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The First Book of Samuel

also called the First Book of the Kings

(Part Five)


The 25th Chapter
     And then Samuel died, and all Israel gathered together and lamented him, and buried him in his own house at Ramath.
     And David arose and got him to the wilderness of Pharan. And there was a man in Maon whose cattle was in Carmel, and the man was exceeding mighty, and had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife was Abigail, and was a woman of good wisdom and beautiful. But the man was churlish and of shrewd conditions and was a Calebite. And when David heard in the wilderness, that Nabal share his sheep, he sent out ten of his young men, and said unto them: get you up to Carmel and go to Nabal and greet him in my name. And thus wise say unto my friend: peace be to you, peace be to your house and peace be unto all that you hast. I have heard say that you have shearers. Now the shepherds were with us, and we did them no spite, neither was there anything missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel: ask your lads, and they will show you. Wherefore let these young men find favor in your eyes (for we come in a good season) and give I pray you whatsoever comes to your hand unto your servants and to your son David.
     And Davids young men came and told Nabal all those words in the name of David and then stopped. And Nabal answered Davids servants and said: What is David? and what is the son of Isai? there is plenty of servants now a days, that break away every man from his master. I should take my bread, my water and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it men which I know not from where (from where) they be?
     And Davids servants turned their way and went again, and came and told him according to all those sayings. Then David said unto his men: gird every man his sword about him. And they girded every man his sword on, and David thereto girded on his sword. And there followed David upon a four hundred men, and two hundred abode by the stuff.
     But one of the lads told Abigail Nabals wife saying: see David sent messengers unto our master out of the wilderness to salute him, and he railed on them. And yet the men were very good unto us and did us no displeasure, neither missed we anything, as long as were conversant with them, when we were in the fields. But they were a wall of defense unto us both by night and also by day, all the while we were with them keeping sheep. Now take heed and see what you have to do, for it is concluded to do mischief unto our master and to all his household. And he is ungracious to speak to. Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two bottles of wine and five sheep ready dressed and five measures of parched corn, and a hundred bundles of raisins and two hundred frails (reed basket) of figs, and laded them on asses, and said unto her young men: go before me, and see I come after you, and told her husband Nabal nothing thereof. And as she rode on her ass and was coming down in a slade (side of, valley) of the hill, David and his men came down against her, and she met them.
     And David said: in vain have I kept all that this fellow had in the wilderness: so that nought was missed that pertained unto him, for he has quit me with evil for good. So and so do God unto the enemies of David, as I will not leave of all that pertain to him, by the dawning of the day, anything that *pisses against the wall. (meaning anything male)
     When Abigail saw David, she hasted and lighted off her ass and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and fell at his feet and said: Let this unhappy deed be counted mine, my Lord, and let your handmaid speak in your audience, and hear the words of your handmaid. Let not my Lord regard this unthrifty man Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him. But I your handmaid saw not the young men of my Lord which you send.
     And now my Lord as sure as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, the Lord has withholden you from coming to shed blood and from avenging yourself with your own hand. Furthermore I pray God that your enemies and they that intend to do my Lord evil, may be as Nabal. And now this blessing which your handmaid has brought, let it be given unto the young men that follow my Lord.
     Forgive the trespass of your handmaid that the Lord may make my Lord a sure house, because my Lord fights the battles of the Lord, and there could none evil be found in you in all your life. And if any man rise to persecute you and to seek your soul, the soul of my Lord be bound in a bundle of life with the Lord your God. And the souls of your enemies be slung in the middle of a sling. And moreover when the Lord shall have done to my Lord all the good that he has promised you, and shall have made you ruler over Israel: then shall it be no grudge of conscience unto you or discourage of heart unto my Lord, that you shed blood causeless and did avenge yourself.
     And moreover when the Lord shall have dealt well with my Lord, then think on your handmaid. Then said David to Abigail: blessed be the Lord God of Israel which sent you this day to meet me. And blessed be your behavior, and blessed be you which has kept me this day from coming to shed blood and from avenging myself with mine own hand. For in very deed as sure as the Lord God of Israel lives which has kept me back from hurting you, except you had hasted and met me, there had not been left Nabal by the dawning of the day, a pisser against the wall. And so David received of her hand that she brought him, and said to her: go in peace to your house. And see I have obeyed your voice and have received you to grace.
     And when Abigail came to Nabal: behold, he held a feast in his house like the feast of a King, and Nabals heart was merry within him, and he was drunk a good. Wherefore she told him nought neither little nor more, until the morrow day. But in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these words, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone, and upon a ten days after the Lord smote Nabal, that he died. And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said: Blessed be the Lord that has judged the cause of my rebuke of the hand of Nabal, and has kept his servant from evil, and has turned the wickedness of Nabal again upon his own head. And David sent to commune with Abigail, to the intent to take her to his wife. And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spoke unto her saying: David sent us unto you, to take you to his wife. And she arose and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said: Behold your handmaid, to be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord. And Abigail hasted and arose and got her up upon an Ass, with five damsels of hers that went at her feet, and went after the messengers of David and was his wife. David also took Ahinoam of Jezrahel, and they were both his wives. But Saul gave Michol his daughter Davids wife to Phalti the son of Lais of Gallin.

