The kindness of Abigail, Nabal’s wife, to David (1 Sam 25:14-25:35)

“But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife. ‘David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master. However, he shouted insults at them. Yet the men were very good to us. We suffered no harm. We never missed anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. They were a wall to us both by night and day all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know this and consider what you should do. Evil has been decided against our master and all in his house. He is so ill-natured that no one can speak to him.’”

One of the shepherds of Nabal told Nabal’s wife, Abigail, that Nabal had angered the men of David by insulting them. He said that the men of David had been helpful to the shepherds when they were out in the field. Now the men of David had decided to do something evil to Nabal and his household. Besides no one can speak to hard headed Nabal.

“Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep ready dressed, five measures of parched grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs. She loaded them on donkeys. She said to her young men. ‘Go on ahead of me. I am coming after you.’ But Abigail did not tell her husband Nabal.”

Abigail provided a lot of food on donkeys and sent her young men out with this stuff. She was going to follow them. However, she said nothing to husband about any of this.

“As she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, David and his men came down toward her. She met them. Now David had said. ‘Surely it was in vain that I protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him. But he has returned me evil for good. God do so to David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.’”

Abigail was on a donkey and met David. David had said that since he had protected Nabal’s shepherds in the wilderness, he should have been shown more respect from Nabal. Therefore, David was going to kill every male of Nabal’s household.

“When Abigail saw David, she hurried and alighted from the donkey. She fell before David on her face, bowing to the ground. She fell at his feet and said. ‘Upon me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. My lord, do not take seriously this ill-natured fellow, Nabal. For as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.”

Abigail bowed down before David claiming that she was the guilty one. She just wanted to explain that it was her ill-natured husband who had been insulting. She explained that his very name is folly and rudeness. She never saw the young men that David had sent.

“Now then, my lord, as Yahweh lives, and as you yourself live, Yahweh has restrained you from bloodguilt. You are not taking vengeance with your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be as Nabal. Now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For Yahweh will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of Yahweh. Evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. If any men should rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living under the care of Yahweh your God. But the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. When Yahweh has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel, my lord shall have no cause of grief, or pangs of conscience, for having shed blood without cause or for having saved himself. When Yahweh has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.’”

Abigail pleaded her case. She wanted to give him and his men these presents. She asked him to forgive the words of Nabal. She commended David for fighting Yahweh’s battles.   Yahweh will protect him. David’s enemies will die by the sling. After David is king, he should not regret any bloodshed that happened while he was trying to save himself. She only asked David to remember her when he became king. In fact, David will be king and she will become his wife. This is a strange prophecy.

“David said to Abigail. ‘Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! Blessed be your good sense! Blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt and from avenging myself with my own hand! For as surely as Yahweh the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me. Truly by morning there would not have been left to Nabal so much as one male.’ Then David received from her hand what she had brought him. He said to her. ‘Go up to your house in peace. See, I have heeded your voice. I have granted your petition.”

David responded to her. He blessed Yahweh for having sent her to him. He blessed her for saving him from bloodguilt. He was about to kill every male in the house of Nabal. Then he took the presents that she had prepared. He told her to return to her house in peace. He listened to her and granted her petition.