1 Samuel
Introduction 1 Samuel dies 2-3 Nabal and Abigail 4-8 David’s Request 9-11 Nabal’s Response 12-13 Reaction of David 14-17 A Young Man Reports to Abigail 18-22 Abigail Meets David 23-31 David Restrained from Shedding Blood 32-35 David Listens 36-38 The Death of Nabal 39-42 Abigail Becomes David’s Wife 43-44 The Wives of David

Here, it seems, the history which describes the relationship between Saul and David is briefly interrupted. Yet there is a connection with the history of Saul. Nabal, one of the main characters of this chapter, looks a lot like Saul. Like Saul, he rejects David. This is at the same time Satan’s attack on David. Satan did not succeed in setting David up against Saul, but he did succeed in doing so against Nabal. When a sudden event occurs, it suddenly turns out what is in David. All the beautiful features have suddenly disappeared and we see that the flesh in David reveals itself. This history is a great warning to us.

In the history of David there are several attractive characters, such as Jonathan, Mephiboseth and Ittai. Abigail, Nabal’s wife, occupies a special place among all these friends of David. In her we see in this chapter beautiful qualities of faith. It is a chapter about a woman for women. Here we see what a woman can do for a man. Many men will be able to testify, if they will, that their wife has often stopped them from foolishness.

Samuel dies

1Then Samuel died; and all Israel gathered together and mourned for him, and buried him at his house in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

When Samuel dies, it indicates the disappearance of the Word of God from Israel. Also with this an intercessor for the people disappears (1Sam 12:2323Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.) and it is also over with intercession. Word and prayer are no longer present. The people acknowledge the great loss and mourn for him. During his life they have discarded him (1Sam 8:55and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.”). Now that he has died, they feel the loss. This is more often the case with prophets. During their life they are denied, after their death they are honored. However, this tribute does not consist of taking their words to heart, but of decorating their graves (Mt 23:2929“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,).

It is easy to honor this man, now that he no longer troubles their conscience with his faithful admonitions. The flesh is even able to have a certain self-satisfaction that they have had such a man in their midst. However, what God appreciates is willing obedience to the message of His servants while they are still alive, and a remembrance of their words after they have died (Heb 13:77Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.).

True servants do not want to be mourned when their bodies lie in the grave. They much more prefer their words to be listened to. When they see this, they will be encouraged in their hearts and will give an account to the Lord “with joy and not with grieve” (Heb 13:1717Obey your leaders and submit [to them], for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.). The praise of the dead while their teaching is rejected can be called religious hypocrisy.

An example of this hypocrisy can be seen in the tribute given to Peter in Christianity. Beautiful buildings bear his name. But what would happen if the apostle returned to us today and preached the truth of his letters from the pulpit of the building bearing his name? Then he would be as despised and cast out as his Lord and Master from the synagogue of Nazareth (Lk 4:28-2928And all [the people] in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things;29and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff.).

For example, Peter clearly teaches that being born again is the fruit of faith in the seed of the Word of God that is absorbed into the heart (1Pet 1:2323for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, [that is], through the living and enduring word of God.). In some parts of Christianity, however, it is stated that being born again occurs through the baptism performed by a ‘clergyman’. The same goes for the priesthood of all believers that Peter teaches in his letter (1Pet 2:3-83if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.4And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,5you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.6For [this] is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner[stone], And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner [stone],”8and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this [doom] they were also appointed.). Christianity teaches that the priesthood is the privilege of a select group of ministers.

For David it is different than for the people. For him, Samuel’s death is a great personal loss. He took refuge at him and found protection for some time (1Sam 19:1818Now David fled and escaped and came to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth.). Now he can’t go there anymore. However, that does not mean that he is without the Word of God, for the prophet Gad is with him. He also has the priest Abiathar with him. Everything that is valuable to Israel is with David.

After the news of Samuel’s death it is mentioned that David arises and goes to the wilderness of Paran. It seems to be so that David heard of Samuel’s death and therefore leaves. The wilderness of Paran evokes memories in connection with the wilderness journey. It is one of the resting places during the wilderness trip (Num 10:1212and the sons of Israel set out on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai. Then the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran.). It lies south of Israel and west of Edom. Israel has sent spies from there to spy out the land, and they returned there after spying out the land (Num 13:3,263So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel.26they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land.). So David went outside the land to stay out of Saul’s hands.