The 26th Chapter
     After that came the Ziphites unto Saul to Gabaah saying: David hides himself in the hill of Hachilah even before the wilderness. Then Saul arose and went to the wilderness of Ziph and three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, for to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul pitched in the hill of Hachilah which lies before the wilderness, by the ways side. But David dwelt in the wilderness. And when he saw that Saul came after him into the wilderness, he sent out spies and understood that Saul was come of surety.
     Wherefore David arose and went to the place where Saul had pitched, and beheld the place where Saul lay with Abner the son of Ner his chief captain. For Saul lay within a round bank and the people pitched round about him. Then answered David and spoke to Ahimelech the Hethite and to Abisai the son of Zaruiah and brother to Joab saying: who will go down with me to Saul to the host? Abisai said: I will go down with you.
     And so David and Abisai came to the people by night. And behold, Saul lay sleeping within a round bank and his spear pitched in the ground at his head, Abner and the people lying round about him. The said Abisai to David: God has closed in your enemy unto your hand this day. Now therefore let me smite him a fellowship with my spear to the earth, even one stroke, and I will not smite him the second time. But David said to Abisai: destroy him not, for who can lay his hand on the Lords anointed and be guiltless? And David said furthermore: as sure as the Lord lives, the Lord shall smite him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall descend into battle and there perish: but the Lord keep me from laying mine hand upon the Lords anointed. Now then take a fellowship the spear that is at his head, and the cruse of water, and let us go. And David took the spear and the cruse of water that were at Sauls head, and they got them away, and no man saw or knew it or awoke. For they were all asleep. Because the Lord had sent a slumber upon them. Then David went over to the other side and stood on the top of an hill afar off (a great space being between them) and cried to the people and to Abner the son of Ner saying: Answer you not Abner? and Abner answered and said: What are you that cry to the king? and David said to Abner: are not you a man, and who is like you in Israel? But wherefore have you not kept your Lord the king? For there came one of the folk to destroy the king your Lord. It is not good that you have done. As truly as the Lord lives you are worthy to die, because you have no better kept the Lords anointed. And now see where the kings spear is and the cruse of water that were at his head.
     Then Saul knew Davids voice and said: is this your voice my son David? and David said: it is my voice my Lord king. And he said thereto wherefore does my lord persecute his servant? for what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand? Now hear therefore (my Lord king) the words of your servant. If the Lord have stirred you up against me, he shall smell the savour of sacrifice. But and if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the Lord. For they have cast me out from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying: from here, now and go serve other Gods. And yet I hope my blood shall not fall to the earth before the face of the Lord, though the King of Israel be come out to hunt a flea, as men hunt the partridges in the mountains. Then said Saul: I have sinned, come again my son David for I will do you no more harm, because my soul was precious in your eyes this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have erred exceeding much. And David answered and said: Behold the Kings spear, let one of the young men come over and fetch it. The Lord reward every mans righteousness and faith: for the Lord delivered you into my hand this day, but I would not lay my hand upon the Lords anointed. And as your life was much set by this time in mine eyes: so be my life set by in the eyes of the Lord, that he deliver me out of all tribulation. And Saul said to David: Blessed are you my son David: for you shall be a doer and also able to bring to an end. And so David went his way, and Saul turned to his place again.

