1 Samuel Chapter 25

In the last chapter, David and his men were living in the strong-holds of En-gedi. Saul had been hunting David in hopes of destroying him, and so David and his men were hiding in a cave. Saul took a rest in the same cave, and David spared his life when the opportunity came to kill Saul. After David confronted him, Saul realized that David would one day rule Israel, and he abandoned his personal mission to kill David. David returned to the strong-holds and his story continues:

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.

Samuel was the prophet, who had anointed Saul as the king of Israel and also David to be the next king when Saul had turned from the Lord. During his flight from Saul, David had sought refuge with Samuel and the prophets. That was the last that we read of Samuel. After a full life of devotion to the Lord, Samuel died. The people of Israel mourned his death. David went to wilderness of Paran. Near there, in Carmel, was a man named Nabal. Nabal was a wealthy man, who was married to a beautiful and understanding woman, named Abigail. Nabal was not a righteous man, but was rude and rough.

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.

David heard that Nabal was in Carmel and he sent some of his young men to speak with Nabal. He wanted to find favor with Nabal, and ask for food and other provisions. Some of the men who had been around David, were the servants of Nabal, and he felt they should tell of David’s kindness. The young men did as David asked them to do.

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.

Nabal questioned why servants would leave their master, and why he should give to these men whom he did not know. The men went back to David and told him that Nabal had refused to help him. David was angry and called his men to take arms and they followed him towards Nabal.

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.

One of the young men, who was a servant to Nabal, went to Abigail and told her what had happened in the exchange between the men of David and her husband. He also told her that David and his men had done nothing against the servants of Nabal, but rather had been added security for them while they tended the flocks. He told her that she needed to decide what to do, because David was coming against Nabal and his household.

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.

Abigail quickly burdened animals with enough food to provide for David and his men. She did not tell her husband about it, but had her servants start with the provisions and told them she would follow them. She met David and his men, down the hill. David had felt that he and his men shown kindness to the servants of Nabal, but Nabal had treated them unkindly in return, making himself an enemy to David. When Abigail saw David, she got down from her mule and bowed herself to the ground before David. She begged for him to allow her to speak to him. She begged David not to go against her household, because while her husband had been foolish, she had not seen the young men when they had first come to ask for help. She asked David not to be the reason for the shedding of blood, but instead I think that she said to let the enemies of her husband and those of David be as foolish as Nabal had been. She offered the food that she had brought with her for forgiveness. She acknowledged the goodness of David. She said a man was in pursuit of him, but her lord would stand against the enemies of David. She said that once David became ruler of Israel, she hoped this would not still be an offense, because he had either shed blood for no reason, or had been avenged. Rather, she hoped that in the end, David would remember her.

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.

David blessed the Lord, and thanked her for her words to him, which stopped him from shedding blood. David recognized that if she had not come, he would have destroyed all of Nabal’s household. He took the gift of provisions that she had brought, told her to go in peace and to remember that he listened to her.

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.

Abigail returned to her husband and saw that he held a grand feast and was drunk, so she decided she would tell him what happened in the morning. When morning came, and Nabal was sober, she told him what had happened, and his heart failed him. About ten days later, 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.

David heard the news of Nabal’s death and blessed the Lord for interceding before he had killed Nabal himself. He recognized that the Lord had dealt with Nabal in his own way. David decided to offer marriage to Abigail. His servants went to Carmel and told her that David asked to take her to wife. She bowed herself to the earth and offered herself as his servant. She quickly left and took five ladies with her, following the servants of David. She became his wife, along with Ahinoam.

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

Michal, David’s first wife and daughter of Saul, who had loved him and saved him, had been given to another man named Phalti.

This chapter is part of the ongoing narrative of the life of David, before he became king of Israel. It seems that David was responding in anger against Nabal, and that it would have been an unnecessary loss of many lives. The Lord continued to be an influence in David’s life, through the actions of Abigail. She was inspired to offer what had been denied to David and his men, and to intercede for her husband without his knowledge. Because she had the courage to do this, her household was spared. Moreover, the Lord did not leave Nabal without consequences for refusing to return kindness to David and his men, but rather allowed his body to fail him when he was shocked to learn what his wife had done without his knowledge. David did not do anything that would have caused the Lord to withdraw his influence, which was a great blessing for his future.

Abigail is an example of one who was willing to sacrifice themselves in order to spare others. She was a peacemaker. Even though her husband was not a kind man, he and his household were not deserving of destruction by David’s men. I am sure that approaching men armed for battle, was a dangerous thing. She very likely could have been killed as she met them, but she still went forward with a heart full of courage. She became the mediator between David and Nabal, even without Nabal’s knowledge, and was able to talk David into leaving in peace. Abigail was blessed for her courage and desire to do what felt right.

Sometimes we, like David and his men, are wronged by another. It may feel like the only fair thing to do, is to retaliate, but this is not what God would want of us. The right thing to do, is to forgive others of those offenses and move on, trusting that the Lord will make all things right. At other times, we have the opportunity to be like Abigail, who decided to put others before herself. She took on the role of mediator, much like the Savior does with each of us. She interceded and pleaded for the forgiveness of another. If we can choose to be like Abigail, being Christ-like in our character, we can not only help others to be spared of excessive responses, but also help stop those who took the offense, so that they might not do something they will later regret. In thinking about these possible roles for ourselves, we should look to the Savior. We should remember that He is the one who intercedes for us. He will not only persuade us to stop before making additional mistakes when we have been wronged, but will plead for our forgiveness in the day of judgement. He, like Abigail, knows that we can be foolish, but that we deserve a chance at forgiveness. He alone can plead for us, when we eventually stand in front of God, and He has the ability to offer us the gift of Eternal Life.

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