samuel 25:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions, soldiers, companions

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #376 BDB #35

châgar (רַג ָח) [pronounced khaw-GAHR]

to belt, to cinch, to gird, to encircle, to bind, to tie, to rope, to fasten around [onself]

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong’s #2296 BDB #291

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

chereb (ברח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352


Translation: David then said to his men, “Each one of you put on [lit., gird] his sword.” David has to take action. He was not a pacifist. He has been dishonored by Nabal who knew damn good and well who he was and the service which had been provided for him. So David tells his men to put on their swords.


You will note that there is no thinking, no deliberation, no asking God what to do. David is pissed off and he is going to do something about it then and there. This should tell you a little about David’s uncontrolled self. When David was angry, and not in fellowship, his reaction is quick and unthinking. We are used to appreciating how controlled David is with regards to Saul; however, that is not the situation here—David is mad and he is going to use force to express his anger. If Nabal stood before him, David would knock the hell out of him and then kill him.


Application: The next time you intentionally piss of a generally easy-going believer, bear in mind that maybe you have never observed his old sin nature at work. You may not realize that he has a severe temper like David, and that he might just knock you for a loop (and then profusely apologize, if he chooses to rebound).


As we study this chapter, I cannot help but think that David is expressing some of his frustration which he feels because of Saul. Saul has removed David from his home and his life, and David no doubt feels some anger because of this. So, this attack upon Nabal may be David displacing his anger.


1Samuel 25:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châgar (רַג ָח) [pronounced khaw-GAHR]

to belt, to cinch, to gird, to encircle, to bind, to tie, to rope, to fasten around [onself]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2296 BDB #291

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

chereb (ברח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352


Translation: So each man put on his sword,... David is in charge of a rag tag bunch of misfits that he has whipped into military preparedness with a military attitude. They have already delivered the city of Keilah from the Philistines, indicating that they were a well-disciplined force to be reckoned with.


1Samuel 25:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

châgar (רַג ָח) [pronounced khaw-GAHR]

to belt, to cinch, to gird, to encircle, to bind, to tie, to rope, to fasten around [onself]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2296 BDB #291

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

chereb (ברח) [pronounced khe-REBV]

sword, knife, dagger; any sharp tool

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2719 BDB #352

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84


Translation: ...as did David [lit., and David also girded on his sword]. David, as the leader, was probably the first one to put on his sword. The other men followed suit. Now, going to attack a private businessman, albeit corrupt, and taking almost his entire force, was a very strong reaction. This was a military force that gave the Philistines a run for their money. Attacking Nabal is nothing. Nabal is going to have a very limited security force, given the fact that he had to hire David to handle the security of his sheep in Carmel.


1Samuel 25:13d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

areba׳ (עַרַא) [pronounced ahre-BAHĢ]

four

masculine singular noun; numeral

Strong’s #702 BDB #916

mêâh (ה ָא ֵמ) [pronounced may-AW]

one hundred

feminine plural numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35


Translation: About 400 men went up after David... David had about 600 men who had allied themselves with him (1Sam. 23:13). Although these were generally anti-authority malcontents, they did follow David, as he exuded natural leadership ability. Most of the men put on their weapons and went with David. This was a cakewalk compared to facing the militarily trained Philistines (1Sam. 23:1–7).

 

Jamieson comments: David's own good conduct, however, as well as the important services rendered by him and his men, were readily attested by Nabal's servants. The preparations of David to chastise his insolent language and ungrateful requital are exactly what would be done in the present day by Arab chiefs, who protect the cattle of the large and wealthy sheep masters from the attacks of the marauding border tribes or wild beasts. Their protection creates a claim for some kind of tribute, in the shape of supplies of food and necessaries, which is usually given with great good will and gratitude; but when withheld, is enforced as a right. Nabal's refusal, therefore, was a violation of the established usages of the place. Footnote


1Samuel 25:13e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mâthayim (ם̣י -תאָמ) [pronounced maw-thah-YIM]

two hundred

feminine dual numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

yâshab (ב ַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay, to inhabit, to sit, to dwell

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

kelîy (י.ל) [pronounced kelee]

manufactured good, artifact, article, utensil, vessel, weapon, armor, furniture, receptacle; baggage, valuables

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3627 BDB #479


Translation: ...while [lit., and] 200 remained with their personal belongings [lit., beside the valuables]. During the time that they had spent together, David and his men had acquired some material goods; some the men brought with them and very likely some were acquired through odd jobs and services, such as what they performed for Nabal. They were not a completely mobile army as they had been in the past.


We talked earlier about whether David is in the desert wilderness of Maon or Paran. We have 600 men, who can be fairly mobile; but we apparently have enough things to require a large percentage of them to hang back and watch. This would indicate much less mobility. Furthermore, given that most of David’s exploits for these chapters of him being a fugitive seem to have Moan as a center point, that would further lead us to believe that he is in Maon.