The 27th Chapter
     Then thought David in his heart: I may perish one day or other by the hands of Israel. There is no better for me, than to flee into the land of the Philistines, that Saul of very despair to find me, may cease to seek me any more in all the coasts of Israel: for so I may escape his hand. And David arose and he and the six hundred men that were with him went unto Achis, the son of Maoch, King of Geth. And David dwelt with Achis at Geth, both he and his men, every man with his household, and David with his two wives: Ahinoam the Jezrahelite and Abigail Nabals wife of Carmel. And when it was told Saul that David was fled to Geth, he sought no more for him. And David said unto Achis: If I have found grace in your eyes, let me have a place in some town in the fields, that I may dwell there. For what should your servant dwell in the head city of the kingdom with you. Then Achis gave him Zikeleg the same day for which cause Zikeleg pertains unto the kings of Juda unto this day. And the time that David dwelt in the country of the Philistines, was a year and four months. And David and his men went and ran upon the Gesurites, the Gersites and the Amalekites: which nations were from the beginning the inhabiters of the land, as men go to Sur, and so forth to Egypt. And David smote the land and left neither man nor woman alive, and took the sheep, the oxen, the asses, camels, and clothes, and removed and came to Achis. And Achis said: have you not been a roving this day? And David answered: yes in the south of Juda, and in the south of the Jezrahelites, and in the south of the Kenites. And David saved neither man nor woman alive to bring to Geth, for fear least they should tell on them saying: so did David and so is his manner all the while he dwelt in the country of the Philistines. And Achis believed David saying: he has made him self to stink unto his people Israel, and thereto he shall be my servant for ever.

The 28th Chapter
     And it chanced in those days, that the Philistines gathered their host together to war, intending to fight with Israel. And Achis said to David: Be sure, you shall go out with me in the host, and your men also. And David said again to Achis: then you shall know, what your servant can do. And Achis said to David: then I will make you keeper of my head for ever. Samuel was then dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramath his own city. And Saul had put the women that had spirits of prophecy and the Sorcerers out of the land. And the Philistines gathered together and came and pitched in Sunam. And Saul and all Israel gathered together and pitched in Gelboe. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart was sore astonied. And Saul asked counsel of the Lord: But the Lord answered him not, neither by dream not by *Urim, nor yet by prophets. *Urim: from the Hebrew; light.
     Then said Saul unto his servants: seek me a woman that is mistress of a spirit of prophecy that I may go to her and ask of her. And his servants said to him: see, there is a wife that has a spirit of Prophecy in her possession at Endor. And Saul changed his clothes and put on other raiment, and then went he and two men with him, and they came to the wife by night. And he said: prophesy unto me by the spirit, and bring me him up whom I shall name unto you. And the wife said unto him: Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has destroyed the women that had prophesying spirits, and the Sorcerers out of the land. Wherefore then lay you a net for my soul to kill me? And Saul swore to her by the Lord saying: As surely as the Lord lives, there shall no harm chance you for this thing. Then said the wife: whom shall I fetch up unto you? and he said: Bring me up Samuel. When the woman saw Samuel she cried with a loud voice and spoke to Saul saying: why have you mocked me? for you are Saul. And the king said unto her, be not afraid. But what see you. And the wife said unto Saul: I see a God ascending up out of the earth. And he said: what fashion is he of? And the woman said: there comes up an old man with a mantle upon him. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and stooped with his face to the ground and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul: why have you unquieted me, to make me be brought up? And Saul answered: I am sore encumbered. For the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me and answered me no more, neither by prophets, neither by dreams. And therefore have I called you, to tell me what I shall do. Then said Samuel: wherefore do you ask of me? while the Lord is gone from you and is your enemy, the Lord will do to you as he said by my hand. For the Lord will rent the kingdom out of your hand, and give it your neighbor David, because you obeyed not the voice of the Lord, nor executed his fierce wrath upon the Amalekites. Therefore has the Lord done this unto you this day. And moreover the Lord will deliver Israel with you, into the hands of the Philistines. And tomorrow shall you and your sons be with me, and the Lord shall give the host of Israel into the hands of the Philistines. Then Saul fell straightway flat on the earth as long as he was, and was sore a dread of the words of Samuel.
     And thereto there was no strength in him, for he had not eaten all the day and the night before. And the woman came unto Saul and saw that he was sore troubled, and said unto him: See, your handmaid has obeyed your voice and have put my soul in your hand, and have hearkened unto your words which you saidst unto me. Now therefore hearken you also unto the voice of your handmaid, and let me set a morsel of bread before you, and eat, and get the strength to go your journey. But he refused it and said: I will not eat. But his servants and the wife together compelled him, that he heard their voice. And so he arose from the earth and sat him on a bed. The woman had a fat calf in the house, and that she hasted and killed it, and took flour and kneaded it and did bake him sweet cakes, and brought them before Saul and before his servants. And when they had eaten, they stood up, and went away the same night.

