Abigail was a humble woman who was married to a wealthy but mean and foolish man. Abigail combined her wisdom with her wealth to appear before an approaching judgment to plead for the safety of her household.
“Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David moved down into the Desert of Paran. A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.
While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!
“‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’”
When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited.
Nabal answered David’s servants, “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?”
David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. David said to his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So they did, and David strapped his on as well. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.” (1 Samuel 25:1-13)
Nabal foolishly denied David his request and put his whole household at risk of death because of that foolishness. David and his men had treated Nabal’s servants with kindness and Nabal repaid them with evil. David immediately set out to execute judgment.
Her husband may have been foolish, but Abigail was wise.
“One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”
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 25:14-19)
When Abigail heard what had happened and that David was about to come in full force to execute judgment on her husband’s household, she quickly acted and sent gifts ahead to meet David and his men before they reached her household.
She wisely did not tell her husband for she knew that it could only inflame the situation.
Abigail chose righteousness in spite of her husband’s sin.
Abigail chose to do the right thing despite her husband’s sin against David. We can learn from her that righteousness is always a personal choice and that we do not have to follow along with the sin of others no matter how close they may be to us.
Abigail was courageous
Abigail’s courage in the situation is worth noting. Women of that time didn’t hold much influence or status in society and yet, she knew she needed to do something in order to protect her household and to honor her future king.
Abigail was humble
As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!”
When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. (1 Samuel 25:20-23)
Abigail was quick to show her humility to her future king. We can learn from her that humility often paves the way for mercy. By showing David reverence, she began to diffuse the volatile situation at hand.
Abigail was a peacemaker
She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 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. As for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you. (1 Samuel 25:24-27)
Abigail was a peacemaker. She didn’t make excuses for her husband and openly acknowledge his sin before David. She also “puts her money where her mouth is” so to speak by bringing a substantial gift to David and his servants to show that she is serious about what she says.
Abigail saw the big picture of God’s purpose
“Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.” 1 Samuel 25: 28-31
What sets Abigail apart in this story is that she shows that she sees the bigger picture of God’s purpose and plan for David. She seems to be intimately acquainted with his story and what God has promised him and shows that she is fully behind him and in agreement with God’s Plan for the kingdom.
She knows that it isn’t good for David to avenge himself by shedding blood with his own hands as the future king of Israel and she isn’t afraid to say it. Her concern for his integrity before the Lord is endearing and powerful because it shows that she is a woman who is mindful of the kingdom’s business. We can learn from Abigail to always be mindful of the bigger picture when faced with the unsavory situations of the world.
Her good judgement brought her honor and saved the men of her household from death
David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”
Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.” 1 Samuel 25: 32-35
David, rightly impressed by Abigail, praises God and acknowledges her wisdom in the matter. He grants her request and releases her to return home in peace.
Abigail returns home and her husband is throwing a banquet, drunk and so she waits till morning to tell him of everything that happened. Upon hearing the tale, his heart failed him and 10 days later he died. The Lord executed judgment on Nabal thus saving David from having to do it himself. When David hears of Nabal’s death, he sends for Abigail in an interesting twist of fate.
Her character, servant’s heart and quick obedience to righteousness set the stage for promotion
Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.” She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife. (1 Samuel 25: 40-42)
Abigail demonstrates that quick obedience to righteousness and exceptional character will be rewarded. She had a servant’s heart and quickly acted every time she was prompted. Because of her actions, her household was preserved and she was promoted as the future king’s wife.
As women of God, we never have to fear doing the right and just thing.
I hope today’s post inspires you to follow Abigail’s example!