June 5, 2011
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Before David became king, he fled from King Saul chasing him and seeking his destruction. Just after Samuel died, David went to wilderness of Paran, and brought his mighty men with him. In Carmel, Nabal did business, and had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats (1 Samuel 25:2).
(now the man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. And the woman was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was a Calebite)
1 Samuel 25:3
The Virtues of Abigail. As we see in 1 Samuel 25:3, Abigail had some great qualities: (1) she was intelligent (“טוֹבַת-שֶׂכֶל”) literally, good of understanding or insight; (2) beautiful in appearance (“וִיפַת תֹּאַר”), literally of beautiful form; and she remained married to a harsh (“קָשֶׁה”) man, named Nabal, who was evil in his doings (“וְרַע מַעֲלָלִים”). Abigail’s intelligence, beauty and spiritual insight will play an important role in her future and the men around her.
The Foolishness of Nabal. Nabal was very wealthy, but evil in his doings. When David sent his men to request provisions from the wealthy businessman, Nabal rebuffed those men.
But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, ‘Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered from my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?
1 Samuel 25:10-11
Nabal made three mistakes here. First, he did not remember that David and his men had protected Nabal’s flocks, and taken nothing from the flocks for themselves (1 Samuel 25:7). Second, he did not appreciate that David did not demand any specific payment, just “whatever you find at hand . . . ” (1 Samuel 25:8). Third, Nabal suggested that David had improperly broken away from his master (1 Samuel 25:10). Essentially, this pattern of always trying to get something for nothing, and then attacking those people who have helped you prosper in business, often results in great losses.
David Girds His Sword. When David heard those foolish words from Nabal, he had four hundred men prepare to attack Nabal. David had been slandered and scorned by Nabal, and Nabal persisted in his evil business dealings.
David said to his men, ‘Each of you gird on his sword.’ So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.
1 Samuel 25:13
Fortunately for Nabal, two things happened that saved him that day. First, one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned (“יָּעַט”) them.” Literally, Nabal screamed or shrieked at them. The young messenger also told Abigail the truth about David and his men.
Yet these men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as went went about with them, while we were in the fields. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending sheep.
1 Samuel 25:15
The real problem was that everyone knew that Nabal was a worthless man, and no one could speak to him (1 Samuel 25:17). The second good thing for Nabal was that Abigail took action immediately to correct the problem Nabal had created with David and his men. Abigail understood the consequences of the foolishness of Nabal in scorning David and his warriors, when they had done nothing except help Nabal to prosper with his flocks. David’s men had been a wall by night and day, protecting the flocks, and doing good to Nabal’s men, without insulting them in any way. You may recall that David was first a shepherd tending the sheep of Jesse, his father (1 Samuel 17:20).
Abigail Intercedes for Nabal. Having heard the truth about David and his men, and realizing the foolishness of Nabal scorning David, Abigail acted swiftly. She knew that David needed supplies, and deserved them. She immediately began to prepare food to send to David: two hundred loaves of bread, two jugs of wine, and five sheep prepared with five measures of roasted grain, a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs (1 Samuel 25:18). Abigail delivered the supplies to David, and humbled herself before him. She immediately accepted all the blame for Nabal’s actions.
She fell at his feet and said, ‘On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.’
1 Samuel 25:24-25
David met Abigail and explained that Nabal had returned evil for good. She admitted that Nabal acted improperly, and she had not seen David’s men. Notice that Nabal’s name means folly, so we know that even men of folly can have great wealth. As Abigail spoke with David, she understood that God had great plans for David, and His blessing rested upon David.
Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God, but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling.
1 Samuel 25:29
Abigail used this mental picture of David being held in the bundle of the living with the LORD his God. If any pursues him to take his life, then the LORD his God will sling them out from the bundle of the living as from the hollow of a sling. You may recall that David had slain Goliath with a sling, and his fame was well known (1 Samuel 17:40, 48-49). Abigail also had keen spiritual insight into the spiritual issues concerning David’s desire for vengeance.
Abigail Keeps David from Vengeance and Sin. Abigail also reminded David of the spiritual problems he faced. If David took the life of Nabal and his servants, then David would have acted sinfully, and without cause. Being rebuffed should not be met with the death penalty, even though David was apparently enraged by Nabal’s scorn.
this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the LORD deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.
1 Samuel 25:31
Abigail understood that David was fighting the battles of the LORD, and that the LORD would protect him (1 Samuel 25:28). But if David took the life of Nabal “without cause,” and took vengeance on Nabal, then the LORD would hold that sinful behavior against David. Abigail spared David that consequence of sin by preventing the sinful behavior. In our lives, we can intercede for people who have acted badly, and keep another person from seeking vengeance for that bad behavior. We know for sure that we should never take vengeance upon people, even when our spouse or someone else has been repaid evil for good (Romans 12:19). Finally, notice that Abigail wanted David to remember her when he prospered. David did remember her, because Nabal died about ten days after this event (1 Samuel 25:38), and David married Abigail, just as she had asked for David to remember her (1 Samuel 25:31, 39-44).
So we learn more about spiritual wives today and their role in daily devotions.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you know the limitations of your husband, and act in his best interest when he violates the commandments of God. In this case, Nabal’s foolish behavior almost cost him his life.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you intercede for your husband, especially when he makes terrible and foolish mistakes.
● Being a wife in Christ means that you help people to avoid the consequences of seeking vengeance. If you are married to a foolish man, then you will see that foolish behavior often provokes other people to seek vengeance. You must take appropriate steps to stop vengeance upon your foolish husband, and keep other people from acting without cause. As a wife, you can help your family by protecting your husband from his own foolishness. Your example to your children will shine for generations, just as Abigail will be remembered for saving both Nabal and King David from their own bad intentions.
Application for Today
Abigail reminds us what brains and beauty, combined with a keen spiritual appreciation of proper intercession, can do to undo foolish behavior. Every husband needs an Abigail to intercede for him when he acts foolishly, and every David needs an Abigail to prevent him from acting in vengeance. Every Christian needs to act like Abigail in helping other believers do the will of God. Will you act like Abigail today?