Abigail

 

Introduction   I Sam 25:20

 

This world views virtue in women as that of wealth and beauty. Think of the most influential women in this world and immediately our minds think of the Hollywood elite. Supermodels, movie stars and singers. The biblical view is Abigail besides being beautiful Abigail was full of wisdom and acted upon on to spare life not regarding herself. 

 

 

1.      Nabalís Sin    (I Sam 25:20)

        Nabalís name means a fool; he was a man that lack understanding and was very rude in his speech.

        A descendent of Caleb and a very wealthy man, God had blessed Nabal with much riches and a good wife.

        Riches do not make men wise or respectful at times they are rude and foolish (Alec Baldwin).

  i.      David requests a blessing from Nabal for Davidís protection of his land and flocks.

ii.      Nabal rejects Davidís request and insults David in the process (vs. 10 & 11)

iii.      Nabal knew who David was but acted like he was a stranger, who is David, called him a slave.

iv.      David was anointed by Samuel to be King of Israel. (1 SAM. 16:12-13)

v.      Nabal railed the servants of David; these were soldiers that were on the run.  

vi.      David endured Saul trying to kill him plus the hardship of being on the run, now Nabal, he popped.

        (vs. 21 & 22) David sets himself to kill all the family of Nabal; this was not in Davidís character.

        This brings us to the Hand of Godís mercy by the mouth of a woman.

 

2.      Abigailís Actions 

        Interesting to read in scripture that a servant told Abigail of what Nabal did to David, insults.

  i.      Abigail reacts immediately, a woman that understands the current danger.

ii.      The servant also knew the danger and reports to Abigail because her knew she would do something.

iii.      Knowing the sin of Nabal action is taken, she prepares and offering to King David.

iv.      Wisdom alone is never enough we must act upon the knowledge God has given us. (Romans 2:13)

1.      Abigailís life was devotion, wisdom and duty; this is a great recipe for the church.

2.      Today most women would have agreed with their husbands or nagged them instead of action.

 

 

3.      Abigailís Wisdom

        We can agree she is wise but also an excellent communicator, when confronting David. (vs. 23-31)

  i.      Abigail appeals to Davidís mercy and takes blame for her husband, does not defend his foolishness.

        She appeals to Davidís authority and favor with God, David is anger and seeks blood, frustration no doubt.

   i.      She deals with Davidís issues (enemies) surely she was in tune with the Kingdom

 ii.      This women sought God and was aware of the Lordís battles, she could identify Davidís plight.

        David remember your calling as the ruler of Israel, protector yes even Nabalís.

        No doubt David lost track and she guided him back to his kind heart. (Romans 12:16-25)   

  i.      She reminded him of the calling, remember God buddy, your calling donít shed blood.

ii.      Men think with their fist and react with violent, youíre better than this David, her words encourage.

iii.      Alexander the Great kill Cleitus his friend and lover, wrath 

iv.      We need more Abigailís in the church of Jesus Christ,

v.      David recognized Godís sent her to stop him from sinning (vs. 32-34)

Women you hold the keys of life if your Abigail

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1 Samuel 25

25:1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

2 And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.

3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.

4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.

5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:

6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.

7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.

8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.

9 And when David's young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.

10 And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.

11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?

12 So David's young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.

13 And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.

14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.

15 But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:

16 They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.

17 Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

18 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 an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.

19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.

20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.

21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.

22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,

24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.

25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.

26 Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.

27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.

28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.

29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.

30 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;

31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:

33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

34 For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.

36 And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.

37 But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.

38 And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died.

39 And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head, And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.

40 And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee to take thee to him to wife.

41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.

42 And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.

43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives.

44 But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim.

KJV

 

1 Samuel 16:12-13

12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah

Romans 2:13

13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Romans 12:16-21

16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Numbers 13:30

30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

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http://www.dragonrest.net/histories/alexander.html

The Confessions of Alexander The Great: 33 ... Alexander kills officer Cleitus the Black during ... Death of Hephaestion, Alexander's lifelong friend and lover ...

Another defining moment that has been used to serve as an example in the arguments of all three of the schools of thought on Alexander is the murder of Cleitus the Black. Cleitus was the brother of Alexander's old nurse and one of the two commanders of the Companion Cavalry. He was one of the old-guard who had fought under Philip and who had known Alexander his whole life. At a banquet just before Cleitus was to be sent to become governor of Bacteria, disaster struck. All of the sources agree on the bare-bones of the story as follows: on the Macedonian feast-day for Dionysus, Alexander had a feast in honor of Castor and Pollux. At this feast, everyone overindulged in wine and the gathering became quite drunk. Tempers were roused when some comments were made making fun of some of the old Macedonian commanders who had not managed to successfully take a city without Alexander's direct assistance. Cleitus became infuriated and began shouting at Alexander about his "oriental ways" and reminding him of how he (Cleitus) had saved his life at the battle of Granicus. Cleitus went on to say that Alexander was carried to success by his Macedonian troops through no contribution of his (Alexander's) own, and that Philip had been a much greater man than Alexander. The King broke into a fury and threw an apple at Cleitus. Ptolemy pulled Cleitus from the room while several officers physically restrained Alexander. Unfortunately, Cleitus came back with a final insult and Alexander broke loose, grabbed a spear, and stabbed Cleitus through the heart. Cleitus fell dead at Alexander's feet and the king would have killed himself with the same spear if he had not been restrained from doing so by his officers and friends

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 When we read the bible about women, Abigail, is a good example of a woman of faith.

Abigail was Nabal's wife who latter became Davidís. In this Bible study, the scripture narative unfolds a God loving character and an example of prudence.As we will read the Bible together we will let it open up to us the character of Abigail and the lessons we can learn from this woman of faith in the Bible. Abigail is mentioned at 1 Samuel chapter 25.Please read the whole chapter once, to get the whole story first.

Facts:

The main characters of the story are:

Abigail, David and his men and Nabal and his men.

The story occurs after Samuel's death, while Saul is still King and David is a fugitive.

Definition of names:

Abigail: her name in the Hebrew means "the father's joy" you can check it at the wikipedia entry for Abigail

Nabal: his name means 'a fool'

David: his name means 'beloved'

Now, let us read the story together.