How do we justify this with Nabal’s reaction? Nabal probably hired David directly in Maon, and David sent some men to Carmel to handle security for Nabal. It seems to be the case that Nabal was very hands-off in this business venture and may not have bothered to personally check on what was going on—after all, with a security force like David’s, he had little reason to. Therefore, Nabal would have known David, but not those who handled security. This would explain Nabal not recognizing these ten young men of David’s (which he uses to his own corrupt business advantage). This is, of course, logical speculation. The idea is to show that there is a completely logical explanation for what we find here, even though it is possible that this is not it.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Nabal’s Men Come to Abigail to Tell Her What Has Happened


And to Abigail, wife of Nabal, made known a young man, one from the young men, to say, “Behold, has sent David messengers from the wilderness to bless our lords and so he swooped down in them.

1Samuel

25:14

And one young man from the young men made known to Abigail, the wife of Nabal, saying, “Listen, David has sent messengers from the desert-wilderness to bless our lord, but he pounced upon them [or, flitted among them].

And one of the young men made this incident known to Abigail, saying, “Listen, David sent messengers from the desert-wilderness to bless our lord, but he made light of them.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to bless our master; and he railed at them.

Septuagint                             And one of the servants reported to Abigaia the wife of Nabal, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our Lord; but he turned away from them.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Meanwhile, one of Nabal's servants told Abigail: David's men were often nearby while we were taking care of the sheep in the fields. They were very good to us, they never hurt us, and nothing was ever stolen from us while they were nearby. With them around day or night, we were as safe as we would have been inside a walled city. David sent some messengers from the desert to wish our master well, but he shouted insults at them. [Vv. 14–16].

The Message                         Meanwhile, one of the young shepherds told Abigail, Nabal's wife, what had happened: “David sent messengers from the backcountry to salute our master, but he tore into them with insults.

REB                                       One of Nabal’s servants said to Abigail, Nabal’s wife, ‘David sent messengers from the wilderness to ask our master politely for a present, and he flared up at them.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         One of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, “David sent messengers from the desert to greet our master, who yelled at them.

JPS (Tanakh)                        One of [Nabal’s] young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, that David had sent messengers from the wilderness to greet their master, and that he had spurned them.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible   But a certain one of her young men told ║Abigail, Nabal’s wife║, saying

Lo! David sent messengers out of the wilderness to bless our lord, and he treated them with contempt [or, flew upon them; i.e., stormed at them].

NRSV                                    One of Nabal’s servants said to Abigail, Nabal’s wife, ‘David sent messengers from the wilderness to ask our master politely for a present, and he flared up at them [or, railed].

Young's Updated LT              And to Abigail wife of Nabal has one young man of the youths declared, saying, “Lo, David hath sent messengers out of the wilderness to bless our lord, and he flies upon them;...


What is the gist of this verse? One of Nabal’s servants goes to Abigail directly and tells her that David sent men to Nabal for payment, but he rebuffed them.


1Samuel 25:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ăbîygayil (ל̣י-גי.בֲא) [pronounced ab-vee-GAH-yil]

my father is joy (or, joyous); or my father’s joy; and is transliterated Abigail

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #26 BDB #4

îshshâh (ה ָֹ ̣א) [pronounced eesh-SHAWH]

woman, wife

feminine singular construct

Strong's #802 BDB #61

Nâbâl (לָבָנ) [pronounced naw-BAWL]

foolish, stupid; impious, wicked; and is transliterated Nabal

masculine singular proper noun

Strong’s #5037 BDB #615

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity

numeral

Strong's #259 BDB #25

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654


Translation: And one young man from the young men made known to Abigail, the wife of Nabal, saying,... David had a reputation, and what Nabal did was circulated around among the servants of Nabal and Abigail. Very likely, Nabal bragged about his impertinence to those he paid to listen to him. These young men knew that messing with David was a dangerous thing and they went to the most logical and reasonable person in that marriage—to Abigail. She functioned without the heavy testosterone levels of Nabal, and could think things through more reasonably.


The Emphasized Bible interprets this as a young man of Abigail’s; however, this would make little sense. There is every reason to believe that she had servants as did her husband; but the servants who would have been most alarmed would have been those who knew what had occurred. This one will speak in the next verse as one who had been treated well by David’s men, using 1st person plural suffixes. In other words, this servant was a servant of Nabal who had known David and his men in the desert. That is, he was an eyewitness to David’s treatment of Nabal’s shepherds and may have been a shepherd himself. It is unusual for Rotherham to make a mistake like this.


1Samuel 25:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for, to send forth, to send away, to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

Dâvid (ד̣וָ); also Dâvîyd (די.וָ) [pronounced daw-VEED]

beloved and is transliterated David

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1732 BDB #187

maleâke (ָא׃לַמ) [pronounced mahle-AWKe]

messenger or angel; this word has been used for a prophet (Isa. 42:19) and priest (Mal. 2:7)

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #4397 BDB #521

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

midebâr (רָ ׃ד ̣מ) [pronounced mide-BAWR]

wilderness, unpopulated wilderness, desert wilderness

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4057 BDB #184

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bârake (ַרָ) [pronounced baw-RAHKe]

to invoke God, to praise, to celebrate, to adore, to bless [God]; to bless [men], to invoke blessings; to bless [as God, man and other created things], therefore to cause to prosper, to make happy; to salute anyone [with a blessing]; to curse

Piel infinitive construct

Strong’s #1288 BDB #138

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10


Translation: “Listen, David has sent messengers from the desert-wilderness to bless our lord,... When David sent men to speak to Nabal, it was by way of blessing. Recall, David wished blessing, peace and prosperity to all that Nabal had (v. 6). So this was not some shakedown operation, but a reasonable request for the safety provided.


