In the first part and second part of this series, I wrote about Rahab and Hannah. God has used these two ladies’ life stories to touch my life and to teach me about faith. Both of them are women of hope and courage. Their beginning may not have been a beautiful one, but their trust in the Lord changed their present and their future. I pray in Jesus’ name that you are beyond blessed and may always feel as loved as you indeed are by the Lord. May God always bless you!
She Does Good, And Does Not Harm
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
During the time when David, the future King of Israel, was fleeing away from King Saul, there was a man named Nabal. This man Nabal was very well off; he was blessed abundantly. Nabal had goats, three thousand sheep and a lot of property. David, who had been anointed by the prophet Samuel (Hannah’s very own Samuel) to be the next King, had spent days and long hours protecting Nabal’s shepherds and his herd of sheep and goats while they were in the wilderness. David and his group of men that had been outlawed by King Saul had been hiding, fleeing, and facing various hardships. One of those hardships they endured was not having anything to eat. Being men of war, David and his men could have easily murdered Nabal’s shepherds and helped themselves to his sheep. David was kind enough not to harm them but acted like a protecting wall for them against thieves and wild animals. We can see that David had acted kindly to Nabal.
The time came to shear sheep in Israel and David was in the wilderness when he heard Nabal had come down to Carmel to shear his sheep. It was a time of festivities, and Nabal was about to make a good profit out of shearing his sheep that had been protected by David. David, who had to watch over his own men, saw it to be a good idea to ask Nabal to provide whatever food he could for them. David and his men were in the wilderness, who knows for how long they had gone without eating. Therefore, David sent out ten of his men to greet Nabal and to let him know of the kindness they had shown his workers and his goats and sheep. David used kind and respectful words to approach Nabal (1 Samuel 25:6-8). How Nabal acted towards David’s men was far from noble and respectful.
I believe anyone would have been very grateful and honoured to feed David and his men after such an act of kindness they demonstrated to Nabal. Sadly Nabal, whose name means fool, acted senseless and very disrespectful to David and his men. His foolishness led him not to think before he spoke, he even went as far as hurling insults to the messengers for no reason (1 Samuel 25:14). He did not think about the consequences of his words and actions. He said to David’s men, “Who is this, David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (1 Samuel 25:10-11).
The ten men return to David and let him know what Nabal said. A furious David tells his men to strap on their sword, for he would not rest until Nabal and all the men in his household would be killed. David and about four hundred of his men started on their way to take vengeance into their own hands. Imagine about four hundred men and their furious leader marching towards you, with one thought in their mind, and that is to kill whatever and whoever belongs to you. This is a scary thought and scene. There is nothing scarier than a furious man, except a furious hungry man!
Nabal had what anyone would love to have and work soo hard to obtain. He had property, food, money, goats and sheep, workers, success, and, most importantly, a good spouse. He was married to a lady named Abigail. The Bible in the NKJ version describes Abigail as a woman of good understanding and beautiful in appearance (1 Samuel 25:3). Indeed Nabal was a blessed man, and who could take that away from him? Sadly, it would be his own actions the reason he would lose his very own life and put to risk those who were in his care.
Beautiful and wise, Abigail was married to a man who was evil and cruel in his actions (1 Samuel 25:3). Most likely, Abigail did not choose to marry Nabal, but her marriage to this man could have been arranged by her parents. In the time she was living in often wealthy men would offer riches to the parents to marry their daughters. Despite how cruel her husband may have been and difficult to be married to, she caused him no harm but looked after him like a good spouse does (Prov. 31:12).
Let us go back to furious David and his men, who were on their way to kill Nabal and the men in his household. As they were on their way, one of the servants that had been with Nabal when David’s men came to ask him for food had alerted Abigail of what had happened.
Once Abigail had been notified of what mess her husband had caused, she was quick to think of what she had to do to protect Nabal and everyone in the household (Prov. 30:27). At this moment, she could have taken off to save her own life, but regardless of her riches, she was unselfish. She did not panic in the face of adversity but became bold for the sake of her loved ones. For Abigail, it was just not about her, but about everyone around her and their safety. She was put in a dangerous position because of Nabal’s irrational actions. Surely, this must not have been the first time her short-tempered husband put her in such a dangerous situation.
