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CHAPTER 25 Jul. 12 
Nabal Refuses to Help David
Samuel died, and all Israel gathered together and mourned for him, and they buried him at his home in Ramah. David went down to the wilderness of Paran. 2There was a man in Maon who had property in Carmel, and the man was very wealthy. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but the man was harsh and mean; he belonged to the family of Caleb. 4David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5David sent ten young men and said to them, Go up to Carmel and go to Nabal and greet him in my name. 6Say to him, ‘Long life to you! Peace to you and to your house and to all that you have. 7I have heard that you are shearing your sheep. Your shepherds have been with us, and we didn’t hurt them, nothing of theirs was missing all the while they were in Carmel. 8Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find grace in your eyes, for we come at a good time. Please give whatever you can to your servants and to your son David’. 9When David’s young men came they said this to Nabal in the name of David, and waited. 10Nabal answered David’s servants, Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants who break away from their masters these days. 11Shall I then take my bread, my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men who come from I don’t know where?

David Prepares to Punish Nabal
12So David’s young men turned and went back and told him all this. 13David said to his men, Every man put on his sword! Every man put on his sword and David also put on his. About four hundred men followed David and two hundred stayed by the baggage. 14But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, Look, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them. 15But the men were very good to us and we were not hurt, nothing was missing as long as we were with them in the fields. 16They were a wall to us night and day all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17Now therefore consider what you should do, for evil is determined against our master and against all his household; he is such a worthless fellow that one can’t even speak to him. 18Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread, two bottles of wine, five sheep ready dressed, five measures of parched grain, one hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19She said to her young men, Go on before me; I am following you. But she didn’t tell her husband, Nabal. 20As she rode on her donkey and came down in a valley, and there were David and his men coming down towards her, and she met them. 21Now David had said, Surely for nothing I have kept all this fellow’s possessions in the wilderness, so that nothing was missing. He has returned me evil for good. 22God deal with David severely, if I leave alive one man of his by the morning.

Abigail Intervenes
23When Abigail saw David she hurried and alighted from her donkey; she bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24She fell at his feet and said, On me, my lord, on me be the blame, and please let your handmaid speak in your ears. Hear the words of your handmaid. 25Please pay no attention, my lord, to this worthless fellow Nabal. As his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is his nature; but I, your handmaid, didn’t see your young men whom you sent. 26Now therefore my lord, as Yahweh lives and as your soul lives, since Yahweh has withheld you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now therefore let your enemies and those who seek evil to my lord be like Nabal. 27Let this gift which your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28Please forgive the sin of your handmaid, for Yahweh will certainly make for my lord a sure house, because my lord fights the battles of Yahweh. Let evil not be found in you all your days. 29Though men may rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, yet the life of my lord will be bound in the bundle of life with Yahweh your God. He will hurl out the lives of your enemies as though from the pocket of a sling. 30When Yahweh has done to my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel, 31then this will not be on your conscience, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. When Yahweh has dealt well with my lord, then remember your handmaid. 32David said to Abigail, Blessed is Yahweh, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33Blessed is your discretion, and blessed are you for keeping me this day from the guilt of bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand. 34For indeed, as Yahweh the God of Israel lives who has withheld me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely there wouldn’t have been left to Nabal by the morning light so much as a single male. 35So David accepted from her what she had brought him and he said to her, Go up in peace to your house. I have listened to your words and have granted your request. 36Abigail came to Nabal while he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. Nabal’s heart was merry, for he was very drunk. Therefore she told him nothing until the morning. 37In the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened; and his heart failed and he became like a stone. 38About ten days after that, Yahweh struck Nabal so that he died.

Abigail Becomes David’s Wife
39When David heard that Nabal was dead he said, Blessed is Yahweh, who has upheld my cause against Nabal, and has kept back His servant from doing wrong. Yahweh has returned the wrongdoing of Nabal on his own head. David sent and asked Abigail to become his wife. 40When his servants had come to Abigail to Carmel they said, David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife. 41She arose, bowed herself with her face to the earth and said, Your handmaid is ready to be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord. 42Abigail hurried and got onto a donkey, with five of her maids who followed her, and she went with the messengers of David and became his wife. 43David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they both became his wives. 44Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim.


25:3 He belonged to the family of Caleb- A reminder that a faithful believer doesn’t always have faithful descendants. We each stand independently before God, and yet nurture can play a significant part in the final algorithm determining why some end up faithful and some don’t.
25:19 Go on before me; I am following you- Abigail was learning from Biblical precedent, just as we should; in this case, the example of Jacob trying to appease the approaching Esau and his men (cp. :20) by sending extravagant presents and then following behind them (Gen. 32:13-22). The similarity presents David as unspiritual Esau, and indeed this was a low point in David’s spiritual life; see on :33. Her bowing with her face to the earth was exactly what Jacob did to Esau (:23 = Gen. 33:3). Her mind was clearly in that record, and she succeeded as we should in translating Biblical history into a practical template for our daily crises.
25:33 David thanks Abigail for persuading him not to ‘shed blood’ and “avenging myself with my own hand”- the very things he elsewhere condemns in his Psalms (e.g. Ps. 44:3). Time and again in the Psalms, David uses that Hebrew word translated “avenging myself” about how God and not man will revenge / save him against his enemies, for God saves / avenges the humble in spirit not by their strength and troops but by His. But in the anger of hot blood, David let go of all those fine ideas. In the heat of the moment we too can let go of all the far higher principles we know and love, and do the very things we detest when we see in others.
25:34 David sent messengers to Nabal meaning well to him, and they were rudely rebuffed, resulting in his anger which only Abigail’s grace and wisdom saved him from . And yet the same situation repeated in its essence when he sent messengers to Hanun who were likewise misinterpreted and rebuffed (2 Sam. 10:3). Again, David got angry- but there was no Abigail to restrain him, and he did get into an impossible fight… from which by grace God delivered him. David failed to learn from his previous experience. David had just been tested by God in the matter of sparing the life of his enemy Saul- and he came through the test with flying colours (1 Sam. 24). But now, soon afterwards, he was tested again in the same area in the matter of Nabal- and he initially failed, intent as he was to take the life of his enemy Nabal. Thus a circumstance can repeat over a matter in which we were previously successful- and we can still fail that test. God is ever seeking to teach us by repeating circumstances in our lives.

25:35 It seems that the thief had a deep Bible knowledge. It could be that when he asks to be remembered for good when the Lord Jesus returned in His Kingdom, he had in mind Abigail's words: that when David returned in glory in his Kingdom, "my Lord, then remember your handmaid" (:31). This was prefaced by her asking: "Forgive the sin of your handmaid” (:28). David's response was marvellously similar to that of the Lord Jesus to the thief: “Go up in peace to your house. I have listened to your words and have granted your request”. It would seem that the thief saw in David a type of Christ, and saw in Abigail's words exactly the attitude he had. And Christ accepted this. Again we see how the faithful didn’t just read the Bible as history but proactively saw the similarities with their situations and spoke and acted accordingly.

25:39 Has kept back His servant from doing wrong- God is able to work in our lives to stop us sinning over and above our own steel will; and we should ask Him to do so. We should also seek to be like Abigail, using wisdom and humility to stop others falling into sin.