This also gives us an idea as to the movement of the shepherds. They raised Nabal’s sheep in Carmel, but had returned to Maon for the feasting. Word got around quickly that David’s men had been rebuffed by Nabal. This man either took it into his own hands to approach Abigail, or was an informally deputized representative of the others.


1Samuel 25:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳îyţ (טי.ע) [pronounced ģeet]

to dart greedily (like a bird of prey), to swoop down, to fly upon, to flit upon, to pounce upon

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5860 BDB #743

This is a relatively rare word in Scripture, found only in 1Sam. 14:32 15:19 25:14.

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s# none BDB #88


Translation: ...but he pounced upon them [or, flitted among them]. This particular verb is rare in Scripture, and generally is used of a bird swooping down upon his prey. However, it could refer to a bird flitting from flower to flower. The idea is, Nabal made light of David’s men and the situation and then he swooped down upon them as if they were his prey.


And men [were] good to us—very; and we were not ashamed [or, injured], and we did not number anything all days we walked with them in our being in the fields.

1Samuel

25:15

The men [were] very good to us. We were not injured [or, humiliated] and we did not number anything [as missing] all the time we walked with them when we were in the fields.

Those men were very good to us; we were never humiliated or injured nor did anything turn up missing during all the time that we walked with them in the fields.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And the men were very good to us; they did not hinder us, neither did they demand from us anything all the days that we were with them.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Meanwhile, one of Nabal's servants told Abigail: David's men were often nearby while we were taking care of the sheep in the fields. They were very good to us, they never hurt us, and nothing was ever stolen from us while they were nearby. With them around day or night, we were as safe as we would have been inside a walled city. David sent some messengers from the desert to wish our master well, but he shouted insults at them. [This is vv. 14–16].

The Message                         Yet these men treated us very well. They took nothing from us and didn't take advantage of us all the time we were in the fields.

NJB                                        Yet these men were very good to us. We were done no injury, neither did we miss anything all the while we were living among them during our stay in the open country.

NLT                                        But David’s men were very good to us; and we never suffered any harm from them. Nothing was stolen from us the whole time they were with us.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Those men were very good to us. They didn't mistreat us, and we found that nothing was missing wherever we went with them when we were in the fields.

JPS (Tanakh)                        “But the men had been very friendly to us; we were not harmed, nor did we miss anything all the time that we were about with them while they were in the open.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Literal Translation    ...and the men are very good to us, and have not put us to shame, and we have not looked after anything all the days we have gone up and down with them, in our being in the field;...


What is the gist of this verse? This young man testifies that there was no abuse suffered from David and his men.


1Samuel 25:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

men; inhabitants, citizens; companions, soldiers, companions

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better

masculine plural adjective

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

meôd (דֹא  ׃מ) [pronounced me-ODE]

exceedingly, extremely, greatly, very

adverb

Strong’s #3966 BDB #547


Translation: The men [were] very good to us. Nabal’s men could vouch for their safety when with David’s men. David’s men treated them very well, and examples will follow. This further indicates that this servant was an eyewitness to the events that he testifies to. Note, The men were very good to us.


1Samuel 25:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

kâlam (םַלָ) [pronounced kaw-LAHM]

to be hurt, to be injured; to be made ashamed, to be humiliated

1st person plural, Hophal perfect

Strong's #3637 BDB #483


Translation: We were not injured [or, humiliated]... The idea here may be more, they were never intimidated. That is, David’s men being there was not a burden. They didn’t feel as though the mafia had moved in on them and offered protection from themselves. David’s men treated them with respect and kindness. They did not feel threaten at all. This testimony further indicates that David was not running some protection racket.


1Samuel 25:15c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

pâqad (ד ַק ָ) [pronounced paw-KAHD]

to go to a person, to visit, to have personal contact with, to sort out, to visit a person, to commit, to charge to the care of, to fall upon, to attack, to number, to take a census

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #6485 BDB #823

meûwmâh (הָמא מ) [pronounced me-oo-MAW]

 anything, and it is usually found in negative sentences; therefore, with the negative, it is often rendered nothing

indefinite singular pronoun/adverb

Strong’s #3972 BDB #548

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

Together, kôl + yâmîym can mean in all time, all the time, perpetually, forever, always.

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

properly: to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to go for oneself, to walk up and down, to go about, to walk about; to live [walk] [in truth]; to flow

1st person plural Hithpael perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

Qal infinitive construct with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s# none BDB #88

sâdeh (ה∵דָ) [pronounced saw-DEH]

field, land, open field, open country

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7704 BDB #961


Translation: ...and we did not number anything [as missing] all the time we walked with them when we were in the fields. Apparently the time to do this shepherding is extensive—perhaps months; even a year or two? During this entire time, these shepherds never found anything missing. Their sheep were not stolen, their personal effects were not taken; they functioned in complete safety.