The 29th Chapter
     The Philistines gathered all their hosts together unto Aphec: And Israel pitched by a fountain in Jezrahel. And the Lords of the Philistines went forth by hundreds and by thousands. But David and his men came behind with Achis. Then said the Lords of the Philistines: what are yonder Hebrews? And Achis said unto the Lords of the Philistines: Is not this David the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which has been with me days or years, and I have found no fault in him since he fled unto me unto this day. Nevertheless the Lords of the Philistines were wroth with him and said unto him: Make this fellow return, and let him go again to his place which you have appointed him. For he shall not go with us to battle, least he be an adversary to us in the battle. For wherewith could he better obtain the favor of his master, than upon the heads of our men. Is not this David to whom they sang in dances: Saul slew his thousand, but David his ten thousand? Then Achis called David and said unto him: As sure as the Lord lives you are honest, and it pleases me well that you should accompany me in the host, for I have found none evil with you since you came to me unto this day: Nevertheless the Lords of the Philistines favor you not: wherefore return and go in peace, that you displease not the Lords of the Philistines. And David said again to Achis: Why what have I done? and what have you found in your servant as long as I have been with you unto this day? that I may not go fight against the enemies of my Lord the king?
     Achis answered and said to David: I know well you please me, as it were an Angel of God. Notwithstanding the Lords of the Philistines have said, that you shall not go with them to battle. Wherefore rise up early in the morning with your masters servants that are come with you. And when you be up early as soon as you have light, depart. And so David and his men rose early to depart in the morning, and to return into the land of the Philistines. And the Philistines went up to Jezrahel.

