I Samuel 25
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1  Shmuel died, and all Yisrael gathered and made lament for him; and they buried him in Rama, his home. David went down to the wilderness of Paran.

א  וַיָּמָת שְׁמוּאֵל וַיִּקָּבְצוּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּסְפְּדוּ־לוֹ וַיִּקְבְּרֻהוּ בְּבֵיתוֹ בָּרָמָה וַיָּקָם דָּוִד וַיֵּרֶד אֶל־מִדְבַּר פָּארָן׃

2  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.

ב  וְאִישׁ בְּמָעוֹן וּמַעֲשֵׂהוּ בַכַּרְמֶל וְהָאִישׁ גָּדוֹל מְאֹד וְלוֹ צֹאן שְׁלֹשֶׁת־אֲלָפִים וְאֶלֶף עִזִּים וַיְהִי בִּגְזֹז אֶת־צֹאנוֹ בַּכַּרְמֶל׃

3  The man’s name was Naval, and his wife’s name was Avigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, but the man, a Calebite, was a hard man and an evildoer.

ג  וְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ נָבָל וְשֵׁם אִשְׁתּוֹ אֲבִגָיִל וְהָאִשָּׁה טוֹבַת־שֶׂכֶל וִיפַת תֹּאַר וְהָאִישׁ קָשֶׁה וְרַע מַעֲלָלִים וְהוּא כלבו [כָלִבִּי׃]

4  David was in the wilderness when he heard that Naval was shearing his sheep.

ד  וַיִּשְׁמַע דָּוִד בַּמִּדְבָּר כִּי־גֹזֵז נָבָל אֶת־צֹאנוֹ׃

5  David dispatched ten young men, and David instructed the young men, “Go up to Carmel. When you come to Naval, greet him in my name.

ה  וַיִּשְׁלַח דָּוִד עֲשָׂרָה נְעָרִים וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד לַנְּעָרִים עֲלוּ כַרְמֶלָה וּבָאתֶם אֶל־נָבָל וּשְׁאֶלְתֶּם־לוֹ בִשְׁמִי לְשָׁלוֹם׃

6  Say as follows: ‘To life! Greetings to you and to your household and to all that is yours!

ו  וַאֲמַרְתֶּם כֹּה לֶחָי וְאַתָּה שָׁלוֹם וּבֵיתְךָ שָׁלוֹם וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ שָׁלוֹם׃

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

ז  וְעַתָּה שָׁמַעְתִּי כִּי גֹזְזִים לָךְ עַתָּה הָרֹעִים אֲשֶׁר־לְךָ הָיוּ עִמָּנוּ לֹא הֶכְלַמְנוּם וְלֹא־נִפְקַד לָהֶם מְאוּמָה כָּל־יְמֵי הֱיוֹתָם בַּכַּרְמֶל׃

8  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.’”

ח  שְׁאַל אֶת־נְעָרֶיךָ וְיַגִּידוּ לָךְ וְיִמְצְאוּ הַנְּעָרִים חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ כִּי־עַל־יוֹם טוֹב בָּנוּ תְּנָה־נָּא אֵת אֲשֶׁר תִּמְצָא יָדְךָ לַעֲבָדֶיךָ וּלְבִנְךָ לְדָוִד׃

9  David‘s young men went and delivered this message to Naval in the name of David. When they stopped speaking,

ט  וַיָּבֹאוּ נַעֲרֵי דָוִד וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֶל־נָבָל כְּכָל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה בְּשֵׁם דָּוִד וַיָּנוּחוּ׃

10  Naval answered David‘s servants, “Who is David? Who is the son of Yishai? There are many slaves nowadays who run away from their masters.

י  וַיַּעַן נָבָל אֶת־עַבְדֵי דָוִד וַיֹּאמֶר מִי דָוִד וּמִי בֶן־יִשָׁי הַיּוֹם רַבּוּ עֲבָדִים הַמִּתְפָּרְצִים אִישׁ מִפְּנֵי אֲדֹנָיו׃

11  Should I then take my bread and my water, and the meat that I slaughtered for my own shearers, and give them to men who come from I don’t know where?”