A wall they were upon us both night and daytime all days of our being with them shepherding sheep.

1Samuel

25:16

They were a wall beside us all the time we were with them tending the sheep.

They were a wall to us all of the time that we were tending to the sheep.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Septuagint                             And when we were in the field, they were as a wall around us, both by night and by day, all the days that we were with them feeding the flock.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Meanwhile, one of Nabal's servants told Abigail: David's men were often nearby while we were taking care of the sheep in the fields. They were very good to us, they never hurt us, and nothing was ever stolen from us while they were nearby. With them around day or night, we were as safe as we would have been inside a walled city. David sent some messengers from the desert to wish our master well, but he shouted insults at them. [Vv. 14–16 were combined].

The Message                         They formed a wall around us, protecting us day and night all the time we were out tending the sheep.

NJB                                        Night and day, they were like a rampart to us, all the time we were with them, minding the sheep.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         They were a wall protecting us day and night as long as we were watching the sheep near them.

JPS (Tanakh)                        They were a wall about us both by night and by day all the time that we were with them tending the flocks.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Literal Translation    ...a wall they have been unto us both by night and by day, all the days of our being with them, feeding the flock.


What is the gist of this verse? This man testifies that David’s men were a veritable wall about them as they pastured the sheep.


1Samuel 25:16

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

chôwmâh (הָמח) [pronounced khoh-MAW]

a wall [around a city]; less often for simple a wall; metaphorically, a maiden, chaste and difficult to approach

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #2346 BDB #327

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

layelâh (ה ָל  ׃י ַל) [pronounced LAY-law]

night; nightly, at night, in the night, during the night

masculine singular noun; this word can take on adverbial qualities

Strong’s #3915 BDB #538

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

both...and, furthermore...as well as, also...also, that...so; either...or (but not used disjunctively)

when gam is repeated

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

yômâm (םָמי) [pronounced yoh-MAWM]

daily, daytime, by day, in the daytime

substantive/adverb

Strong’s #3119 BDB #401

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

yâmîym (םי.מָי) [pronounced yaw-MEEM]

days, time of life, lifetime; a specific time period, a year

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

Together, kôl + yâmîym can mean in all time, all the time, perpetually, forever, always.

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

Qal infinitive construct with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

׳îm (ם ̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767

râ׳âh (ה ָעָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAWH]

shepherding, tending [a flock]; a shepherd, one who tends sheep

masculine plural, Qal active participle with the definite article

Strong’s #7462 BDB #944

tsôn (ןאֹצ) [pronounced tzohn]

small cattle, sheep and goats, flock, flocks

feminine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #6629 BDB #838


Translation: They were a wall beside us all the time we were with them tending the sheep. Nabal’s men never felt threatened; they felt completely protected by David’s men. Very likely, it was David who had a lot to do with this. He was a former shepherd. He had shepherded sheep much of his life. David would have put the men at ease with suggestions and small talk about shepherding; and he would have regaled them with personal anecdotes.


Shepherds, in that day and age, were notoriously vulnerable. In order to find good pastureland, they had to travel away from their ranch. The further they are from their ranch, the greater their personal danger. Thieves, rival ranchers, Philistines, etc. threaten their existence. They are almost completely vulnerable.

 

Gill tells us: Protecting and defending them against the Philistines, who, as they robbed the threshing floors of Keilah, would have plundered the flocks of Nabal; or it may be rather against the incursions of the Arabs in the wilderness of Paran, the posterity of Ishmael, who lived by plunder, and against the wild beasts of the desert, who otherwise would have carried off many of their sheep and lambs, by night or by day. Footnote See how this narrative is woven together? We already know from the incident in Keilah that there was some lawlessness which threatened Nabal at that time. However, with David and his men, it was as though Nabal’s shepherds and sheep were inside a walled city.


And now know and see what you will do, for completed the evil unto our lords and all his house. And he [is] a son of Belial from a speaking unto him.

1Samuel

25:17

Now know and see what you will do for evil has been completed against our lord and all his house. Furthermore, he is a son of worthlessness [lit., a son of Belial] and one cannot talk to him [lit., from speaking with him].

Now determine just exactly what you plan to do, for evil has already been determined against our Lord and against all his household. Furthermore, he is an ass that no one can reason with.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Peshitta                                 Now therefore know and consider what you will do; for evil is determined against our master and against all his household; and Nabal was with the shepherds.”

Septuagint                             And now consider, and see what you will do; for mischief is determined against our lord and against his house. And he [is] a vile character, and one cannot speak to him.”

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       He's a bully who won't listen to anyone. Isn't there something you can do? Please think of something! Or else our master and his family and everyone who works for him are all doomed..

The Message                         Do something quickly because big trouble is ahead for our master and all of us. Nobody can talk to him. He's impossible--a real brute!”

NLT                                        You’d better think fast, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He’s so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Now, consider what you should do because our master and his whole household are doomed. And he's such a worthless man that it's useless to talk to him.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        So consider carefully what you should do, for harm threatens our master and all his household; he is such a nasty fellow that no one can speak to him.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Updated Emphasized Bible   ║Now║ therefore know and see what you cannot do, for mischief is determined against our lord, and against all his household, —but ║he║ is such an abandoned man [or, a son of the Abandoned One; Hebrew: Belial] that one cannot speak to him.