1SAM 25:2 And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.

The first thing the story tells us is that he was a rich man. Let us remember the words of our Lord at Mth 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. Note that He does not say it is impossible, He just says 'hardly'. Why? Because rich men trust in their riches more than they trust God.

In the times and lands of the Bible, to have 3000 sheep and 1000 goats made you extremely wealthy, a big stock keeper and not only that, the Word says 'he was very great', that implying fame as well.

1SAM 25:3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.

Now we get the names of both and a small but precise characterisation from the Book itself. What is the first thing we know about Abigail? that she had good understanding. Understanding of what you may ask, one thing is for sure, of the laws and Word of God, as we will see later. The Bible also tells us that she was a beautiful lady. What a nice combination, nice and smart!

ButÖ and whenever we see a Ďbutí it always contradicts the previous statement, he was churlish. What does that mean? It means he was rude and boorish he had a bad disposition, and he was inclined to anger or bad feelings with overtones of menace. Also it says that he was evil in his doings. In a word, a bad man with bad manners, as bad outwardly as he was inwardly. What this tells us about Abigail? the exact opposite, that she was good with good manners.

Nabal was of the house of Caleb, a disgrace of his family heritage, but true to the meaning of the word "Caleb" which sometimes signifies a dog the Septuagint version renders it, a doggish man, 'Kunikos - Κυνικός' in the Greek, which is what cynic literally means.

1SAM 25:4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.

1SAM 25:5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:

1SAM 25:6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.

1SAM 25:7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.

1SAM 25:8 Ask thy young men, and they will show thee. Wherefore let the young men find favor in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.

David pleads to have the same kindness Nabal's shepherds had received from him. The shepherds know David and his men. We can think that not only David's men did not harm those shepherds but that they protected them too in the wilderness. David is so polite and so submissive; he calls his men Nabal's servants and himself his son. He does not ask for anything specific neither demands it. Just being an oriental and obeying simple hospitality rules Nabal was supposed to feed the strangers.

1SAM 25:9 And when David's young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.

1SAM 25:10 And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.

Look at this man's answer! He dares to ask 'who is David', as like he did not know. Imagine me claiming I do not even know you and at the same time knowing even your fatherís name. All Israel knew David. He does not only insult them by implying that they are runaways but he personally attacks David by being ironic, implying his relationship with Saul. Being arrogant is the least I can say for this man.

1SAM 25:11 Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?

Nabal makes such a big deal on the property he had in the provisions of his table. He sounds like many today ĎMay I not do what I want with my own?í It reminds me of 1Co 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

Nabal uses 3 times the word ĎIí and 4 times the word Ďmyí in one sentence, overemphasizing his possessive attitude. He thinks he is the lord of all he has, like we do, many times today. He forgot that he is nothing but a steward and he definitely glories like he did not receive it, but like he earned it.

Once again he states that he does not know them.

1SAM 25:12 So David's young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.

What I like both in this verse and in verse 9 is the fact that Davidís men carry the message verbatim, with no comments of their own, not their own version of the story but the truth.

1SAM 25:13 And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.

Now David is pissed, rightfully we may say. But is he really right?We know from Rom 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge1 not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Even if that was written centuries after, David knew Deu 32:35a To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense.

Years later he understood it and wrote it in the book of Psalms, Psa 94:1a O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth;

Now we must bear in mind that David like all other Israelites knew the law. He knew that he was not supposed to get angry that fast.

He proved he knew it by not killing Saul when he had the chance. In 1Sa 24:4-22, just in the previous chapter, he withheld his wrath, but now he cannot. Wars start like that even in our days, between nations, companies, friends, and even couples. People rush into being judges and executors of judgment instead of letting God do it.

1SAM 25:14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.

Now Abigail is getting in the picture. One of Nabalís men tells her what happened, one of her own employees. Could she know on her own? No way, she was a woman, and in those times she could not interfere, neither would Davidís men address her.

Stop and think for a moment why this young man went to her. He wouldnít dare to go to Nabal. Letís bring the story to the 21st century for a while. You work in a company and you know you boss is nasty and short tempered and just lost a deal that can cost him the companyís existence. But you know his wife, you know she is good and she cares about the future and maybe she can make it up. You must be sure she will hear you and must have faith in her; otherwise you would not go, right?

It might be a silly example, but put yourself in the young manís shoes or to Abigailís and expand the parable to any situation you might be into, through the rest of the story.

1SAM 25:15 But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:

1SAM 25:16 They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.

He further explains all the background of the time they were together with Davidís army. Abigail as the rest of Israel knew who David was, but even she might wander what happened and Saul chases him like a fugitive. She might wonder if his heart is still straight with God, so the young manís words assure her.

1SAM 25:17 Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

Now the young man makes a suggestion and explains the threat. ĎAll his householdí includes Abigail too. Here we see another characteristic of Nabal, Ďa man cannot speak to himí.

I bet his wife already knew that well. It might not be Ďpolitically correctí for the young man to accuse his boss or to suggest to the wife to take action on her own, and if the Pharisees were around they would accuse him for breaking the law and making evil suggestions.

What a lesson for us to learn to see the spirit of the Word more than the letter. Calling a Hebrew an idolater was a big accusation and even more to his own wife.

Let us see what Abigail did. Did she accuse the young man? Did she said Ďhow dare you?í did she said Ďwell thatís none of my businessí did she went straight ahead to file a complain for her employee, or went to Ďstraight things outí with Nabal? She knew very well what kind of a man was her husband, so what she did?

1SAM 25:18 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 an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.

She did not argue at all, she did not talk about it, neither had she panicked. She went straight to action. She took 5 sheep out of 3000. I donít think Nabal even noticed that. Stop and do a little counting, think about it in todayís terms.

That was a lot of stuff she prepared. If you think the two bottles of wine were not much, they were not our type of bottles but usually from goatskins, capable of holding a great quantity. Just the fact that they needed more than one donkey to carry all this means that it was not being sufficient to carry all this provision, so they needed many. I wonder when she prepared all that!