Abigail had paid attention to what the servant had said to her about what David had requested. Therefore, she knew David and his men were hungry. She also knew how Nabal had acted towards the messengers, hurled insults to them, and disregarded David’s kindness towards his shepherds. Here is what the Bible tells us what she does: “Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband, Nabal.” 1 Samuel 25:18-19. Nabal had an unreasonable attitude; for this reason, she did not let him know what she was going to do. She acted independently without the consent of her husband for the safety of his life and their servants’ lives. If Nabal knew what she was going to do, most likely, he would not let her go or worse; he would become enraged and make matters worse. Therefore, off went beautiful Abigail to confront a future king, who was enraged, and his army. She was brave and willing to put her life in danger for her husband and their household.
The Lord only knows how many times Nabal’s unreasonable actions had caused Abigail to intercede for him and their whole household. Nabal did not think about the harm his actions would cause, not just to him, but to those he claimed to love. He was ungrateful and did not appreciate what he had. Unlike Abigail, who looked after him, Nabal did not look after her. If he did, he would have thought twice before disrespecting David. After all, at this point, who would not have heard of David? Who would have not known King Saul was after him? Who would have not known that David was a man of war? Who would act so rudely to these men who watched over his properties? A foolish person would, and Nabal was foolish. While there was an army coming after him and his household, he was partying away without a care in the world. Meanwhile, his wife acted as the protector of the family, putting her very own life at risk to save her husband’s life and to save an entire household. It was just not one life that would be killed, but many would be put to death because of Nabal.
David, at this point in his life, was going through many adversities. He recently had one of his friends, the prophet Samuel, pass away. Samuel was very important to him; he was the one who anointed David to be the future King of Israel. David and his men had been fleeing from King Saul and living in the wilderness for a while now. They were all hungry, tired, and sad. They were away from their families and the life they once loved. They all had been cast out and rejected. David had not had an easy life; he knew what rejection was from when he was a little boy. He had been disregarded from his own father. While all his other brothers were called in when the prophet Samuel was going to anoint the next King, David was left behind. It was until Samuel asks Isai if he had any more children, then David was remembered. Now here is Nabal disregarding him with his words. He opened up a wound that was still not completely healed in David. Nabal’s actions caused David to lose his anger to the point where he was going to take vengeance into his own hands. David was going to go kill innocent people; he had lost his temper. Little did he know it would be a beautiful woman, riding on her donkey and bowing before his feet when she sees him, that God would use to remind him that he is not alone. It would be her that calms him by acknowledging who he is, reassuring him his future dynasty, making him see the error of taking vengeance into his own hands, the one to ask for forgiveness on behalf of her husband and feed him and his men (1 Samuel 25:23-31.) What needed comfort was Abigail to David.
Abigail, she truly is remarkable! To this day, her words of discernment leave me speechless. Where did she get the words to say to calm an angered man so quickly? Truly, the fear of the Lord was in her heart, and that is what came out of her lips. She was brave, bold, wise, and unselfish. Through her courage, her family is saved. Abigail was a person who caused no harm but was always looking out for others and sensitive to their feelings. She always wanted to protect and care for those she loved. Even if she was hurt, not valued, and mistreated by Nabal, her husband, she was always watching out for him. For that reason, Abigail, a woman of great understanding, humbled herself in front of an angry David and risked her life to protect her husband Nabal and their entire household. She calmed David’s anger with discerning words and kept David from taking vengeance into his own hands and sinning against God. She also did what any wise woman should do with an enraged man; she fed him.
How many times did Abigail save Nabal from being killed because of his foolishness? Sadly, for Nabal, this would be the last time. During these events, Nabal had been partying the night away. He was drunk when Abigail comes back home, so she waits until he is sober to let him know the great danger he had been in. Nabal’s heart became as stone when Abigail tells him what happened. Ten days later, the Lord strikes Nabal, and he passes away. Once David hears Nabal has passed away, he blesses the Lord for avenging him and from keeping him from doing wrong. David sends his messengers to Abigail to ask her to become his wife. David saw how she protected her husband and her household. Any man would want to be married to a woman like Abigail, who causes no harm to him but brings him good. So much was her joy that she even tells David’s messengers that she is their servant, and she is ready to wash even their servant’s feet.
Abigail’s wisdom and humility led her to be married to a soon to be King. The greatest King the Jewish people proclaim they have had. No longer would she be married to a man who did not value her, who mistreated her, and who put her in dangerous situations. All her lonely nights, all the times she was put in scary circumstances, all the mean words she had to hear being said to her were over. God had come to save her. Abigail had asked David to remember her when the Lord brought him success. Indeed the Lord did not forget her. She was on her way to live the life of a Queen.
God bless you greatly,
Glenda Palma Rodas ❤
For the story of Abigail you can read 1 Samuel Chpt. 25.