Before she was David’s wife, Abigail was the wife of a harsh, self-centered and evil man named Nabal; their story is found in 1 Samuel 25.
David and his servants had been companions and protectors of Nabal’s shepherds. While David and his servants were traveling through the area where Abigail and Nabal lived following the burial of Samuel, David sent messengers to Nabal asking him to show hospitality to King David and his servants.
Instead of being gracious, Nabal responded that David was lazy and presumptuous. David became angry when Nabal failed to show respect to him and ordered his men to strap on their weapons and prepare for a fight. David and his men headed for Nabal’s home, vowing to leave no men alive in Nabal’s household.
A wise servant alerted Nabal’s wife, Abigail, to the situation. The servant told her about King David’s request, Nabal’s disrespectful reply and David’s anger. Abigail loaded up a huge feast and snuck out to intercept David and his men before they reached Nabal. Abigail’s hope was that her gracious actions would calm David’s anger and spare her family.
In the meantime, Nabal was back at home throwing a party for himself because he told off the King. Nabal was drunk when Abigail got home, so she decided to wait until morning to tell Nabal she had blessed David and his men in order to turn away the King’s anger. The next morning, Abigail told Nabal about her encounter with David and his men. She told Nabal he almost caused the complete destruction of their family. Nabal was so shocked by this news that the Bible says “his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died” (v. 37-38).
So what do we learn from Abigail?
- Abigail was “intelligent and beautiful in appearance” (v. 3). Ladies, never be ashamed of your intelligence–you never know when that very thing could save your life or the life of someone else, as it did in Abigail’s case.
- Abigail had wisdom and discernment. Abigail recognized her husband had greatly offended the king and she knew that only a show of extraordinary grace and honor would turn back the king’s wrath.
- Abigail was faithful. Poor Abigail–the Bible calls her beautiful and intelligent, her actions show that she had wisdom, discernment and a gracious heart, but she ended up with a loser like Nabal! Abigail didn’t leave Nabal; she didn’t even let David kill him. Instead, Abigail pleaded for Nabal’s life and the lives of her entire household. That’s faithfulness!
- Abigail was protective. By blessing, honoring and pleading with David, Abigail protected her family. Abigail also protected David from himself. David wasn’t going to kill Nabal because God directed him to, David was going to kill Nabal and his household because he was angry. Abigail protected David from committing murder.
Abigail shows quick thinking, wisdom, grace under pressure and faithfulness. Abigail protected those around her even when they weren’t worth protecting. In contrast to Nabal, Abigail was honest and gracious.
PI girls, what do you think of Abigail’s story?
Then David said to Abigail, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.’ So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, ‘Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request’ (1 Samuel 25:32-33, 35).