It makes me think that she had provisions for guests, just in case. That fact alone shows us how thoughtful she was. A great sign of the kind of manager, planner and organizer she was.

1SAM 25:19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.

Now if we want to be legalistic we will find fault with her. We will call her disobedient, secretive, not submissive, and furtive. It is so easy to accuse when we donít see the whole picture and when we are not in the other personís shoes. We might attribute to Abigail even evil motives.

Somebody might even quote Exo 23:8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous. It is so easy to judge by Ďchapter and verseí, so easy to be legalistic. Thanks God she wasnít.

It is the same Bible that says at Pro 18:16 A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men. Abigailís provisions arrived before her, so they made some room for her.

It is easy to find contradictions in the Bible, if you search for them, but they arenít any. Like Peter said at 2Pe 3:16b in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction. The Bible itself claims not to be an easy book, but not an incomprehensible one either.

Pro 17:23 A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment. We need a holistic perspective of the Bible, and to read between the lines sometimes in order to see the truth. Neither Abigail nor David was wicked but Abigail was surely prudent.

She is about to atone for Nabal's denial of David's request.

1SAM 25:20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert on the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.

Letís see what David was thinking in the meantime.

1SAM 25:21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.

How many times have you felt like that? ĎIn vainí, Ďfor nothingí, unfair, unjustÖ just get in his place for a moment.

1SAM 25:22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

He is determined to kill all of them. He even thinks he will accomplish Godís will. You know, the Pharisees thought exactly the same when they planed to kill Jesus, so did the crusaders when they killed Ďthe infidelsí.We can see however from the remaining of the story that oaths cannot, bind us to that which is sinful.

David indeed solemnly vows the death of Nabal. He did evil to make such a vow, but he would have done worse if he had actually performed it. I know some people teach that we should be careful of what we say; they preach about Ďblessings and cursesí; about the power of our own words. Yes, words do have power but they are not bigger than God nor the devil.

We should be careful not to attribute more power to our own words than they worth.

1SAM 25:23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,

Right at this point of our story I found an old painting Iíd like you to see.
Abigail woman of the Bible

"Image copyright History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries."

She fell on her face and bowed herself to the ground. That behavior is very submissive and very humble, a petitioner's place. Just by looking at her posture we see respect and reverence to the person of David.

At those times dismounting in presence of a superior was the highest token of respect that could be given; and it is still an act of homage to the great. You are going to get out of your car if you are going to meet the president arenít you?

Both her attitude and her body language makes the fullest amend for the disrespect her husband shown.Many times we should think if our body language and the carrying of ourselves are appropriate to the different situations we encounter.

1SAM 25:24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.

What are her first words? ďupon me let this iniquity be.Ē Impressive by all means. She and her husband are one flesh, so from one viewpoint it is her iniquity as well. On the other hand as Eze 18:20 says The soul that sinneth, it shall die.

She acts just like Jesus, she gets in the sinnerís place. Isn't that Christian? To love the sinner but hate the sin! She acknowledges the fact as iniquity and she accepts both the guilt and the punishment. She surrenders. She asks just for one think, to be heard and she calls her self his handmaid.

She humbly begs of David that he will give her the hearing. A chance to speak. Not to say excuses (otherwise she wouldn't admit it was a wrongdoing) neither to blame anyone else.

1SAM 25:25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.

Now what would you say? Oh, she is accusing her husband! Oh, she calls him a fool! Is that what you are saying or that she just states the facts. How many times have you seen women (and men too) speaking plain lies so that they donít sound unbiblical.

Women being abused, women living with alcoholic husbands or a brutal ones, women living in Ďhellí and not daring to say a word, for the fear of sinning. It is not a sin to say the truth, it is not a sin to state the facts. If you never acknowledge a problem how will you ever be helped?

By the same means, if I never accept the fact that I am a sinner, how will I get saved? If I donít confess my sin how will it be forgiven?

What else does Abigail say? She did not see them. What does this mean? If she saw them, this wouldnít happen. She does mention her own ignorance of the matter. She does not excuse her husband's conduct, she imputes it to his natural weakness and want of understanding. She does not blame him, she just says the truth.

1SAM 25:26 Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.

She does not depend upon her own reasoning, but on God's mercy and grace, to soften David. She speaks as it has already been done. Isnít that faith? Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. She takes it for granted that she has gained her point already; and she thanks God for it!

She slightly reproves him too by saying that he would avenge with his own hand; and she offers comfort by saying that David's enemies might be as unable to resist him as Nabal was; and be fools too.Pro 18:7 A fool's mouth {is} his destruction, and his lips {are} the snare of his soul.

1SAM 25:27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.

She presents her offer and she calls the gifts a blessing, but speaks of them as unworthy of David's acceptance, and therefore she suggests they may be given to the young men that followed him. Let us not forget that this is the food they asked in the first place.

1SAM 25:28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.

Once more she accepts the blame, she does not say 'forgive Nabal' but 'forgive me'. And then what she says sounds like prophecy. Some may say flattering or compliments, but faith sounds just like that sometimes.

Foretelling the Ďsure houseí of David and attributing to God, thus reminding him again that it is God who makes it and not us. A remembrance of the promise that God made to David and God himself later confirms it by the prophet Ahijah speaking to Jeroboam 1Ki 11:38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.

She goes on to say that David fights the battles of the Lord at a time he was persecuted as a traitor, thus acknowledging his anointing from God. It is interesting that by saying 'evil hath not been found in thee all thy days' she once again implies that doing what he had in mind was going to be evil. It is like saying 'since you never done that evil before, why do it now?' Up to that moment we also know that 1Ki 15:5 David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord

Now we will see how much she knew what was going on with his life.

1SAM 25:29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.

She knows all about Saul. She knows David is persecuted and his life is in danger. Once again her words are words of faith. She does not say 'I wish God...' but '...shall be.' She speaks with assurance and confidence and what a nice, vivid, mind picture she uses. David bundled with God and his enemies vanished away; reminding him that with a sling and a stone he smote the Philistine giant.

No wonder David wrote years latter in Psa 66:9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.

