Focal Passage: 1 Samuel 25:2-3, 18-19, 23-31, 36-38, 39b
Throughout history you can look to any person of great success and marvel at their accomplishments. It is always the most noted of persons, the one in the limelight that gets the credit, the fame, the fortune, and their name in the history books. Many events of the past have been attributed to great persons, but surely there were others in the background that had some role to play in the outcome.
On the grand stage of world affairs there are always persons that are working behind closed doors, or behind persons that are not seen, or even known. We have even heard the quote, “Behind every good man is a good woman.” In some cases it might be that behind even a bad man there is a good woman. In the scripture passage from 1 Samuel 25 Abigail is just such a dear wife. She is married to a husband that is very wealthy, but his character is called into question. Her husband’s name is Nabal, which literally means “fool,” and his actions seem to confirm the meaning.
David is in hiding in the wilderness from Saul, and it is felt that he had watched over Nabal’s men and kept them safe, and also Nabal’s vast holdings. David became aware that it was sheering time, which meant that Nabal would also be slaughtering some animals and there would be feasting. David chose 10 of his men to go and ask Nabal that he might share some meat with him and his men and he told them to speak kindly to Nabal.
Unfortunately, when David’s men approached Nabal he was unaware of whom David was and asked, “Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give to men whose origin I do not know?” (v.11). With this response David’s men returned and David was angered and called his men to arms. Nabal was unaware of the protection that David had provided for him from marauders and thieves who would have stolen from his herds or done harm to his herders.
One of Nabal’s men spoke with Abigail about how well David and his men treated them and that David had sent messengers to ask for assistance and how rudely Nabal had responded. It was at this moment that she realized that it was up to her to act in the best interest of her husband and her home. She gathered a great deal of food and supplies and went out to meet David, paying homage to him. David had pity on her and spared Nabal.
She returned to find her husband drunk from feasting and said nothing to him until the next morning. At the news he was so shocked that he suffered a stroke and died ten days later. David offered to take Abigail as his wife.
We see in Abigail an example of faithfulness. She realized that it fell to her to right that which was made wrong by her husband. Sometimes in life it falls upon each of us to help and protect those that we love, and in some way we have to help them find a way to accept responsibility for their actions.