יא  וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶת־לַחְמִי וְאֶת־מֵימַי וְאֵת טִבְחָתִי אֲשֶׁר טָבַחְתִּי לְגֹזְזָי וְנָתַתִּי לַאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדַעְתִּי אֵי מִזֶּה הֵמָּה׃

12  Thereupon David‘s young men retraced their steps; and when they got back, they told him all this.

יב  וַיַּהַפְכוּ נַעֲרֵי־דָוִד לְדַרְכָּם וַיָּשֻׁבוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ וַיַּגִּדוּ לוֹ כְּכֹל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה׃

13  And David said to his men, “Gird on your swords.” Each girded on his sword; David too girded on his sword. About four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.

יג  וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד לַאֲנָשָׁיו חִגְרוּ אִישׁ אֶת־חַרְבּוֹ וַיַּחְגְּרוּ אִישׁ אֶת־חַרְבּוֹ וַיַּחְגֹּר גַּם־דָּוִד אֶת־חַרְבּוֹ וַיַּעֲלוּ אַחֲרֵי דָוִד כְּאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת אִישׁ וּמָאתַיִם יָשְׁבוּ עַל־הַכֵּלִים׃

14  One of [Naval‘s] young men told Avigail, Naval‘s wife, that David had sent messengers from the wilderness to greet their master, and that he had spurned them.

יד  וְלַאֲבִיגַיִל אֵשֶׁת נָבָל הִגִּיד נַעַר־אֶחָד מֵהַנְּעָרִים לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה שָׁלַח דָּוִד מַלְאָכִים מֵהַמִּדְבָּר לְבָרֵךְ אֶת־אֲדֹנֵינוּ וַיָּעַט בָּהֶם׃

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

טו  וְהָאֲנָשִׁים טֹבִים לָנוּ מְאֹד וְלֹא הָכְלַמְנוּ וְלֹא־פָקַדְנוּ מְאוּמָה כָּל־יְמֵי הִתְהַלַּכְנוּ אִתָּם בִּהְיוֹתֵנוּ בַּשָּׂדֶה׃

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

טז  חוֹמָה הָיוּ עָלֵינוּ גַּם־לַיְלָה גַּם־יוֹמָם כָּל־יְמֵי הֱיוֹתֵנוּ עִמָּם רֹעִים הַצֹּאן׃

17  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.”

יז  וְעַתָּה דְּעִי וּרְאִי מַה־תַּעֲשִׂי כִּי־כָלְתָה הָרָעָה אֶל־אֲדֹנֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל־בֵּיתוֹ וְהוּא בֶּן־בְּלִיַּעַל מִדַּבֵּר אֵלָיו׃

18  Avigail quickly got together two hundred loaves of bread, two jars of wine, five dressed sheep, five se’eem of parched corn, one hundred cakes of raisin, and two hundred cakes of pressed figs. She loaded them on asses,

יח  וַתְּמַהֵר אבוגיל [אֲבִיגַיִל] וַתִּקַּח מָאתַיִם לֶחֶם וּשְׁנַיִם נִבְלֵי־יַיִן וְחָמֵשׁ צֹאן עשוות [עֲשׂוּיֹת] וְחָמֵשׁ סְאִים קָלִי וּמֵאָה צִמֻּקִים וּמָאתַיִם דְּבֵלִים וַתָּשֶׂם עַל־הַחֲמֹרִים׃

19  and she told her young men, “Go on ahead of me, and I’ll follow you”; but she did not tell her husband Naval.

יט  וַתֹּאמֶר לִנְעָרֶיהָ עִבְרוּ לְפָנַי הִנְנִי אַחֲרֵיכֶם בָּאָה וּלְאִישָׁהּ נָבָל לֹא הִגִּידָה׃

20  She was riding on the ass and going down a trail on the hill, when David and his men appeared, coming down toward her; and she met them.—

כ  וְהָיָה הִיא רֹכֶבֶת עַל־הַחֲמוֹר וְיֹרֶדֶת בְּסֵתֶר הָהָר וְהִנֵּה דָוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו יֹרְדִים לִקְרָאתָהּ וַתִּפְגֹּשׁ אֹתָם׃

21  Now David had been saying, “It was all for nothing that I protected that fellow’s possessions in the wilderness, and that nothing he owned is missing. He has paid me back evil for good.