She continues with the same assurance.

1SAM 25:30 And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;

She knows very well what God said about David and that He is responsible for bringing it to pass.

1SAM 25:31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offense of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid. She lists of some of the consequences of sinning; not only for David but for us as well:

"Grief" - bad conscience, remorse, regret and all the like and "offense of heart"

[(Βδελυγμός και σκάνδαλον- bdeligmos and skandalo in the Greek.) The first word is usually translated as abomination and the second as scandal]

How interesting that the Christian today has available the cleansing of his conscious via Jesus blood, as stated in Heb 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The very mentioning of what he was about to do, namely to shed blood and to avenge himself, would be enough. Later by his reply, we see that it affected him.

If we avenge ourselves it would afterwards be a grief and an offence of heart to us. Many times we done things in heat which we wish to be undone; and it just does not happen! The sweetness of revenge is soon turned into bitterness. Her words warn him exactly of that and of the sin he was about to commit.

She also asks for remembrance. Doesnít this remind you of the thief dying next to Jesus?

Lu 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom

She implies that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and despicable an enemy as Nabal. She once again foretells the glorious end of David's present troubles.

She says "when", again with words of faith and not "if". The Lord will preserve your life; therefore it will be both unjustly and unnecessarily to take away the lives of any, especially of the people of God, Israelites.

When we are tempted to sin, we should consider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards. That enough can stop us ;)

1SAM 25:32 And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:

He thanks God. Isn't that good old David? Meek, humble and thankful. He attributes her coming to God not to her own wit.

1SAM 25:33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

Years later David writes in Psalms: Pro 25:12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

He first acknowledges the advice, not the gift. He confesses his sin (or about to do sin) and he admits that her advice kept him from sinning. I wonder how many of us would say that today... You hear so many people afterwards saying 'Oh, God kept me from doing this, Oh I managed to make it with God's help' and never mention the human, by which God worked. "God gets the credit but I get the glory" type of attitude. Thanks God neither Abigail nor David did that; and thanks God the Bible is full of examples both to follow and to avoid.

1SAM 25:34 For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

He knows that if it wasnít for Abigailís intervention he would be a murderer. He didn't mind the reproof and as he grew older he even seeks it.Psa 141:5 Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. The instance was one of his prayers later in the Psalms. Psa 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

After all that he finally accepts the gifts.

1SAM 25:35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.

Abigail gets her first request: to be heard and even more than that, she was accepted.

When and if we trust God we have a wonderful promise to claim.

Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us

And God surely did more than what Abigail asked or thought as we will see later.

Now the story shifts to her again.

1SAM 25:36 And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.

Nabal was dead drunk and had a party at the same time his life and all his belongings were at stake. Who knows? maybe he was also celebrating how well he sent David's men away, how big he was, how clever he was that he managed not to give them a thing and so on.

Abigail comes home and it is so strange that all this time he neither missed her nor the provisions she took to David; the scriptures don't even mention if he searched for her. He did not even bother to see where his wife was. What a husband :(

By the time she arrives home he had little thinking how near he was to ruin by David, whom he had foolishly made his enemy. Like all sinners, he is most secure when he is most in danger and destruction is at the door. No wonder Paul centuries later says to the Thessalonians believers :1Th 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Once again Abigail shows how wise she is. To give good advice to those that are in drink is to cast pearls before swine; it is better to stay till they are sober. I do not know how many times you tried to talk to a drunken person, but they don't listen to a thing nor do they remember.

1SAM 25:37 But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.

I am amazed how fast alcohol got out of him!Now that he is sober he hears the news and he has a heart attack or maybe a stroke. I do not know what the medical diagnosis was, neither the Holy scriptures tell us.

No wonder. Was if from terror, from gladness that he was spared, who knows? Did he repent? no way. Was he full of sorrow? yes he was, but what kind of sorrow was that?

2Co 7:10 For godly, sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

A few days later he died.

1SAM 25:38 And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died.

Many people do not like this verse and all others that say things like that, but the fact still remains that this is what it is written, whether we like it or not. David did not kill him, but God brought it to pass.

1SAM 25:39 And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.

Here there is no lamentation made for Nabal. He departed without being lamented. David, when he heard the news of his death, gave God thanks for it. Can you imagine! you die and people thank God for it.

He once again remembers that revenge is in God's hands and not to ours. 'The LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head', is something we should remember. If we trust God and not avenge ourselves the evil our enemies plan will turn against them.

David surely remembered Abigail. He asks her to be his wife.

1SAM 25:40 And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.

1SAM 25:41 And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.

Now, with no Nabal between, we can see her true humble spirit and the kind of treatment Davidís men would have had the first time. No hypocrisy for her.

She received the offer with great modesty and humility, thinking herself unworthy of the honor, yet having such a respect for David that she would gladly be one of the servants, to wash the feet of the other servants.

None is so fit to be preferred as those that can humble themselves this way, as our Lord said: Mar 10:43b but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister.

And once again she is fast.

1SAM 25:42 And Abigail hasted, and arose and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.

She married him in faith. He had not a house of his own, she left the fortune she had from Nabal and beleived all that God promised to David. She was willing to live in the wilderness with him.

Like those who join themselves to Christ we must be willing now to suffer with him, believing that we shall reign with him after. 2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:

And this is the end of the scripture story.

What can we conclude for this bible woman, Abigail in this bible study?

When we face sudden evil, or any situation in which we do not have the time to prepare, our true self surfaces; and the self we see from Abigail is a remarkable one. A true woman of faith.

She loved God and His word.

She knew the spirit of the law and not just the letter.

She was prudent and caring.

She was hospitable.

She had respect for leadership.

She had hope and faith in the Lord God of Israel.

She cared so that her Ďbrotherí did not commit evil.

She loved.

Jam 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

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1 Samuel 25:2-11; 1 Samuel 25:12-17; 1 Samuel 25:18-31; 1 Samuel 25:32-35

1 Samuel 25:2-11  

David sends to Nabal

 Here begins the story of Nabal.

