Bible Heroines – Abigail

I Samuel 25

This is one of my favorite women in the Bible. We are told that she is beautiful and of good understanding 1 Samuel 25:3. However, her husband Nabal was just the opposite. He was rich, but harsh and evil in his doings.

After Samuel had died, David left and went down to the Wilderness of Paran. He heard that a man called Nabel was shearing his 3,000 sheep. He gathered a few of his men and told them to greet Nabal in his name. He said to let Nabal know that some of his shepherds were with him and were not hurt. They would appreciate some food for his men. Once David’s men talked to Nabal he questioned who David was, and said the servants were not necessarily his. He was not going to give up his food for someone he did not know.

A servant told Abigail about the encounter and that David was very upset. This in itself I believe shows that he knew Abigail would understand, and he wasn’t afraid of telling her the truth. He was afraid of what David might do after being very good to them. The servant said that “Nabal was a scoundrel, and that no one can speak to him.” Abigail immediately put food together and loaded up donkeys, but did not tell Nabal what she was doing. When she met up with David she bowed before him.

Abigail says “Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name – his name means Fool, and folly goes with him”. To me, this one sentence says all about what you need to know about Abigail. She is direct, wise, and goes against the way women were to act at that time. She outright called her husband a fool. She also advises David in a way where he listens to her.

Bringing food validated that she agreed that it was a simple request. She wasn’t just speaking the words, she backed it up by her effort of bringing the food to him and his men.

Abigail starts off by talking positively about David’s character. “Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord will certainly make for my Lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout your days.” 1 Samuel 25-28. This contrasts with his current state of anger and wanting to take revenge. She also reminds him of the way Saul wanted to kill him. Nabal may deserve it, but does his whole family deserve to die because of Nabal’s deeds. She also reminded David that killing Nabal violated Gods commandment against murder. “Now therefore, my Lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my Lord be as Nabal.” 1 Samuel 25: 26. She gently asks David he would consider her being here a sign that “the Lord has held you back” from the sin that would be committed.

Additionally, Abigail brings up the future when David will be the ruler over Israel. “And it shall come to pass when the Lord has done for my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel.” 1 Samuel 25:30.

I get the feeling that there was admiration for Abigail from David. She showed temperance, wisdom, and knew how to get him to consider her words. For a woman in those times no less, this was a defining moment for both of them. As upset as he was, he admitted that she was a blessing. “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel who sent you this day to meet me. And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.” 1 Samuel 25:32-33

After Nabal had died, David wasted no time asking her to be his wife. For a first-time meeting, she showed the ability to understand, diffuse his anger, and think through the consequences of his anger. It would take a pretty special person to be able to do that, especially back in those times where women were not highly regarded as confidants, and strategic. Her goodness and kindness broke through David’s heart and changed his thought process for the good.

This story shows that confrontation done with the right reasons can overcome anger. David saw that Abigail’s qualities could add to his own and that was a good thing. There was an element of mutual respect between the two. We are reminded that with God in our lives, the right decisions can be made a little easier.

I hope you can see the good qualities in Abigail, and see how the right mindset can make a difference in anything we attempt to accomplish. With God all things are possible.


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