כא  וְדָוִד אָמַר אַךְ לַשֶּׁקֶר שָׁמַרְתִּי אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר לָזֶה בַּמִּדְבָּר וְלֹא־נִפְקַד מִכָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ מְאוּמָה וַיָּשֶׁב־לִי רָעָה תַּחַת טוֹבָה׃

22  May Hashem do thus and more to the enemies of David if, by the light of morning, I leave a single male of his.”—

כב  כֹּה־יַעֲשֶׂה אֱלֹהִים לְאֹיְבֵי דָוִד וְכֹה יֹסִיף אִם־אַשְׁאִיר מִכָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ עַד־הַבֹּקֶר מַשְׁתִּין בְּקִיר׃

23  When Avigail saw David, she quickly dismounted from the ass and threw herself face down before David, bowing to the ground.

כג  וַתֵּרֶא אֲבִיגַיִל אֶת־דָּוִד וַתְּמַהֵר וַתֵּרֶד מֵעַל הַחֲמוֹר וַתִּפֹּל לְאַפֵּי דָוִד עַל־פָּנֶיהָ וַתִּשְׁתַּחוּ אָרֶץ׃

24  Prostrate at his feet, she pleaded, “Let the blame be mine, my lord, but let your handmaid speak to you; hear your maid’s plea.

כד  וַתִּפֹּל עַל־רַגְלָיו וַתֹּאמֶר בִּי־אֲנִי אֲדֹנִי הֶעָוׂן וּתְדַבֶּר־נָא אֲמָתְךָ בְּאָזְנֶיךָ וּשְׁמַע אֵת דִּבְרֵי אֲמָתֶךָ׃

25  Please, my lord, pay no attention to that wretched fellow Naval. For he is just what his name says: His name means ‘boor’ and he is a boor. “Your handmaid did not see the young men whom my lord sent.

כה  אַל־נָא יָשִׂים אֲדֹנִי אֶת־לִבּוֹ אֶל־אִישׁ הַבְּלִיַּעַל הַזֶּה עַל־נָבָל כִּי כִשְׁמוֹ כֶּן־הוּא נָבָל שְׁמוֹ וּנְבָלָה עִמּוֹ וַאֲנִי אֲמָתְךָ לֹא רָאִיתִי אֶת־נַעֲרֵי אֲדֹנִי אֲשֶׁר שָׁלָחְתָּ׃

26  I swear, my lord, as Hashem lives and as you live—Hashem who has kept you from seeking redress by blood with your own hands—let your enemies and all who would harm my lord fare like Naval!

כו  וְעַתָּה אֲדֹנִי חַי־יְהֹוָה וְחֵי־נַפְשְׁךָ אֲשֶׁר מְנָעֲךָ יְהֹוָה מִבּוֹא בְדָמִים וְהוֹשֵׁעַ יָדְךָ לָךְ וְעַתָּה יִהְיוּ כְנָבָל אֹיְבֶיךָ וְהַמְבַקְשִׁים אֶל־אֲדֹנִי רָעָה׃

27  Here is the present which your maidservant has brought to my lord; let it be given to the young men who are the followers of my lord.

כז  וְעַתָּה הַבְּרָכָה הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר־הֵבִיא שִׁפְחָתְךָ לַאדֹנִי וְנִתְּנָה לַנְּעָרִים הַמִּתְהַלְּכִים בְּרַגְלֵי אֲדֹנִי׃

28  Please pardon your maid’s boldness. For Hashem will grant my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of Hashem, and no wrong is ever to be found in you.

