Now Samuel died; and all of the Israelites were gathered together, and lamenting him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran. And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very wealthy, he had three thousand sheep, a thousand goats: and they were shearing his sheep there in Carmel ( 1 Samuel 25:1-2 ).
Now Carmel is the mountain range that goes from east to west. It starts at the port city of Haifa and goes east along the area. Actually, Megiddo is in a portion, a lower portion of this range of Carmel, just about the end of the range towards the east. So there Nabal, his servants were shearing his sheep.
Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife was Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and a very beautiful face: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb. And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. And so David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name: And thus shall you say to him who is living in such prosperity, Peace both to thee, and peace to your house, and peace to all that you have. Now I"ve heard that you have shearers: and now your shepherds which were with us, we did not hurt them, neither was there anything missing from them, all the while that they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let my young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to your hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David. And when David"s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all of the words in the name of David, and they had finished. Nabal answered David"s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there are many servants now a days that break away from a man"s master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men, whom I know not from where they are? So David"s young men turned their way, and they went again, and they came and told David all those sayings. And David said to his men, All right men put on your swords. So every man put on his sword; and David also put on his sword: and they went up after David about four hundred men; two hundred men stayed by their stuff. And one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal"s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master; and he railed on them. But the men were very good to us, we were not hurt, neither did we miss anything, as long as we were conversant with them, in the fields: They were a wall unto us both by night and day, the whole while we were there keeping the sheep. Now therefore know and consider what you"re gonna do; for evil is determined against our master, and against his house: for he is such a man of Belial, that a man can"t speak to him ( 1 Samuel 25:3-17 ).
So they came to Nabal"s wife, and they said, "Hey, David sent these servants to talk to our master, and man, he really railed on them. It"s not good, because David"s men were indeed kind. They were a wall to us, they didn"t take anything from us, and now evil"s determined. We can"t talk to him, you know, no one can talk to him. He"s just such a character."
And so Abigail, Nabal"s wife made haste, she took two hundred loaves, two bottles of wine, five sheep that were already dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred little cakes of dried figs, and she laid them on the donkeys. And she said to her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she did not tell her husband Nabal. And it was so, as she rode on the donkey, that as she came down by the covert of the hill, and behold, David and his men were coming down against her; and she met them. Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed from all that pertained to him: and he has requited me evil for good. And so more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any man at all. And when Abigail saw David, she hurried, and got off of her donkey, and fell down before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground. And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let your handmaid, I pray thee, speak in your audience, and hear the words. Don"t let my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he ( 1 Samuel 25:18-25 );
Now the word "Nabal" means foolish. She said, "Don"t regard this guy. He"s a fool like his name, so he is, his name is a fool. So you know he"s just, he is. They named him well."
[Fool] is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom you did send. ["I didn"t see them."] Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, seeing the Lord has withheld thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with your own hand, now let your enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. And now this blessing which your handmaid has brought unto my lord, let it be given unto the young men hath follow my lord. I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil has not been found in thee in all thy days. Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling ( 1 Samuel 25:25-29 ).
So Abigail is there pleading with David. Beautiful woman, has brought all of these things, and she is making good sense. "You know why should you avenge yourself. God will avenge you David. He"s taken care of you, and so forgive the foolishness of this foolish man."
It shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee the ruler over Israel; Then this will not be a grief to you, ["that you avenge yourself, this won"t be on your conscience that you came up and you wiped out this guy and his family just because he didn"t give the provisions that you were wanting for your men."] but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid. So David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent you to meet me today: And blessed is the advice, and blessed are you, which have kept me today from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand ( 1 Samuel 25:30-33 ).
Now to me this shows the greatness of David. Some men are so dumb that they can"t take advice from women. You know they think, "I"m the man" and they"re not willing to listen to anybody much, and really oftentimes not a woman. But here it really shows the greatness of David. "Ah, blessed be thou of the Lord," that"s good advice, blessed is your advice. You"re just a blessed person. "Thank you for coming and stopping me from avenging myself, shedding blood, avenging myself." He saw that the advice was sound. He saw that it was good. He respected it, he admired her for it, and of course, many characteristics about Abigail, very, very sharp, good woman. She"ll be an interesting one to meet in heaven and to share with and all. She"s just a very outstanding person indeed.
For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, which has kept me back from hurting thee, except you had come to meet me, surely there had not been to Nabal any left in the family. So David received of her hand that which she had received of him, and said to her, Go up in peace to your house; I have hearkened to your voice, I"ve accepted what you"ve said. So Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal"s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk: therefore she did not tell him any thing less, or more, until the morning. But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, [Sobering up] that his wife told him of these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone ( 1 Samuel 25:34-37 ).
He was so angry and so upset in what she did, he just froze. His heart died within him, and actually he probably had a heart attack.
And it came to pass ten days afterwards, [that he died,] the Lord smote Nabal, and he died. And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, that she might become his wife. And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us to thee, to take thee to him for a wife. And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord. [Now here again showing really the greatness of this woman Abigail, she said, "Oh let me wash your feet, the feet of the servants of my lord", so they were servants but yet a very gracious woman, and a marvelous woman indeed.] So Abigail hurried, and arose, and rode upon a donkey, with five of her damsels that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife. Now David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives. But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David"s wife, to Phalti the son the Laish, which was of Gallim ( 1 Samuel 25:38-43 ).
So the whole crazy mixed-up marriage situations that began, which of course with Solomon when he took over as king, took to the extremes, foolish extremes. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 25". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany