1 Samuel 25:12-13 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!
Nabal finally offended the wrong person. David was the future king of Israel, and now he had an army of six hundred men (1 Samuel 25:13). 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! (1 Samuel 25:21-22).
Fearing disaster, one of Nabal’s servants told Nabal’s wife what he had done. Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household (1 Samuel 25:17), he said. So Nabal’s wife took an abundance of food, loaded it on donkeys, and went out to meet David.
1 Samuel 25:23-25 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 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.
Nabal was a fool in the eyes of others, and also in the eyes of God. [F]ools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7). [T]he mouth of a fool invites ruin (Proverbs 10:4). [F]ools detest turning from evil (Proverbs 13:19). And Fools mock at making amends (Proverbs 14:9), says Proverbs.
But Nabal’s wife was just the opposite. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman (1 Samuel 25:3). She humbled herself before David, interceded for her husband, and turned away David’s wrath. Her timely intervention saved the lives of many.
This reminds us of Jesus Christ who is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (Romans 8:34), wrote Paul. Like Nabal, we often play the fool, and call down the wrath of God. But we have a Savior who intercedes on our behalf, and turns away the wrath of God. Without the intercession of Christ, we would certainly perish for all the foolish things that we have done.
1 Samuel 25:32-33 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.
David was close to making a big mistake. He was rightly offended by Nabal’s treatment, but the retaliation he was planning would have been worse than Nabal’s offense. Abigail was sent by God to keep David from an action that would have brought guilt, regret and damage to his reputation.
God overruled David’s foolish plans, and by his grace, overrules ours sometimes. He might send someone like Abigail, or change our mind himself. God often protects us from the harm we would do to others, as well as to ourselves.
1 Samuel 25:36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk.
This was not the right time for Abigail to tell her husband what had happened, so she waited until morning. When Nabal learned the danger he was in, and the harm he nearly brought on his family, his heart failed him and he became like a stone (1 Samuel 25:37). Nabal probably had a heart attack, and about ten days later, he died.
1 Samuel 25:39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt.
Nabal lived as a fool, and also died as one. He lingered ten days without any sign of repentance. He could have turned from his wicked ways and received eternal life. But after more than a week, there was no sign of change. Finally, the Lord struck Nabal and he died (1 Samuel 25:38).
Nabal got what he deserved, but God would rather have shown mercy. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (Ezekiel 18:23). God does not enjoy killing the wicked, but his justice brings them to account.
1 Samuel 25:39b Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.
By marrying Nabal’s widow, David acquired his wealth. Everything Nabal worked for now belonged to David, a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). [A] sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous (Proverbs 13:22), says Proverbs. If we do not manage our money for God, he can give it to someone else.
Reflection and Review
How is the intercession of Abigail like the intercession of Christ?
How does God keep us from making big mistakes?
How was Nabal foolish?