The 30th Chapter
     But before David and his men were come to Zikeleg the third day, the Amalekites had run in a running upon the south and upon Zikeleg, and had smitten Zikeleg and burnt it with fire, and had taken the women that were therein prisoners, both small and great: but slew not a man, save carried them with them and went their ways. When David and his men came to the city: behold, it was burnt with fire, and their wives, their sons and their daughters were taken prisoners. Then David and the people that was with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they could weep no more. And Davids two wives were taken prisoners also: Ahinoam the Jezrahelite and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was in a shrewd strait: for the people intended to stone him because the hearts of the people were vexed for their sons and their daughters.
     But David took a good courage to him in the Lord his God and said to Abiathar the priest Ahimelechs son: bring me the Ephod. And Abiathar brought the Ephod to David. And David asked the Lord saying: shall I follow after this company? and shall I overtake them? And he said to him: follow, for you shall overtake them and recover the prey.
     And he went and the six hundred men that were with him, and they came to the river Besor, where a part of them abode. But David and four hundred men followed: But two hundred abode behind being too weary to go over the river Besor. Then they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David and gave him bread to eat and water to drink, and gave him a few figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten his spirits came again to him: for he had eaten no bread nor drunk no water in three days and three nights. Then David said unto him: to whom belong you and from where are you? and the lad answered: I am an Egyptian and servant to an Amalekite: and my master left me behind, because it is three days a gone that I fell sick: we came a roving upon the south of Cerethis, and upon them of Juda and on the south of Caleb. And we burnt Zikeleg with fire. And David said to him: can you bring me to this company? And he said: swear unto me by God, that you will neither kill me nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring you unto them. And when he had brought him: see, they lay scattered abroad upon the earth, eating and drinking and triumphing over all the great prey that they had carried away out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Juda.
     And David laid upon them from the twilight until the evening on the morrow: so that there escaped not a man, save four hundred young men which rode away upon camels and fled. And David recovered all the Amalekites had carried away, and his two wives: so that there was no person lacking small or great, son or daughter, or of the spoil of all that they had taken away, David brought all again. And David took all the sheep, and the oxen. And they drove the cattle before, and said: this is Davids prey. And then David came to the two hundred men that were too weary for to follow David which they made to abide at the river Besor. And they came to meet David and the people that were with him. And when David came to the people, he saluted them. Then answered all the wicked and the unthrifts of the men that went with David, and said: because they went not with us, therefore shall none of the prey that we have recovered, be given unto them, save to every man his wife and his children: which let them carry away and be walking.
     Then said David: you shall not do so (my brethren) with that the Lord has given us, and has preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us, into our hands. For who should hearken unto you in this matter? But as his part is that goes and fights, so good shall his part be, that tarrys by the stuff, they shall part it alike. And so from that day forward was that made a law and a custom in Israel, and endures to this day. When David came to Zikeleg, he sent of his prey unto the elders of Juda and to his friends saying: see there a blessing for you, of the spoil of the enemies of the Lord. He sent to them of Bethel: to them of south Ramath: to them of Gether: to them of Aroer: to them of Sephamoth: to them of Esthamo: to them of Rachal: to them of the cities of the Jerhameelites: to them of the cities of the Kenites: to them of Haramah: to them of Borasan: to them of Athach: to them of Hebron, and to all places where David and his men were wont to haunt.

The 31st Chapter
     And as the Philistines fought against Israel, the men of Israel fled away from the Philistines, and fell down dead in mount Gelboe. And the Philistines followed after Saul and his sons, and slew Jonathas, Abinadab and Melchisua Sauls sons. And the battle went sore against Saul, in so much that shooters with bows had found him, and he was sore wounded of the shooters. Then said Saul unto his harness bearer: draw out your sword and thrust me through therewith least these uncircumcised come thrust me through and make a mocking stock of me. But his harness bearer would not, for he was sore afraid. Wherefore Saul took a sword and fell upon it. And when his harness bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword and died with him. And so Saul died and his three sons and his harness bearer, and thereto all his men, that same day together.
     When the men of Israel that were of the other side of the valley, and they of the other side Jordan, heard that the men of Israel were put to flight, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they left the cities, and ran away, and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. On the morrow when the Philistines were come to strip them that were slain, they found Saul and his sons lying in mount Gelboe. And they cut off his head and stripped him out of his harness, and sent unto the land of the Philistines everywhere, to publish in the houses of their Gods and to the people. And they hanged up his harness in the house of Astharoth, but they hanged up his carcase on the walls of Bethsan. When the inhabiters of Jabes in Galaad heard thereof what the Philistines had done to Saul, they arose as many as were men of war and went all night and took the carcase of Saul and the carcases of his sons from the walls of Bethsan and brought them to Jabes and burnt them there and took their bones and buried them under a Tree at Jabes, and fasted seven days.

The end of the first book of Samuel
which they commonly call the first kings


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