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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
1 Samuel 25

 

 

Verses 1-44

1 Samuel 25:1 b - 1 Samuel 25:44. David, Nabal and Abigail (J).—From one of the oldest sources. The story is complete in itself, and has no obvious connexion with any of the other sections.

1 Samuel 25:1 b - 1 Samuel 25:13. David goes to the wilderness of Paran at the S. of the Arabah (1 Samuel 23:24*). (Some read "Maon" for "Paran" with LXX.) At Carmel (1 Samuel 15:12*) there was a wealthy sheikh, Nabal, a member of the clan Caleb, whose headquarters were at Hebron (Judges 1:20). It is possible that the clan was not yet reckoned as part of Israel. He had a beautiful and sensible wife, Abigail; he himself was an ill-behaved churl, in fact a cur—Caleb means "dog." He was sheepshearing, an occasion for feasting (p. 101). David heard of it, and as he had protected Nabal's flocks and herds from other bandits, when they were grazing on the outlying pastures, he felt that the time had come when he should be rewarded. He sent a courteous request that he and his followers should be allowed to share in the "good day," i.e. the feast, and in anticipation of a generous response, he sent ten young men. Nabal replied that there were plenty of runaway slaves about, and he was not going to give them the food he had pre pared for his shearers. On the receipt of the message, David set out for Nabal's house with 400 armed men.

1 Samuel 25:14-19. But one of Nabal's men told Abigail what had happened. He dared not remonstrate with his master on account of his evil temper. Abigail promptly prepared a generous present, and set out to meet David, sending the present on in front. She said nothing to her husband.

1 Samuel 25:17. son of Belial: Deuteronomy 13:13*, Proverbs 6:12*.

1 Samuel 25:18. bottles: skins.—measure: seah, a third of an ephah, which latter probably contained about 8¼ gallons.

1 Samuel 25:20-22. Abigail met David coming with the expressed intention of slaying every male of Nabal's household. She alighted and offered him the homage due from a subject to a prince. Let him leave Nabal out of account, as an ill-natured fool, and regard her as the guilty party, so that he may accept apology and compensation from her. "Yahweh," she says, "is preparing a great future for David as the issue of his present troubles. The life that Saul threatens will be preserved among the living, treasured by Yahweh with His most precious possessions; while his enemies will be hurled out of life, like a stone out of a sling. Let not that happy future be clouded by the guilt of shedding innocent blood." David accepted the present, and desisted from his purpose.

1 Samuel 25:31. grief: the word so translated occurs only here, and its meaning is not certain; BDB "staggering" (cf. mg.), fig. "for qualm of conscience."—offence of heart: lit. stumbling-block, etc., i.e. as BDB, "ground for remorse."

1 Samuel 25:36-44. Meanwhile Nabal had been holding a royal feast, and by the time Abigail got back, he was too drunk to be told what had happened. When his wife told him in the morning, he had a stroke; a second stroke, ten days later, killed him; or, as it is put, "Yahweh smote him." David sent Abigail an offer of marriage which she accepted. According to ICC, widows remarry in the East without much delay. David had already married Ahinoam of Jezreel in Judah, near the southern Carmel. When David fled, Saul gave Michal to a certain Phalti of Gallim, between Gibeah and Jerusalem.

1 Samuel 25:41. This must not be taken literally; it need not denote excessive humility, but may be largely conventional etiquette.

1 Samuel 25:42. The damsels walked behind their mistress.

1 Samuel 25:44. Probably David's outlawry dissolved the marriage according to current custom.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 25:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-samuel-25.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 12th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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