Daily Tanach Thursday Shmuel 1 Chapter 25 Part 1: The passing of Shmuel and the story of Naval

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

 Chapter 25: The passing of Shmuel and the story of Naval

1.      Shmuel passes away:

  • Shmuel passed away, and all the Jewish people gathered and eulogized him. They buried him in his home in Rama. After this occurred, Dovid got up and descended to the desert of Paran [due to fear that the people traveling to Ramah to eulogize Shmuel may find him.[1]]

2.      Naval celebrates the shearing of his sheep and Dovid and his men request to join the feast:

  • Naval and Avigayil: There was a man who lived in the city of Maon although his work took place in the area of Carmel. This man was very wealthy as he had 3000 sheep and 1000 goats. The following took place when he was shearing his sheep in the Carmel [and making the customary feast for his shepherds that took place on the day of the shearing[2]]. The name of this man was Naval [which stands for impurity and depravity, having gained this name due to his wicked actions and personality[3]] while his wife’s name was Avigayil. Avigayil was a very intelligent woman, as well as very beautiful. However, her husband Naval was a difficult man of evil spirit and deed. He was from the [tribe of Yehuda] from the family of Calev. [Alternatively, the verse is coming to say that he acted like a dog who barks at his own species and does not help it. Similarly, Naval, instead of helping Dovid who was from his own tribe of Yehuda, he ignored him.[4]]
  • Dovid sends messengers to request food from the feast of Naval: While Dovid was in the desert he heard that Naval was shearing his sheep [and that he would be making the accustomed feast for his shepherds]. So, Dovid sent ten of his young men to Naval with the following mission: Dovid said to the lads, “Go to the Carmel region and arrive to the area of Naval and ask him in my name as to how he is doing and if peace is upon him. You should bless him by saying that G-d should merit him to be able to shear his sheep again next year as well. You should then continue to bless him and say, that peace should be onto you and peace should be onto all of your household, and on all that belongs to you there should be peace. Continue and say to him, I have now heard that you are shearing your sheep. Now, you should know that your shepherds were with us, and we never shamed them or harmed them and gave them whatever they requested, and no flock was ever lost from them during all the days that they were in the Carmel with us [as we helped guard them and protect them[5]]. You can ask your own shepherds and they will tell you that what we are saying is true. Now, let my young men find favor in your eyes, as we have come to join your feast. Please provide us with whatever you can to your servants and to your son Dovid [as they did not have anything to eat at the time, and some say that, that day was Erev Rosh Hashanah, and they needed food for the Yom Tov meal[6]].”

[1] Metzudas Dovid 25:1

[2] Rashi 25:2

[3] See Radak 25:3

[4] Ralbag 25:3

[5] Rashi 25:7

[6] Rashi 25:8

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