1 Sam 25:2-35 David goes south to the Desert of Maon (Paran), south of Hebron (see 11 on Map 55). He sends some of his men to request food from Nabal, a wealthy man who lives at Carmel in Judah and owns large flocks of sheep and goats that David’s army have been protecting. Nabal refuses, but his wife, Abigail, averts further conflict by bringing food for David’s men.
1 Sam 25:36-44 When Nabal dies shortly afterwards, David marries Abigail.
1 Sam 26:1-25 David spares Saul's life once again when he creeps at night into Saul’s camp at the Hill of Hakilah near Jeshimon in the Judaean wilderness (the Desert of Ziph) (see 12 on Map 55).
The Judaean Wilderness near Beit Meir (Daniel Ventura)
1 Sam 27:1-12 David and his men escape and become mercenary soldiers employed by the Philistine king of Gath. David and his Hebrew mercenaries are given a base at Ziklag (see 13 on Map 55).
Hebrew mercenary soldiers (not all of whom were Israelites) were common in these times. Reference to the ‘Habiru’ (Hebrew) mercenaries occurs frequently in the ‘Amarna letters’ sent by the Philistine kings and other Palestinian allies to the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten (many of which are now preserved in the Cairo Museum and the British Museum in London).