The death of Samuel and David’s departure from the land seem to be the introduction to the events described in this chapter. Both seem to have had a very discouraging effect on David. We can deduce that from his request to Nabal for support and his response to Nabal’s refusal. There is no evidence in either action that God has told him to do so.

Nabal and Abigail

2Now [there was] a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel 3(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),

Maon is a city in Judah, in the area of Carmel – there is also a wilderness called Maon (1Sam 23:2424Then they arose and went to Ziph before Saul. Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon.). The first thing to look at is someone who has his business in that area. Before his name is mentioned, the man is said to be “very rich”. It also says where he is and what is happening. He has a large flock of sheep and goats and is busy stripping the sheep of their wool.

The name “Nabal” means “fool”. He is what his name says, because he does not take God into account at all. That is exactly the characteristic of a fool, for he “says in his heart, There is no God” (Psa 14:1a1For the choir director. [A Psalm] of David.
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds;
There is no one who does good.
). He is a picture of the wicked people who do not think of God. There is no trace of wisdom in someone who is a fool.

His wife is called “Abigail”, which means “father of joy” or “whose father rejoices”. She is a complete opposite of her husband. With her are mind and insight, which she has not lost in this marriage. She is also a beautiful appearance. The fact that she is ever attached to such a man in marriage will not have been her own choice, but will have been arranged for her.

Of Nabal is also said he is “harsh and evil in [his] dealings”. Nabal’s ancestor is Caleb. Nabal inherited the possessions of Caleb, but not his faith and dedication. He does not walk in the spirit of his ancestor. We would never have heard of Nabal if he had not come into contact with David, even if only for a moment.

David’s Request

4that David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, visit Nabal and greet him in my name; 6and thus you shall say, ‘Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7Now I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel. 8Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let [my] young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”

When David hears that Nabal is shearing his sheep, he thinks that is the best way to ask Nabal for a favor. It seems to have been a habit to have large meals on the occasion of the shearing of the sheep, as we also see with Absalom (2Sam 13:23-2423Now it came about after two full years that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baal-hazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king’s sons.24Absalom came to the king and said, “Behold now, your servant has sheepshearers; please let the king and his servants go with your servant.”). Shearing the sheep (Gen 31:1919When Laban had gone to shear his flock, then Rachel stole the household idols that were her father’s.; 38:12-1312Now after a considerable time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and when the time of mourning was ended, Judah went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.13It was told to Tamar, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.”) is like collecting the harvest. Such an event makes you happy and often generous.

David sends ten young men to Nabal and tells them exactly what they need to wish him, what they have been for him – so that Nabal can now celebrate this sheep shearers festival – and what they should ask for as a favor. He orders his ten young men to first greet him in his name. Then they must wish him peace, both for him personally and for his family, family and servants, and also for all his possessions. This wish of peace is not only politeness, but shows the mind of David toward Nabal.

Besides showing his mind in his good wishes David also points out his commitment to the wellbeing of Nabal. Not only has he taken nothing, he has also ensured protection that others have taken nothing of what belongs to Nabal. With this evidence he underlines his words. And that’s not all either. He points out to Nabal that he can check the truth of his statements with his servants. Finally, David appeals to the grace of Nabal. He does not demand anything, he does not threaten, he does not demand a reward, but asks Nabal to act mercifully. And is it not a good day when he approaches Nabal?

With all these words David wants to create the right atmosphere for the question he wants to ask. He is humble. About his own young men he speaks to Nabal as “your servants” and he calls himself “your son David”. He also does not give a list of desired articles, but leaves it entirely to Nabal. He asks Nabal to give him “whatever you find at hand”, that is to say what he can miss and has within reach, without having to make any effort.

Nabal’s Response

9When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David’s name; then they waited. 10But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. 11Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?”

The ten young men come to Nabal and speak in name of David what he has told them. The testimony is given by ten men. The number ten is the number of responsibility. Nabal is responsible for his response to David’s question. The question is whether the claims of God’s anointed king, even though he is on the run, are recognized. The fact that David as a person does not seem to live on the height of faith does not detract from the test to which Nabal is subjected by this question.

