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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Na´bal (stupid, foolish), a descendant of Caleb, dwelling at Maon, and having large possessions near Carmel of Judah, in the same neighborhood. He had abundant wealth, being the possessor of 3000 sheep and 1000 goats, but his churlish and harsh character had not been softened by the prosperity with which he had been favored. He was holding a great sheep-shearing of his numerous flocks at Carmel—which was a season of great festivity among the sheep-masters of Israel—when David sent some of his young men to request a small supply of provisions, of which his troop was in great need. He was warranted in asking this, as, while Nabal's flocks were out in the desert, the presence of David and his men in the neighborhood had effectually protected them from the depredations of the Arabs. But Nabal refused this application, with harsh words, reflecting coarsely upon David and his troop as a set of worthless runagates. On learning this, David was highly incensed, and set out with his band to avenge the insult. But his intention was anticipated and averted by Nabal's wife Abigail who met him on the road with a most acceptable supply of provisions, and, by her consummate tact and good sense, mollified his anger, and, indeed, caused him in the end to feel thankful that he had been prevented from the bloodshed which would have ensued. When Nabal, after recovering from the drunkenness of the feast, was informed of these circumstances, he was struck with such intense terror at the danger to which he had been exposed, that 'his heart died within him, and he became as a stone;' which seems to have been the exciting cause of a malady that carried him off about ten days after. David, not long after, evinced the favorable impression which the good sense and comeliness of Abigail had made upon him, by making her his wife, B.C. 1061 (1 Samuel 25) [ABIGAIL].





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Nabal'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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