SA NA l’-FE-sha a-ma-TE-kha KEE a-soh ya-a-SEH a-do-NAI la-do-NEE BA-yit ne-e-MAN kee mil-kha-MOT a-do-NAI a-do-NEE nil-KHAM v’-ra-AH lo ti-ma-TZAY v’-KHA mi-ya-ME-kha

כח  שָׂא נָא לְפֶשַׁע אֲמָתֶךָ כִּי עָשֹׂה־יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה לַאדֹנִי בַּיִת נֶאֱמָן כִּי־מִלְחֲמוֹת יְהֹוָה אֲדֹנִי נִלְחָם וְרָעָה לֹא־תִמָּצֵא בְךָ מִיָּמֶיךָ׃

25:28   Because my lord is fighting the battles of Hashem

Metzudat David explains that the prophetess Avigail is warning David that he should kill only if necessary as part of Hashem’s wars against enemies such as the Philistines, but not in order to exact revenge. This is one of the foundations of Jewish military ethics: The people of Israel are required to fight wars only to defend themselves and to strengthen the Promised Land. The State of Israel follows this biblical mandate, as can be seen even in the name given to the Israeli army: The Israel Defense Forces, or in Hebrew, Tz’va HaHaganah L’Yisrael (צבא ההגנה לישראל).1 comment

29  And if anyone sets out to pursue you and seek your life, the life of my lord will be bound up in the bundle of life in the care of Hashem; but He will fling away the lives of your enemies as from the hollow of a sling.

כט  וַיָּקָם אָדָם לִרְדָפְךָ וּלְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת־נַפְשֶׁךָ וְהָיְתָה נֶפֶשׁ אֲדֹנִי צְרוּרָה בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֵת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְאֵת נֶפֶשׁ אֹיְבֶיךָ יְקַלְּעֶנָּה בְּתוֹךְ כַּף הַקָּלַע׃

30  And when Hashem has accomplished for my lord all the good He has promised you, and has appointed you ruler of Yisrael,

ל  וְהָיָה כִּי־יַעֲשֶׂה יְהֹוָה לַאדֹנִי כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּר אֶת־הַטּוֹבָה עָלֶיךָ וְצִוְּךָ לְנָגִיד עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

31  do not let this be a cause of stumbling and of faltering courage to my lord that you have shed blood needlessly and that my lord sought redress with his own hands. And when Hashem has prospered my lord, remember your maid.”

לא  וְלֹא תִהְיֶה זֹאת לְךָ לְפוּקָה וּלְמִכְשׁוֹל לֵב לַאדֹנִי וְלִשְׁפָּךְ־דָּם חִנָּם וּלְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֲדֹנִי לוֹ וְהֵיטִב יְהֹוָה לַאדֹנִי וְזָכַרְתָּ אֶת־אֲמָתֶךָ׃

32  David said to Avigail, “Praised be Hashem, the God of Yisrael, who sent you this day to meet me!

לב  וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד לַאֲבִיגַל בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר שְׁלָחֵךְ הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה לִקְרָאתִי׃

33  And blessed be your prudence, and blessed be you yourself for restraining me from seeking redress in blood by my own hands.

לג  וּבָרוּךְ טַעְמֵךְ וּבְרוּכָה אָתְּ אֲשֶׁר כְּלִתִנִי הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה מִבּוֹא בְדָמִים וְהֹשֵׁעַ יָדִי לִי׃

34  For as sure as Hashem, the God of Yisrael, lives—who has kept me from harming you—had you not come quickly to meet me, not a single male of Naval‘s line would have been left by daybreak.”

לד  וְאוּלָם חַי־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר מְנָעַנִי מֵהָרַע אֹתָךְ כִּי לוּלֵי מִהַרְתְּ ותבאתי [וַתָּבֹאת] לִקְרָאתִי כִּי אִם־נוֹתַר לְנָבָל עַד־אוֹר הַבֹּקֶר מַשְׁתִּין בְּקִיר׃

35  David then accepted from her what she had brought him, and he said to her, “Go up to your home safely. See, I have heeded your plea and respected your wish.”

לה  וַיִּקַּח דָּוִד מִיָּדָהּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־הֵבִיאָה לוֹ וְלָהּ אָמַר עֲלִי לְשָׁלוֹם לְבֵיתֵךְ רְאִי שָׁמַעְתִּי בְקוֹלֵךְ וָאֶשָּׂא פָּנָיִךְ׃

36  When Avigail came home to Naval, he was having a feast in his house, a feast fit for a king; Naval was in a merry mood and very drunk, so she did not tell him anything at all until daybreak.