When they have spoken and are silent, Nabal immediately answers. His answer is a deep insult to David and shows contempt for the anointed king. Narrowing he pronounces it: “Who is David?” It sounds like the mocking question from the Pharaoh to Moses: “Who is the LORD?” (Exo 5:22But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”; cf. Job 21:15a15‘Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him,
And what would we gain if we entreat Him?’
). Then he says: “And who is the son of Jesse?” This shows that he does know David and that he despises him, as is the case with Saul, who also calls David this way (1Sam 20:2727It came about the next day, the second [day] of the new moon, that David’s place was empty; so Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has the son of Jesse not come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”).

By the way, the question “who is David”, and if we see David as a picture of the Lord Jesus, can be seen as a question that is asked of every human being. Every human being will have to answer the question: “What do you think about the Christ?” (Mt 22:4242“What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They *said to Him, “[The son] of David.”). The answer to this question determines eternity. If we do not know the answer to this question, it is guilty ignorance. As for David, Abigail knows, while Nabal does not. As for Christ, anyone can know, because it is written in God’s Word. If we don’t know, it’s because we don’t want to know.

Nabal sees everything as his property, obtained by his own efforts. The recurring word “my” indicates that. It never comes to him that he owes his wealth largely to the protection of his property by David and his men. Because of this he has lost nothing (verses 15-1615Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields.16They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep.).

Nabal is very similar to the rich man about whom the Lord Jesus tells a parable, in response to someone’s question of whether He wants to judge in a dispute over an inheritance (Lk 12:13-2113Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the [family] inheritance with me.”14But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”15Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not [even] when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”16And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive.17And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’18Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.19And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years [to come]; take your ease, eat, drink [and] be merry.”‘20But God said to him, ‘You fool! This [very] night your soul is required of you; and [now] who will own what you have prepared?’21So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”). In the parable God also addresses that rich man with the name “Fool” (Lk 12:2020But God said to him, ‘You fool! This [very] night your soul is required of you; and [now] who will own what you have prepared?’). Whoever looks at his possessions as purely the result of his own merit, without any sense of gratitude to God, is a fool.

Reaction of David

12So David’s young men retraced their way and went back; and they came and told him according to all these words. 13David 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.

Without any reaction from the men, they return to David. David does react, and how. He does not react with the gentleness of Him of Whom he is so often a picture. He reacts as John and James (Lk 9:5454When His disciples James and John saw [this], they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”). His reaction may be understandable, but it is not good. Where are his patience and his questions to God what he should do? He reacts carnal. We see here that the beloved one is only by grace a man after God’s heart. Like others, he is able to take a case into his own hands.

David expects evil and insult from Saul. He is prepared for that and is wary of it. This allows him to control himself. However, he expected kindness from Nabal. Therefore, the insult he receives is an unpleasant surprise. He is caught in it. He is not wary of that sudden attack. In view of such temptations it is necessary to pray to the Lord: “Do not lead us into temptation” (Mt 6:13a13‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

A Young Man Reports to Abigail

14But 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 them. 15Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. 16They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep. 17Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.”

One of the young men of Nabal tells Abigail what happened. He testifies how Nabal responded to David’s request how he reacted against David’s men. Nabal has scorned David’s men in an outburst of anger over what has been asked of him on David’s behalf. Then the young man testifies of the goodness of David and his men whom he and the other young men have experienced. They experienced them as a wall around them and they didn’t miss anything of the cattle they had to guard. Nabal must have given them severe punishment if they missed another piece of cattle. Those outbursts of anger have been spared to them by the protection of David and his men. At the same time, Nabal has lost nothing.

Through his actions Nabal fell into disgrace with David and will be killed. The servant can’t discuss this evil with Nabal because the man is unapproachable. He speaks to Nabal’s wife about him as “such a worthless man that no one can speak to him”.

Abigail Meets David

18Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred [loaves] of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded [them] on donkeys. 19She said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them. 21Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this [man] has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. 22May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave [as much as] one male of any who belong to him.”

Abigail hurries (verse 1818Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred [loaves] of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded [them] on donkeys.; verses 23,34,4223When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground.34Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light [as much as] one male.”42Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.). It is the haste of faith to hold someone back from foolishness. She does not act out of protection for her husband, but she acts with the future of David in mind. That shows a great faith. If faith is present, there is also wise action. She takes everything Nabal has refused to give and even does more than that. David has asked for the things that Nabal has easy to grasp (verse 88Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let [my] young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.’”). Abigail also gives food that she has prepared.