I. A short account of him, who and what he was (v. 2-3), a man wee should never have heard of if there had not happened some communication between him and David. Observe,

1. His name: Nabal-a fool; so it signifies. It was a wonder that his parents would give him that name and an ill omen of what proved to be this character. Yet indeed we all of us deserve to be so called when we come into the world, for man is born like the wild ass's colt and foolishness is bound up in our hearts.

2. His family: He was of the house of Caleb, but was indeed of another spirit. He inherited Caleb's estate; for Maon and Carmel lay near Hebron, which was given to Caleb (Joshua 15:54-55; 14:14), but he was far from inheriting his virtues. He was a disgrace to his family, and then it was no honour to him. Degeneranti genus opprobrium-A Good extraction is a reproach to him who degenerates from it. The Septuagint, and some other ancient versions, read it appellatively, not, He was a Calebite, but He was a dogged man, of a currish disposition, surly and snappish, and always snarling. He was anthropos kynikos - a man that was a cynic.

3. His wealth: He was very great, that is, very rich (for riches make men look great in the eye of the world), otherwise, to one that takes his measures aright, he really looked very mean. Riches are common blessings, which God often gives to Nabals, to whom he gives neither wisdom nor grace.

4. His wife-Abigail, a woman of great understanding. Her name signifies, the joy of her father; yet he could not promise himself much joy of her when he married her to such a husband, enquiring more after his wealth than after his wisdom. Many a child is thrown away upon a great heap of the dirt of worldly wealth, married to that, and to nothing else that is desirable. Wisdom is good with an inheritance, but an inheritance is good for little without wisdom. Many an Abigail is tied to a Nabal; and if it be so, be her understanding, like Abigail's, ever so great, it will be little enough for her exercises.

5. His character. He had no sense either of honour or honesty; not of honour, for he was churlish, cross, and ill-humoured; not of honesty, for he was evil in his doings, hard and oppressive, and a man that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and saving, so he could but get and save. This is the character given of Nabal by him who knows what every man is.

II. David's humble request to him, that he would send him some victuals for himself and his men.

1. David, it seems, was in such distress that he would be glad to be beholden to him, and did in effect come a begging to his door. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world when so great a churl as Nabal abounds and so great a saint as David suffers want! Once before we had David begging his bread, but then it was of Ahimelech the high priest, to whom one would not grudge to stoop. But to send a begging to Napal was what such a spirit as David had could not admit without some reluctancy; yet, if Providence bring him to these straits, he will not say that to beg he is ashamed. Yet see Psalms 37:25.

2. He chose a good time to send to Nabal, when he had many hands employed about him in shearing his sheep, for whom he was to make a plentiful entertainment, so that good cheer was stirring. Had he sent at another time, Nabal would have pretended he had nothing to spare, but now he could not have that excuse. It was usual to make feasts at their sheep-shearings, as appears by Absalom's feast on that occasion (2 Samuel 13:24), for wool was one of the staple commodities of Canaan.

3. David ordered his men to deliver their message to him with a great deal of courtesy and respect: "Go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. Tell him I sent you to present my service to him, and to enquire how he does and his family," v. 5. He puts words in their mouths (v. 6): Thus shall you say to him that liveth; our translators add, in prosperity, as if those live indeed that live as Nabal did, with abundance of the wealth of this world about them; whereas, in truth, those that live in pleasure are dead while they live, 1 Timothy 5:6. This was, methinks too high a compliment to pass upon Nabal, to call him the man that liveth. David knew better things, that in God's favour is life, not in the world's smiles; and by the rough answer he was well enough served, for this too smooth address to such a muck-worm. Yet his good wishes were very commendable. "Peace be to thee, all good both to soul and body. Peace be to thy house and to all that thou hast." Tell him I am a hearty well-wisher to his health and prosperity. He bids them call him his son David (v. 8), intimating that, for his age and estate, David honoured him as a father, and therefore hoped to receive some fatherly kindness from him.

4. He pleaded the kindness which Nabal's shepherds had received from David and his men; and one good turn requires another. He appeals to Nabal's own servants, and shows that when David's soldiers were quartered among Nabal's shepherds,

(1.) They did not hurt them themselves, did them no injury, gave them no disturbance, were not a terror to them, nor took any of the lambs out of the flock. Yet, considering the character of David's men, men in distress, and debt, and discontented, and the scarcity of provisions in his camp, it was not without a great deal of care and good management that they were kept from plundering.

(2.) They protected them from being hurt by others. David himself does but intimate this, for he would not boast of his good offices: Neither was there aught missing to them, v. 7. But Nabal's servants, to whom he appealed, went further (v. 16): They were a wall unto us, both by night and day. David's soldiers were a guard to Nabal's shepherds when the bands of the Philistines robbed the threshing-floors (1 Samuel 23:1) and would have robbed the sheep-folds. From those plunderers Nabal's flocks were protected by David's care, and therefore he says, Let us find favour in thy eyes. Those that have shown kindness may justly expect to receive kindness.

5. He was very modest in his request. Though David was anointed king, he insisted not upon royal dainties, but, "Give whatsoever comes to thy hand, and we will be thankful for it." Beggars must not be choosers. Those that deserved to have been served first will now be glad of what is left. They plead, We come in a good day, a festival, when not only the provision is more plentiful, but the heart and hand are usually more open and free than at other times, when much may be spared and yet not be missed. David demands not what he wanted as a debt, either by way of tribute as he was a king, or by way of contribution as he was a general, but asks it as a boon to a friend, that was his humble servant. David's servants delivered their message faithfully and very handsomely, not doubting but to go back well laden with provisions.

III. Nabal's churlish answer to this modest petition, v. 10, 11. One could not have imagined it possible that any man should be so very rude and ill-conditioned as Nabal was. David called himself his son, and asked bread and a fish, but, instead thereof, Nabal gave him a stone and a scorpion; not only denied him, but abused him. If he had not thought fit to send him any supplies for fear of Ahimelech's fate, who paid dearly for his kindness to David; yet he might have given a civil answer, and made the denial as modest as the request was. But, instead of that, he falls into a passion, as covetous men are apt to do when they are asked for any thing, thinking thus to cover one sin with another, and by abusing the poor to excuse themselves from relieving them. But God will not thus be mocked.