Young's Updated LT              And, now, know and consider what you do; for evil hath been determined against our lord, and against all his house, and he is too much a son of worthlessness to be spoken to.”


What is the gist of this verse? This servant of Nabal’s is sounding a red alert. This man knows that something is about to befall Nabal’s household, and that Nabal cannot be reasoned with.


1Samuel 25:17a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

yâda׳ (ע ַדָי) [pronounced yaw-DAHĢ]

to know, to perceive, to acquire knowledge, to become acquainted, to know by experience, to have a knowledge of something; to see

2nd person feminine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #3045 BDB #393

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

look, see, behold, view, see here, listen up

2nd person feminine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why

interrogative; exclamatory particle

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

׳âsâh (ה ָ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793


Translation: Now know and see what you will do... Nabal’s men cannot talk to Nabal. He cannot be reasoned with. You might as well be talking to a wall. The shepherds and shearers did respect his wife, as she was a woman of great intelligence and beauty; therefore, they take their dilemma to her. They ask her, what should be done. They trust her to act accordingly and with great wisdom.


Application: Nabal is one of the great successful businessmen of his time; and yet it is his wife who saves his business. A man should never discount the wisdom of his wife. If you are marrying a person whose opinion that you do not value, then you should not marry her. You could not be making a worse mistake. Why marry a woman whose thoughts and opinions do not matter to you? When you do something like that, you reveal your abysmal ignorance with regards to marriage.


1Samuel 25:17b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

kâlâh (ה ָל ָ) [pronounced kaw-LAWH]

to complete, to finish; to be past, to go by; to consume, to waste, to destroy; to be completed or finished, to be accomplished or fulfilled; to be consumed [wasted or spent]

3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #3615 BDB #477

râ׳âh (הָעָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAW]

evil, misery, distress, disaster, injury, iniquity, aberration, that which is morally reprehensible

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #7451 BDB #949

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

âdôwn (ןד ָא) [pronounced aw-DOHN]

lord, master, owner, superior, sovereign

masculine plural noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #113 BDB #10

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

bayith (ת̣י ַ) [pronounced BAH-yith]

house, household, habitation as well as inward

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1004 BDB #108


Translation: ...for evil has been completed against our lord and all his house. It is clear that the household of Nabal is heading for disaster. This has already been determined. Now, one only need decide just how much of his household would be affected by this. Whether they realize what David has planned or not is unknown to us. However, they realize that David performed a service on their behalf and Nabal just behaved like a total ass. It was clear to the man that Nabal could not give David the shaft like that and expect to walk away without a problem. And this man knew what befell Nabal would befall the entire house.


We do not know how this servant came across this knowledge. We don’t know if it was logically deduced or whether he somehow heard that David was coming. Given the absence of cell phones in that part of the world then, along with the spotty internet service, we will assume that this young man deduced that they might face serious trouble from David.


1Samuel 25:17c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

belîy (י.ל) [pronounced beLEE]

not, without

negative particle/substantive

Strong’s #1097 BDB #115

yâ׳al (ל -חָי) [pronounced yaw-ĢAHL]

to profit, to benefit, to avail

Hiphil verb

Strong’s #3276 BDB #418

Together, belîy + yâ׳al form belîyyaal (ל ַעַ̣ל ׃) [pronounced belee-YAH-ģahl], which means without value, no profit; and it is transliterated Belial. It is separately identified as Strong’s #1100 BDB #116.

belîyyaal (ל ַעַ̣ל ׃) [pronounced belee-YAH-ģahl]

without value, worthless, ruin, good-for-nothing, unprofitable, useless, without fruit; wickedness, vileness; destruction; wicked or ungodly [men]; transliterated Belial

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1100 BDB #116

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, away from, out from, out of, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

dâbar (ר ַב ָד) [pronounced dawb-VAHR]

to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce

Piel infinitive construct

Strong’s #1696 BDB #180

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: Furthermore, he is a son of worthlessness [lit., a son of Belial] and one cannot talk to him [lit., from speaking with him]. It is clear from speaking to Nabal that he is a total ass. He listens to no one but himself. Therefore, he cannot be reasoned with. He is a worthless man; therefore, talking with him is fruitless (or worthless) as well. It is clear to this servant that this problem can only be solved by Abigail, because she is willing to listen and she is willing to ponder the various options.


Application: No matter what your position is, you should always be ready to listen to the advice of others. Furthermore, you should know those that you can depend upon for advice.


Application: You should not surround yourself with yes-men. These are people who agree with whatever decision you make. These are sometimes the sorts of people who make up the entourage of a vain movie star. These sorts of movie stars often end up in substance abuse, because no one in their entourage is able to dissuade them from such choices. The stars make certain that no one around them is willing to express that strong of an opinion.


Application: This is more of a tangent from those point made above, but anyone in great authority must know how to choose intelligent and competent men to surround him (and women, of course); and he must be able to delegate his authority. No matter how great you are and no matter how many people have failed you, you still must be able delegate authority.