This is far more than a mere compensation of Nabal’s refusal. Later she will also compensate the insulting words Nabal has spoken. She acts according to the truth of the proverb: “A gift in secret subdues anger, And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath” (Pro 21:1414A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
; Gen 32:13b-2113So he spent the night there. Then he selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau:14two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,15thirty milking camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.16He delivered [them] into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on before me, and put a space between droves.”17He commanded the one in front, saying, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these [animals] in front of you belong?’18then you shall say, ‘[These] belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my LORD Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’”19Then he commanded also the second and the third, and all those who followed the droves, saying, “After this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him;20and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’” For he said, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.”21So the present passed on before him, while he himself spent that night in the camp.).

With her gift she goes to David. She comes down. This suggests that in the valley, i.e. in a humble attitude, a dispute can be settled. In the low affection and mercy are found. This is present with Abigail in relation to David, and thus she prevents him from exercising a wrong intention.

While she is on her way, she meets David. The meeting is described in a way that suggests that she hears everything David says and that David then suddenly stands face to face with her. What David intends to do and the reason for it are communicated. This shows that David reacts as a taunted and offended man. In his opinion Nabal has rewarded him “evil for good”. For that he will avenge himself. There he has, he thinks, the fullest right.

He is thus far away from the mind he has always shown towards Saul, which thus reminds us of the mind of the Lord Jesus. Nabal’s refusal to give him some of his prosperity, and Nabal’s insult in relation to his person, went down the wrong way with David. However misplaced Nabal’s refusal may be, in itself he did not do injustice to David. There is no agreement that David will be rewarded for the protection he has offered. David’s punitive expedition is not related to the refusal and the insult done to him.

The fact that the world does not show any gratitude for services rendered and perhaps even insults us should not be a reason to avenge ourselves. Gratitude is not a right we can claim. We too can count on the Lord to reward everything we have done out of love for Him, especially if we do not receive the expected reward from people. It is not for us to avenge ourselves for injustice or insult: “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath [of God], for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord” (Rom 12:1919Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath [of God], for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.).

Because David listens to Abigail, the LORD takes Nabal for His account, and David does not do anything that he would regret later.

David Restrained from Shedding Blood

23When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. 24She 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. 25Please 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. 26“Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, since the LORD has restrained you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal. 27Now let this gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who accompany my lord. 28Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29Should 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. 30And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31this 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.”

When Abigail sees David, she shows her submissive attitude by falling at his feet. In this attitude, she blames herself for the bad treatment his messengers had received (verses 24,2824She 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.28Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil will not be found in you all your days.). She does this to protect her house and to prevent David from committing folly. Anyone who is truly submissive will ignore great insults. Humble she asks David to hear her.

She speaks to him with the respect that a man like David deserves. She keeps calling him “my lord” and shows a completely different attitude and mind than her husband, who in his contempt for David said: “Who is David?” It is as if her tribute removes and replaces the contempt of her husband. She does her best to soften David and bring him to a better mind. She also points out to David that her husband is not even worth engaging with him. It is that she didn’t see David’s young men when they came for some food. If it had been, she would have given what they asked for.

David is on his way to get his right through his own hand. What he has always refused against Saul, he is about to do here: avenge himself. Now that she has stopped David, she says that the LORD has kept him from committing that evil. In what she says, she shows her faith in the outcome of her intervention. She resembles Rahab, who also binds herself in faith with God’s people, when those people do not yet own any of the promised land (Jos 2:9-139and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.10For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.11When we heard [it], our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.12Now therefore, please swear to me by the LORD, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of truth,13and spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”).

She pronounces it that the LORD will “certainly make for my lord an enduring house”. She believes that he will be king, that he is fighting the battles of the LORD and that he will do so in a righteous manner. For her David, and not Saul, is the king anointed by God. Saul she calls someone who” rises up to pursue you and to seek your life”. She encourages David by pointing out to him the protection of the LORD with Whom he is safe and for Whom he is valuable. He can trust that the LORD Himself will deal with his enemies, whether it be Nabal or Saul. These words should remind David of what he himself said earlier to Saul, that the LORD will deal with him (1Sam 24:13,1613As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you.16When David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” Then Saul lifted up his voice and wept.).