לו  וַתָּבֹא אֲבִיגַיִל אֶל־נָבָל וְהִנֵּה־לוֹ מִשְׁתֶּה בְּבֵיתוֹ כְּמִשְׁתֵּה הַמֶּלֶךְ וְלֵב נָבָל טוֹב עָלָיו וְהוּא שִׁכֹּר עַד־מְאֹד וְלֹא־הִגִּידָה לּוֹ דָּבָר קָטֹן וְגָדוֹל עַד־אוֹר הַבֹּקֶר׃

37  The next morning, when Naval had slept off the wine, his wife told him everything that had happened; and his courage died within him, and he became like a stone.

לז  וַיְהִי בַבֹּקֶר בְּצֵאת הַיַּיִן מִנָּבָל וַתַּגֶּד־לוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ אֶת־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיָּמָת לִבּוֹ בְּקִרְבּוֹ וְהוּא הָיָה לְאָבֶן׃

38  About ten days later Hashem struck Naval and he died.

לח  וַיְהִי כַּעֲשֶׂרֶת הַיָּמִים וַיִּגֹּף יְהֹוָה אֶת־נָבָל וַיָּמֹת׃

39  When David heard that Naval was dead, he said, “Praised be Hashem who championed my cause against the insults of Naval and held back His servant from wrongdoing; Hashem has brought Naval‘s wrongdoing down on his own head.” David sent messengers to propose marriage to Avigail, to take her as his wife.

לט  וַיִּשְׁמַע דָּוִד כִּי מֵת נָבָל וַיֹּאמֶר בָּרוּךְ יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר רָב אֶת־רִיב חֶרְפָּתִי מִיַּד נָבָל וְאֶת־עַבְדּוֹ חָשַׂךְ מֵרָעָה וְאֵת רָעַת נָבָל הֵשִׁיב יְהֹוָה בְּרֹאשׁוֹ וַיִּשְׁלַח דָּוִד וַיְדַבֵּר בַּאֲבִיגַיִל לְקַחְתָּהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה׃

40  When David‘s servants came to Avigail at Carmel and told her that David had sent them to her to make her his wife,

מ  וַיָּבֹאוּ עַבְדֵי דָוִד אֶל־אֲבִיגַיִל הַכַּרְמֶלָה וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֵלֶיהָ לֵאמֹר דָּוִד שְׁלָחָנוּ אֵלַיִךְ לְקַחְתֵּךְ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה׃

41  she immediately bowed low with her face to the ground and said, “Your handmaid is ready to be your maidservant, to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.”

מא  וַתָּקָם וַתִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַפַּיִם אָרְצָה וַתֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה אֲמָתְךָ לְשִׁפְחָה לִרְחֹץ רַגְלֵי עַבְדֵי אֲדֹנִי׃

42  Then Avigail rose quickly and mounted an ass, and with five of her maids in attendance she followed David‘s messengers; and she became his wife.

מב  וַתְּמַהֵר וַתָּקָם אֲבִיגַיִל וַתִּרְכַּב עַל־הַחֲמוֹר וְחָמֵשׁ נַעֲרֹתֶיהָ הַהֹלְכוֹת לְרַגְלָהּ וַתֵּלֶךְ אַחֲרֵי מַלְאֲכֵי דָוִד וַתְּהִי־לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה׃

43  Now David had taken Ahinoam of Yizrael; so both of them became his wives.

מג  וְאֶת־אֲחִינֹעַם לָקַח דָּוִד מִיִּזְרְעֶאל וַתִּהְיֶיןָ גַּם־שְׁתֵּיהֶן לוֹ לְנָשִׁים׃

44  Shaul had given his daughter Michal, David‘s wife, to Palti son of Laish from Gallim.

מד  וְשָׁאוּל נָתַן אֶת־מִיכַל בִּתּוֹ אֵשֶׁת דָּוִד לְפַלְטִי בֶן־לַיִשׁ אֲשֶׁר מִגַּלִּים׃

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I Samuel 25

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