Application: Another tangent: people are not robots; they are not computers. People under you will fail you at times. This does not mean that they are incompetent or that they should be replaced. Nor does the failure of another mean and you cannot delegate authority. Unless you are perfect, you know that those under your command will not be perfect.


Application: More on point, but from a different angle: note that this servant knows who he can go to in order to get things done; in order to right what is wrong. It is always a good idea to know in your organization or company who you can go to in case of an emergency, in case something needs to be done. The person directly above you in the organization is not necessarily a person you can trust or a person who could handle a real problem. This servant is specifically a servant to Nabal; Nabal is his go-to guy. However, this is an emergency. He would be wasting his time trying to reason with Nabal. He goes to Abigail, a woman he can reason with; and woman who will actually listen to him; a woman who can actually deal with this sort of an emergency.


Most people who read this chapter do not fully appreciate God’s workings. God is not just working through Abigail, who is obviously a mature believer. God also uses this servant to alert Abigail. Apart from this servant’s accurate assessment of the situation, Abigail could not act, as she would not know to act.


The sad thing about all of this is, Nabal probably does not realize what a treasure he has in Abigail. She is unselfish, intelligent, competent, willing to act, willing to do the right thing. It should be no surprise that she is a believer in Jesus Christ.


We have covered the Doctrine of Belial back in 1Sam. 2:12.


There are several parallels between Saul and Nabal, which we will cover here.

The Similarities Between Saul and Nabal

Saul

Nabal

Saul generally could not be reasoned with. The few times one was able to reason with Saul, Saul would later return to his own unreasoned position.

Nabal was an unreasonable man that even his wife would not bother to reason with (vv. 17, 19).

Saul continually kept back from David what he owed him. He owed David promotion and gratitude for David’s successes on the battlefield; and he owed David his first daughter as a wife. Saul, at the end of this chapter, even takes back his second daughter, who he had given to David.

Nabal does not give David the remuneration that he deserves for guarding his flocks in the field (vv. 10–12).

Saul, as king, was very rich and powerful.

Nabal had amassed a great deal of wealth, probably much of it through dishonest business dealings.

 

Nabal held great parties to celebrate his own successes.

Saul is a fool and all that he owns will be taken from him when he dies.

Nabal is a fool, and the result is that all that he owns will be taken from him when he dies.

We can reasonably assume that Saul’s wife, the mother of Jonathan, had to be a good woman, as Jonathan turned out so well.

Abigail, Nabal’s wife, is a good and wise as Nabal is evil and foolish. Her actions are a direct contrast to Nabal’s.

David restrained himself on several occasions with regards to Saul—whereas the average person might want to strike back at Saul, David held back, as he was the Lord’s anointed.

However, David let himself go, temper-wise, with Nabal. It would not be out of the question for this to be displaced anger on the part of David. He has held back from striking Saul, God’s anointed leader of Israel; but he sure would like to.

The NIV Study Bible suggests that the writer of this portion of Samuel vents his feelings toward Saul in his treatment of Nabal. Footnote Robert Gordon also points out that this is a important psychological study of David; that Nabal acts as a surrogate Saul and David’s anger toward Saul. Footnote I dismissed this notion at first, but given the similarities between Saul and Nabal, and given that this story is sandwiched between two accounts of David holding back from taking revenge on Saul, it makes sense.



Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


An accusation brought up before is that David is running a protection racket. That is, for a fee, he would see that you were protected from him and from outsiders. Since a superficial reading of this passage may yield this impression, we need to examine this point of view carefully.

Was David Running a Protection Racket?

1.    First of all, we need to define our terms:

       1)    By protection racket, I mean the sort of activity practiced by mobsters when they would come into a business and ask for a monthly or weekly payment for protection. The protection was really protection from the mobsters demanding the payment. At times, they no doubt provided some form of general security; but it was often unreliable and haphazard at best. In other words, if you paid a mobster security money, this does not mean that someone would be specifically assigned to stand guard over your place of business.

       2)    This is different than a security force or a security system. Many people call up a multitude of businesses which provide a security system for their homes; and many businesses employ watchmen or a security company to watch over their assets. For instance, it is common for a bank to have a security guard in their lobby. This is a legitimate business, in contrast to the protection racket mentioned above.

2.    At the beginning of this chapter, I quoted from a Gnana Robinson who claimed that what David was running here was a thinly veiled protection racket.

3.    I should point out that I am under no compunction to put a nice spin on David’s exploits. God the Holy Spirit does not require any believer to whitewash the activities of another believer. If David was out of line here, then I would be the first to tell you so. When we get to David and Bathsheba, it will be clear that David is not choirboy (although he could sing).

4.    Furthermore, David will be tempted to sin; in fact, to commit a very big sin as a matter of fact; however, he will be dissuaded from doing so by Nabal’s wife Abigail.

5.    Reasons why we know David was not running a protection racket:

       1)    David provided an on-site security force, day and night, for Nabal’s shepherds (v. 16). Security rackets generally do not provide round-the-clock, physical protection.