1. He speaks scornfully of David as an insignificant man, not worth taking notice of. The Philistines could say of him, This is David the king of the land, that slew his ten thousands (1 Samuel 21:11), yet Nabal his near neighbour, and one of the same tribe, affects not to know him, or not to know him to be a man of any merit or distinction: Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? He could not be ignorant how much the country was obliged to David for his public services, but his narrow soul thinks not of paying any part of that debt, nor so much as of acknowledging it; he speaks of David as an inconsiderable man, obscure, and not to be regarded. Think it not strange if great men and great merits be thus disgraced.

2. He upbraids him with his present distress, and takes occasion from it to represent him as a bad man, that was fitter to be set in the stocks for a vagrant than to have any kindness shown him. How naturally does he speak the churlish clownish language of those that hate to give alms! There are many servants now-a-days (as if there had been none such in former days) that break every man from his master, suggesting that David was one of them himself ("He might have kept his place with his master Saul, and then he needed not have sent to me for provisions"), and also that he entertained and harboured those that were fugitives like himself. It would make one's blood rise to hear so great and good a man as David thus vilified and reproached by such a base churl as Nabal. But the vile person will speak villany, Isaiah 32:5-7. If men bring themselves into straits by their own folly, yet they are to be pitied and helped, and not trampled upon and starved. But David was reduced to this distress, not by any fault, no, nor any indiscretion, of his own, but purely by the good services he had done to his country and the honours which his God had put upon him; and yet he was represented as a fugitive and runagate. Let this help us to bear such reproaches and misrepresentations of us with patience and cheerfulness, and make us easy under them, that it has often been the lot of the excellent ones of the earth. Some of the best men that ever the world was blest with were counted as the off-scouring of all things, 1 Corinthians 4:13.

3. He insists much upon the property he had in the provisions of his table, and will by no means admit any body to share in them. "It is my bread and my flesh, yes, and my water too (though usus communis aquarum - water is every one's property), and it is prepared for my shearers," priding himself in it that it was all his own; and who denied it? Who offered to dispute his title? But this, he thinks, will justify him in keeping it all to himself, and giving David none; for may he not do what he will with his own? Whereas we mistake if we think we are absolute lords of what we have and may do what we please with it. No, we are but stewards, and must use it as we are directed, remembering it is not our own, but his that entrusted us with it. Riches are ta allotria (Luke 16:12); they are another's, and we ought not to talk too much of their being our own.

 1 Samuel 25:12-17

 Abigail's wise resolution

 Here is, I. The report made to David of the abuse Nabal had given to his messengers (v. 12): They turned their way. They showed their displeasure, as became them to do, by breaking off abruptly from such a churl, but prudently governed themselves so well as not to render railing for railing, not to call him as he deserved, much less to take by force what ought of right to have been given them, but came and told David that he might do as he thought fit. Christ's servants, when they are thus abused, must leave it to him to plead his own cause and wait till he appear in it. The servant showed his lord what affronts he had received, but did not return them, Luke 14:21.

II. David's hasty resolution hereupon. He girded on his sword, and ordered his men to do so too, to the number of 400, v. 13. And what he said we are told, v. 21, 22.

1. He repented of the kindness he had done to Nabal, and looked upon it as thrown away upon him. He said, "surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness. I thought to oblige him and make him my friend, but I see it is to no purpose. He has no sense of gratitude, nor is he capable of receiving the impressions of a good turn, else he could not have used me thus. He hath requited me evil for good." But, when we are thus requited, we should not repent of the good we have done, nor be backward to do good another time. God is kind to the evil and unthankful, and why may not we?

2. He determined to destroy Nabal and all that belonged to him, v. 22. Here David did not act like himself. His resolution was bloody, to cut off all the males of Nabal's house, and spare none, man nor man-child. The ratification of his resolution was passionate: So, and more also do to God (he was going to say to me, but that would better become Saul's mouth, 1 Samuel 14:44, than David's, and therefore he decently turns it off) to the enemies of David. Is this thy voice, O David? Can the man after God's own heart speak thus unadvisedly with his lips? Has he been so long in the school of affliction, where he should have learned patience, and yet so passionate? Is this he who used to be dumb and deaf when he was reproached (Psalms 38:13), who but the other day spared him who sought his life, and yet now will not spare any thing that belongs to him who has only put an affront upon his messengers? He who at other times used to be calm and considerate is now put into such a heat by a few hard words that nothing will atone for them but the blood of a whole family. Lord, what is man! What are the best of men, when God leaves them to themselves, to try them, that they may know what is in their hearts? From Saul David expected injuries, and against those he was prepared and stood upon his guard, and so kept his temper; but from Nabal he expected kindness, and therefore the affront he gave him was a surprise to him, found him off his guard, and, by a sudden and unexpected attack, put him for the present into disorder. What need have we to pray, Lord, lead us not into temptation!

III. The account given of this matter to Abigail by one of the servants, who was more considerate than the rest, v. 14. Had this servant spoken to Nabal, and shown him the danger he had exposed himself to by his own rudeness, he would have said, "Servants are now-a-days so saucy, and so apt to prescribe, that there is no enduring them," and, it may be, would have turned him out of doors. But Abigail, being a woman of good understanding, took cognizance of the matter, even from her servant, who,

1. Did David justice in commending him and his men for their civility to Nabal's shepherds, v. 15, 16. "The men were very good to us, and, though they were themselves exposed, yet they protected us and were a wall unto us." Those who do that which is good shall, one way or other, have the praise of the same. Nabal's own servant will be a witness for David that he is a man of honour and conscience, whatever Nabal himself says of him. And,

2. He did Nabal no wrong in condemning him for his rudeness to David's messengers: He railed on them (v. 14), he flew upon them (so the word is) with an intolerable rage; "for," say they, "it is his usual practice, v. 17. He is such a son of Belial, so very morose and intractable, that a man cannot speak to him but he flies into a passion immediately." Abigail knew it too well herself.