She points out the time that will come when David’s suffering will be over and he will reign. In view of that wonderful time, she asks with confidence whether David will remember her. The words she speaks remind us of the words of the robber on the cross next to the Lord Jesus. This man discovers in the Crucified the Lord of glory and the King of kings. He looks beyond the fearful circumstances of the moment and asks in confidence: ““Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Lk 23:4242And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”). The noble Abigail and the low sunken robber show the same faith. They look beyond the present and act and speak in the light of the future.

David Listens

32Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, 33and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. 34Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light [as much as] one male.” 35So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request.”

Abigail is a wise admonisher and David has a listening ear: “[Like] an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise reprover to a listening ear” (Pro 25:1212[Like] an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
). David reacts as a believer. He is not ashamed to be corrected by a woman and gives the LORD the honor for that. He sees in her a messenger of God and acknowledges His goodness in her.

When someone comes to us with counsel, guidance, comfort, warning, or punishment, it is important that we see that God sends such a person to us. It should make us thankful when, through God’s providence, there are people on our way who are a means in His hand to keep us from committing sin.

The Death of Nabal

36Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she did not tell him anything at all until the morning light. 37But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became [as] a stone. 38About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died.

When Abigail comes home, Nabal is drunk. There are few things that reduce a person as much as drunkenness. Excessive drinking deprives a person of his sound vision on life and makes him a senseless animal. God is not thought of at all. Nabal doesn’t seem to have missed her and nothing of what she took with her. He lavishly celebrates. What he has begrudged to David, he uses to have his own carousal. In his imagination he is a king. He sits on the throne, his own self reigns.

Abigail realizes that it makes no sense to tell Nabal anything about what has been happening. Trying to tell drunken people the gospel is throwing pearls before swine. When Nabal is sober again the next day, Abigail tells him about her meeting with David. When he hears that, his heart dies and he becomes as a stone, that is, like a dead person.

Several explanations have been given as to why this is the case. Some say that he suffered a cardiac arrest because he realized the death threat he had been exposed to by his heartless actions against David and his men. He must have thought that this evil could still happen to him. A wicked man remains afraid of threat as long as he does not accept grace. Others say that he was particularly excited about the gift his wife brought to David without his knowledge. This loss has been shocking for him. It may also be that he, who was a hard, numb man, realized that his wife has humiliated him by her actions in an extraordinary way. That was unbearable for him.

In any case, about ten days later he really dies, because the LORD kills him. He has lived without mercy and dies without consolation. There is no one who grieves for him. We see that the LORD exercises right between David and Nabal. Let it be an encouragement for us that He also arranges the right for us.

Abigail Becomes David’s Wife

39When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal and has kept back His servant from evil. The LORD has also returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent a proposal to Abigail, to take her as his wife. 40When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, “David has sent us to you to take you as his wife.” 41She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.

David acknowledges that the LORD has taken a stand for him and praises Him for it. That clears the way for him to take Abigail as his wife. Abigail leaves her easy life with plenty and chooses to come to David and accompany him on a path of suffering and wandering. Abigail is a picture of the faithful remnant of Israel in the end time that is connected to the Messiah.

When she comes to him, she takes the attitude of submission and says she is ready to do the humblest work. She takes the humble place and makes herself available to David and his servants. She connects her fate to his and will share in the persecution and oppression that are his part. She will even be captured by David’s enemies when they are in Ziklag (1Sam 30:55Now David’s two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.). However, she will also share in his throne when he will reign in Hebron (2Sam 2:2-42So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.3And David brought up his men who [were] with him, each with his household; and they lived in the cities of Hebron.4Then the men of Judah came and there anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, “It was the men of Jabesh-gilead who buried Saul.”).

The Wives of David

43David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both became his wives. 44Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim.

When mentioning the wives of David Ahinoam is mentioned first (2Sam 3:22Sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess;; 1Chr 3:11Now these were the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn [was] Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; the second [was] Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelitess;). This probably happens because she is the mother of his firstborn son, Amnon. As a reason for taking his two other wives it is mentioned here that Saul gave his daughter Michal, “David’s wife”, to Palti (2Sam 3:1515Ish-bosheth sent and took her from [her] husband, from Paltiel the son of Laish.). Saul may have done so to bother David and possibly cut through any band David was connected to him with.

It should be noted that, however much it may be customary in those days that the increase in the power of a king is accompanied by an increase of wives, having more than one wife is and remains against God’s statute and intention (Mt 19:4-54And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created [them] from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,5and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?).

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