       2)    We have the testimony of one of Nabal’s servants. No where does this man indicate that David strong-armed Nabal or his shepherds in order to provide protection. Nabal is clearly cited as the one at fault; not David (vv. 14–17).

       3)    No where in these four verses does this servant ever slight David or accuse David of any wrongdoing.

       4)    When David’s men went to collect payment for the services rendered, they are spoken of favorably; when Nabal reacts to this, he is spoken of unfavorably (v. 14).

       5)    David’s men did not verbally abuse Nabal’s shepherds nor did they ever take advantage of their position or imminence (v. 15).

       6)    David’s actions and the actions of his men are spoken of favorably by this eyewitness (vv. 15–16) while Nabal’s actions are spoken of as dangerous his personage as being worthless (vv. 14, 17).

       7)    Where as this chapter clearly speaks unfavorably of Nabal (vv. 3, 14, 17, 25), nowhere is David faulted by Nabal, Abigail, the eyewitness shepherd or by the author of this chapter.

       8)    When the ten men come to Nabal for payment, it is unclear as to what Nabal is paying for and it is unclear as to whether there was a contract in force (vv. 5–9).

       9)    On the other hand, none of Nabal’s objections sound like the victim of a protection racket scheme.

               (1)   Nabal first appears to not even know who David is. However, it is clear that he does, as he calls David the son of Jesse (v. 10a).

               (2)   Then Nabal implies that David is just another fugitive from his master (v. 10b).

               (3)   These two statements together imply that Nabal just may drop a dime on David; that is, let Saul know where David is.

               (4)   Although Nabal at first sounds reasonable, that why should he take all of these things which are for his shepherds and shearers and give them to someone else (v. 11a); but then he adds, and I really don’t know who you are. That is, even if I owed David money, how could I confirm that it should go to you guys?

               (5)   Note what Nabal does not say:

                       i       This is a shakedown operation.

                       ii      I don’t owe David money because I did not hire him.

                       iii     I don’t owe you or David money because no service was performed.

                       iv     I never agreed to any of this protection stuff.

       10)  If David chose to, he could have simply taken as many of Nabal’s sheep as he wanted. He had 600 men and Nabal’s sheep were watched by a few shepherds. So, if David were evil here, he could have forcibly taken his due before Nabal hired shearers.

       11)  You need to understand how the criminal mind works. If David is not honest and trustworthy, then he is damn sure not going to trust Nabal to pay him at a later date. People judge other people by their own norms and standards. David trusted Nabal, which suggests that David is trustworthy and above board. This makes it highly unlikely that David was running any sort of protection racket. His personality and character are not consistent with a man who runs a protection racket.

       12)  David, as he justifies his intentions of revenge to his men, says that he guarded Nabal’s sheep in vain. He had done a competent job (actually, a perfect job); and David classifies what he did as good, and Nabal’s response as evil (v. 21). So, from the standpoint of David, he fulfilled his responsibilities to Nabal, but did not receive proper compensation. This implies some sort of an agreement or contract between them.

       13)  When David realizes that his approach was wrong; that to kill Nabal would have been the incorrect approach, it is because he knows that he is not to seek personal revenge, even when wronged (vv. 32–33). He does not recognize his intention of revenge as wrong because of strong-arming Nabal or because he was running a protection racket—because he wasn’t.

       14)  What we will find later on in this passage is, when Abigail meets David, she is respectful, deferential, and she speaks rather ill of her own husband (v. 25).

       15)  Nowhere in vv. 24–31 does Abigail say or even imply that David is running some sort of a protection racket that she is nevertheless willing to pay for.

       16)  Abigail makes it clear that God is on David’s side in this matter (v. 28–30).

       17)  However, Abigail clearly tells David that if he kills Nabal and his household, that he will be shedding blood wrongfully (v. 31). It is gutsy enough for Abigail to meet David face to face and try to get him to back down; but it is even more gutsy for her to tell David that what he is about to do is wrong.

       18)  If Abigail is willing to tell David that killing Nabal is wrong, then she is would be willing to castigate David for his protection racket. She might have paid him in either instance, but we know that Abigail is not afraid to speak her mind; she is not shy about calling a spade a spade.

       19)  Abigail tells David, let God take care of Nabal and his discipline (v. 31).

       20)  Finally, and most importantly, God does take Nabal out of this life (vv. 37–38).

       21)  Abigail is spoken of favorably again and again (vv. 3, 17, 32–33); if it turned out that David was no better than Nabal, it would have made little sense for her to become David’s wife (vv. 40–42). After all, Only Nabal was dead. This did not mean that all of his business ventures and wealth had vanished. Abigail had enough gumption to take things into her own hands when necessary (v. 18). Therefore, Abigail does not cling to David because she is unable to run Nabal’s business or because Nabal is suddenly bankrupt. She speaks of David in nothing but glowing terms, with the exception of his almost taking his own revenge (vv. 29–31).