3. He did Abigail and the whole family a kindness in making her sensible what was likely to be the consequence. He knew David so well that he had reason to think he would highly resent the affront, and perhaps had had information of David's orders to his men to march that way; for he is very positive evil is determined against our master, and all his household, himself among the rest, would be involved in it. Therefore he desires his mistress to consider what was to be done for their common safety. they could not resist the force David would bring down upon them, nor had they time to send to Saul to protect them; something therefore must be done to pacify David.

 1 Samuel 25:18-31

 Abigail meets David

 We have here an account of Abigail's prudent management for the preserving of her husband and family from the destruction that was just coming upon them; and we find that she did her part admirably well and fully answered her character. The passion of fools often makes those breaches in a little time which the wise, with all their wisdom, have much ado to make up again. It is hard to say whether Abigail was more miserable in such a husband or Nabal happy in such a wife. A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, to protect as well as adorn, and will do him good and not evil. Wisdom in such a case as this was better than weapons of war.

1. It was her wisdom that what she did she did quickly, and without delay; she made haste, v. 18. It was no time to trifle or linger when all was in danger. Those that desire conditions of peace must send when the enemy is yet a great way off, Luke 14:32.

 

2. It was her wisdom that what she did she did herself, because, being a woman of great prudence and very happy address, she knew better how to manage it than any servant she had. The virtuous woman will herself look well to the ways of her household, and not devolve this duty wholly upon others.

Abigail must endeavour to atone for Nabal's faults. Now he had been in two ways rude to David's messengers, and in them to David: He had denied them the provisions they asked for, and he had given them very provoking language. Now,

I. By a most generous present, Abigail atones for his denial of their request. If Nabal had given them what came next to hand, they would have gone away thankful; but Abigail prepares the very best the house afforded and abundance of it (v. 18), according to the usual entertainments of those times, not only bread and flesh, but raisins and figs, which were their dried sweet-meats. Nabal grudged them water, but she took two bottles (casks or rundlets) of wine, loaded her asses with these provisions, and sent them before; for a gift pacifieth anger, Proverbs 21:14. Jacob thus pacified Esau. When the instruments of the churl are evil, the liberal devises liberal things, and loses nothing by it; for by liberal things shall he stand, Isaiah 32:7-8. Abigail not only lawfully, but laudably, disposed of all these goods of her husband's without his knowledge (even when she had reason to think that if he had known what she did he would not have consented to it), because it was not to gratify her own pride or vanity, but for the necessary defence of him and his family. which otherwise would have been inevitably ruined. Husbands and wives, for their common good and benefit, have a joint-interest in their worldly possessions; but if either waste, or unduly spend in any way, it is a robbing of the other.

II. By a most obliging demeanour, and charming speech, she atones for the abusive language which Nabal had given them. She met David upon the march, big with resentment, and meditating the destruction of Nabal (v. 20); but with all possible expressions of complaisance and respect she humbly begs his favour, and solicits him to pass by the offence. Her demeanour was very submissive: She bowed herself to the ground before David (v. 23) and fell at his feet, v. 24. Yielding pacifies great offences. She put herself into the place and posture of a penitent and of a petitioner, and was not ashamed to do it, when it was for the good of her house, in the sight both of her own servants and of David's soldiers. She humbly begs of David that he will give her the hearing: Let thy handmaid speak in thy audience. But she needed not thus to bespeak his attention and patience; what she said was sufficient to command it, for certainly nothing could be more fine nor more moving. No topic of argument is left untouched; every thing is well placed and well expressed, most pertinently and pathetically urged, and improved to the best advantage, with such a force of natural rhetoric as cannot easily be paralleled.

1. She speaks to him all along with the deference and respect due to so great and good a man, calls him My lord, over and over, to expiate her husband's crime in saying, "Who is David?" She does not upbraid him with the heat of his passion, though he deserved to be reproved for it; nor does she tell him how ill it became his character; but endeavours to soften him and bring him to a better temper, not doubting but that then his own conscience would upbraid him with it.

2. She takes the blame of the ill-treatment of his messengers upon herself: "Upon me, my lord, upon me, let this iniquity be, v. 24. If thou wilt be angry, be angry with me, rather than with my poor husband, and look upon it as the trespass of thy handmaid," v. 28. Sordid spirits care not how much others suffer for their faults, while generous spirits can be content to suffer for the faults of others. Abigail here discovered the sincerity and strength of her conjugal affection and concern for her family: whatever Nabal was, he was her husband.

3. She excuses her husband's fault by imputing it to his natural weakness and want of understanding (v. 25): "Let not my lord take notice of his rudeness and ill manners, for it is like him; it is not the first time that he has behaved so churlishly; he must be borne with, for it is for want of wit: Nabal is his name" (which signifies a fool), "and folly is with him. It was owing to his folly, not his malice. He is simple, but not spiteful. Forgive him, for he knows not what he does." What she said was too true, and she said it to excuse his fault and prevent his ruin, else she would not have done well to give such a bad character as this of her own husband, whom she ought to make the best of, and not to speak ill of.

4. She pleads her own ignorance of the matter: "I saw not the young men, else they should have had a better answer, and should not have gone without their errand," intimating hereby that though her husband was foolish, and unfit to manage his affairs himself, yet he had so much wisdom as to be ruled by her and take her advice.

5. She takes it for granted that she has gained her point already, perhaps perceiving, by David's countenance, that he began to change his mind (v. 26): Seeing the Lord hath withholden thee. She depends not upon her own reasonings, but God's grace, to mollify him, and doubts not but that grace would work powerfully upon him; and then, "Let all thy enemies be as Nabal, that is, if thou forbear to avenge thyself, no doubt God will avenge thee on him, as he will on all thy other enemies." Or it intimates that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and impotent an enemy as Nabal was, who, as he would do him no kindness, so he could do him no hurt, for he needed to wish no more concerning his enemies than that they might be as unable to resist him as Nabal was. Perhaps she refers to his sparing Saul, when, but the other day, he had him at his mercy. "Didst thou forbear to avenge thyself on that lion that would devour thee, and wilt thou shed the blood of this dog that can but bark at thee?" The very mentioning of what he was about to do, to shed blood and to avenge himself, was enough to work upon such a tender gracious spirit as David had; and it should seem, by his replay (v. 33), that it affected him.