6.    We must understand the culture of that time. There is no policeman on the corner, no cop car driving around to keep order. Saul was squandering his army on chasing down David, much of the time. Therefore, the further one got from Gibeah of Saul, the more lawless the territory. David and his men kept Nabal safe. Apparently, there is not need to be a specific, signed contract in order for this to be. The very fact that David’s men were there, that they preserved order in that area, and that Nabal benefitted financially from this, there was an understanding that some payment was due. This is, in part, why we pay taxes—to have that police patrol car driving around and keeping order. David and his men performed that duty, and his men simply came to Nabal as tax collectors, so to speak. Again, this was a different time where different norms and standards were in play; but Nabal benefitted financially from this, and it would be customary for him to compensate David for the safety of his enterprise.

7.    As we will see, his wife, Abigail, recognizes this, and will not just come to David and apologize, but she will bring payment to him. 1Sam. 25:18

8.    Conclusion:

       1)    We do not have to have proof of a signed or oral agreement in order for one to have existed.

       2)    We do not have to have explicit proof that there was an understanding between David and Nabal (or between David and Nabal’s shepherds).

       3)    We have 15 reasons which indicate that such an agreement between the two parties existed. That should be more than enough.

       4)    God the Holy Spirit expects us to be able to think when examining His Word. Whereas, you may have not thought to unearth these points, that is not really your job. God has provided a pastor teacher for you to do that himself.


Return to Chapter Outline

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Abigail Pro-actively Goes to Meet David to Dissuade Him


And so hastens Abigail and so she takes 200 [loaves of] bread and two skins of wine and five sheep having been prepared and five measures of grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and 200 cakes of figs and so she sets [them] upon the asses.

1Samuel

25:18

Abigail quickly took [lit., hastened and took] 200 [loaves] of bread, two skins of wine, five fully prepared sheep, five measures of grain, a hundred clusters of rais1ns and 200 fig cakes and she set [them] upon [her] asses.

Abigail quickly took 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five prepared and dressed sheep, five measures of grain, a hundred clusters of raisins and 200 fig cakes and placed these things upon her asses.


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:


 

Peshitta                                 Then Abigail hurried and took 200 loaves of bread and two skins of wine and five sheep ready dressed and five measures of parched wheat and one hundred cheeses and two hundred bunches of raisins and laid them upon asses.

Septuagint                             And Abigaia hurried, and she took 200 loaves and two vessels of wine and five sheep ready dressed and five ephah of fine flour and one homer of dried grapes, and 200 cakes of figs and put them upon asses.

 

Significant differences           .


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Abigail quickly got together two hundred loaves of bread, two large clay jars of wine, the meat from five sheep, a large sack of roasted grain, a hundred handfuls of raisins, and two hundred handfuls of dried figs. She loaded all the food on donkeys.

The Message                         Abigail flew into action. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep dressed out and ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes, and she had it all loaded on some donkeys.

NLT                                        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,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         So Abigail quickly took 200 loaves of bread, 2 full wineskins, 5 butchered sheep, a bushel of roasted grain, 100 bunches of raisins, and 200 fig cakes and loaded them on donkeys.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Abigail quickly got together two hundred loaves of bread, two jars of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of parched corn, one hundred cakes of raisin, and two hundred cakes of pressed figs. She loaded them on asses,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

Young's Updated LT              And Abigail hastened, and taketh two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep, prepared, and five measures of roasted corn, and a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred bunches of figs, and set them on the asses.


What is the gist of this verse? Abigail quickly gathered a large number of items to repay David and his men for their services.


1Samuel 25:18a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâhar (ר ַה ָמ) [pronounced maw-HAHR]

to hasten, to hurry, to make haste; its transitive use is to prepare quickly, to bring quickly, to do quickly

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4116 BDB #554

ăbîygayil (ל̣י-גי.בֲא) [pronounced ab-vee-GAH-yil]

my father is joy (or, joyous); or my father’s joy; and is transliterated Abigail

feminine singular proper noun

Strong’s #26 BDB #4


Translation: Abigail quickly... This verse actually has two verbs here. The first verb says that she hurry’s up and the second tells us what she hurried up to do. In the English, we might treat the first verb as an adverb. In any case, the idea is that she acted quickly. She was under a time-gun and she had to deal with David’s natural anger at being treated so poorly.


1Samuel 25:18b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person feminine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

mâthayim (ם̣י -תאָמ) [pronounced maw-thah-YIM]

two hundred

feminine dual numeral

Strong’s #3967 BDB #547

lechem (ם ח ל) [pronounced LEH-khem]

literally means bread; used more generally for food

masculine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #3899 BDB #536

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shenayim (ם̣י-נש) [pronounced sheNAH-yim]

two of, a pair of, a duo of

masculine plural numeral

Strong’s #8147 BDB #1040

nêbel (ל∵ב̤נ) [pronounced NAYB-vel]

skin-bottle, skin, flask, vessel, earthen jar, pitcher, container; musical instrument (lyre, harp)

masculine singular construct; 1st meaning

Strong’s #5035 BDB #614

yayin (ן̣י-י) [pronounced YAH-yin]

wine

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3196 BDB #406

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

châmêsh (ש̤מָח) [pronounced khaw-MAYSH]

five

numeral, feminine noun

Strong’s #2568 BDB #331

tsôn (ןאֹצ) [pronounced tzohn]

small cattle,