6. She makes a tender of the present she had brought, but speaks of it as unworthy of David's acceptance, and therefore desires it may be given to the young men that followed him (v. 27), and particularly to those ten that were his messengers to Nabal, and whom he had treated so rudely.

7. She applauds David for the good services he had done against the common enemies of his country, the glory of which great achievements, she hoped, he would not stain by any personal revenge: "My lord fighteth the battles of the Lord against the Philistines, and therefore he will leave it to God to fight his battles against those that affront him, v. 28. Evil has not been found in thee all thy days. Thou never yet didst wrong to any of thy countrymen (though persecuted as a traitor), and therefore thou wilt not begin now, nor do a thing which Saul will improve for the justifying of his malice against thee."

8. She foretels the glorious issue of his present troubles. "It is true a man pursues thee and seeks thy life" (she names not Saul, out of respect to his present character as king), "but thou needest not look with so sharp and jealous an eye upon every one that affronts thee;" for all these storms that now ruffle thee will be blown over shortly. She speaks it with assurance,

(1.) That God would keep him safe: The soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God, that is, God shall hold thy soul in life (as the expression is, Psalms 66:9) as we hold those things which are bundled up or which are precious to us, Psalms 116:15. Thy soul shall be treasured up in the treasure of lives (so the Chaldee), under lock and key as our treasure is. "Thou shalt abide under the special protection of the divine providence." The bundle of life is with the Lord our God, for in his hand our breath is, and our times. Those are safe, and may be easy, that have him for their protector. The Jews understand this not only of the life that now is, but of that which is to come, even the happiness of separate souls, and therefore use it commonly as an inscription on their gravestones. "Here we have laid the body, but trust that the soul is bound up in the bundle of life, with the Lord our God." There it is safe, while the dust of the body is scattered.

(2.) That God would make him victorious over his enemies. Their souls he shall sling out, v. 29. The stone is bound up in the sling, but it is in order to be thrown out again; so the souls of the godly shall be bundled as corn for the barn, but the souls of the wicked as tares for the fire.

(3.) That God would settle him in wealth and power: "The Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, and no enemy thou hast can hinder it; therefore forgive this trespass," that is, "show mercy, as thou hopest to find mercy. God will make thee great, and it is the glory of great men to pass by offences."

9. She desires him to consider how much more comfortable it would be to him in the reflection to have forgiven this affront than to have revenged it, v. 30, 31. She reserves this argument for the last, as a very powerful one with so good a man, that the less he indulged his passion the more he consulted his peace and the repose of his own conscience, which every wise man will be tender of.

(1.) She cannot but think that if he should avenge himself it would afterwards be a grief and an offence of heart to him, Many have done that in a heat which they have a thousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge is soon turned into bitterness.

(2.) She is confident that if he pass by the offence it will afterwards by no grief to him; but, on the contrary, it would yield him unspeakable satisfaction that his wisdom and grace had got the better of his passion. Note, When we are tempted to sin we should consider how it will appear in the reflection. Let us never do any thing for which our own consciences will afterwards have occasion to upbraid us, and which we shall look back upon with regret: My heart shall not reproach me.

10. She recommends herself to his favour: When the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thy handmaid, as one that kept thee from doing that which would have disgraced thy honour, disquieted thy conscience, and made a blot in thy history. We have reason to remember those with respect and gratitude who have been instrumental to keep us from sin.

 1 Samuel 25:32-35

 David blesses Abigail

 As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear, Proverbs 25:12. Abigail was a wise reprover of David's passion, and he gave an obedient ear to the reproof, according to his own principle (Psalms 141:5): Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness. Never was such an admonition either better given or better taken.

I. David gives God thanks for sending him this happy check to a sinful way (v. 32): Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent thee this day to meet me. Note,

1. God is to be acknowledged in all the kindnesses that our friends do us either for soul or body. Whoever meet us with counsel, direction, comfort, caution, or seasonable reproof, we must see God sending them.

2. We ought to be very thankful for those happy providences which are means of preventing sin.

II. He gives Abigail thanks for interposing so opportunely between him and the mischief he was about to do: Blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, v. 33. Most people think it enough if they take a reproof patiently, but we meet with few that will take it thankfully and will commend those that give it to them and accept it as a favour. Abigail did not rejoice more that she had been instrumental to save her husband and family from death than David did that Abigail had been instrumental to save him and his men from sin.

III. He seems very apprehensive of the great danger he was in, which magnified the mercy of his deliverance.

1. He speaks of the sin as very great. He was coming to shed blood, a sin of which when in his right mind he had a great horror, witness his prayer, Deliver me from blood-guiltiness. He was coming to avenge himself with his own hand, and that would be stepping into the throne of God, who has said, Vengeance is mine; I will repay. The more heinous any sin is the greater mercy it is to be kept from it. He seems to aggravate the evil of his design with this, that it would have been an injury to so wise and good a woman as Abigail: God has kept me back from hurting thee, v. 34. Or perhaps, at the first sight of Abigail, he was conscious of a thought to do her a mischief for offering to oppose him, and therefore reckons it a great mercy that God gave him patience to hear her speak.

2. He speaks of the danger of his falling into it as very imminent: "Except thou hadst hasted, the bloody execution had been done." The nearer we were to the commission of sin the greater was the mercy of a seasonable restraint - Almost gone (Psalms 73:2) and yet upheld.

IV. He dismissed her with an answer of peace, v. 35. He does, in effect, own himself overcome by her eloquence: "I have hearkened to thy voice, and will not prosecute the intended revenge, for I have accepted thy person, am well pleased with thee and what thou hast said." Note,

1. Wise and good men will hear reason, and let that rule them, though it come from those that are every way their inferiors, and though their passions are up and their spirits provoked.

2. Oaths cannot, bind us to that which is sinful. David had solemnly vowed the death of Nabal. He did evil to make such a vow, but he would have done worse if he had performed it.

3. A wise and faithful reproof is often better taken, and speeds better, than we expected, such is the hold God has of men's consciences. See Proverbs 28:23.

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)