Marriages were often arranged in Abigail’s era, and I wonder if this was true of hers. On paper Nabal seemed like a “catch” … he was wealthy, a good provider, and he liked to have fun and throw parties. But behind the scenes his character was seriously lacking and those closest to him suffered for it.
Here is what we know about Abigail’s husband, Nabal:
*His parents gave him a name that means “fool.” (vs. 25) Things that make you go hum ...
*He is wealthy – that’s partly due to David’s protection of his flocks. (vs. 2,8)
*He is crude and mean in all his dealings. (vs. 3)
*He sneers at his guests who come in peace, and then he questions their character. (vs. 10-11)
*He screams insults. (vs .14)
*He is so tempermental that everyone avoids or dreads talking to him. (vs. 17)
*He is not attuned enough with his wife to notice she has left home. (vs. 19)
*He is stingy and does not return favors or repay kindnesses showed him. (vs. 16, 21)
*He arrogantly thinks more highly of himself than he ought. (vs. 36)
*He drinks too much. (vs. 36-37)
Basically, Nabal was a self-centered, ill-mannered guy who didn’t recognize God’s plans, provision or blessings in his life. He was foolish enough to insult the most powerful man around (David) and to provoke him to want to kill him. More importantly, he was foolish enough to insult the one, true God who let him face the consequences of his sin (vs. 38-39).
Stop and imagine yourself paired up in marriage to such a foolish, arrogant, verbally abusive man as this. (I hope that you have to imagine and have not lived this.)
How would you react towards him? What do you think living with him might do to your personality, or your character? Would you grow depressed? Would you become withdrawn or timid? Would you nag him to do better? Would you grow bitter and become argumentative back? Would you just “let yourself go” and decide not to care about anything?
Now let’s look at what we know about Abigail, wife of Nabel:
*She is smart and sensible. (vs. 3)
*She is beautiful. (vs. 3)
*People look to her for wisdom and leadership in times of trouble. (vs. 14, 17)
*She is decisive and wastes no time worrying, pitying her situation, or fussing at those who cause her trouble – instead she takes action to improve the situation. (vs. 18, 23)
*She is a generous giver. (vs. 18, 27)
*She puts her own life on the line to save others. (vs. 22, 24)
*She is humble. (vs. 24, 41)
*She is quick to ask forgiveness. (vs. 28)
*She speaks eloquently and tactfully, with a knowledge of God, as she gives one of the longest speeches by a woman recorded in the Bible. (vs. 24-31)
*She looks out for others … she cares for both Nabal’s reputation (vs. 25) and David’s (vs. 31) more than her own.
*She knows when to wait patiently for the right timing .(vs. 36-38)
*She won the appreciation, admiration and love of the future king, David.
Abigail has always been one of my favorites. She has it all – wisdom, character, courage, faith, eloquence, graciousness. She possesses both inner and outer beauty. But her life with this man Nabal was no picnic, and that’s why I really admire her.
How many times did Nabal get drunk and say or do demeaning things to her? Yet she did not let her spirit die. How many times did she wish for revenge, though not seek it? How many times did he berate her with insults… yet she was not paralyzed by it. How many times did his foolishness cost her greatly, or those she cared about? Yet she didn’t count the costs to herself when she put her life on the line to spare his and the other men’s. Abigail’s praiseworthy character ran deep and through and through, which tells me so did her reverence of God.
After Nabal’s death, she married David and they had a son. David will have seven other wives in his lifetime, but only Abigail earns his complete respect and is a positive influence on him.
Abigail challenges me to be humble, wise and courageous. Her example lets me know that I can’t allow my situation to dictate my character. In fact, her life shows me that being humble and wise makes room for God to be glorified and to improve my situation.
Finally, Abigail's (and Nabal's) life shows me the truth found in these proverbs:
Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor. (Proverbs 18:22)
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:26)
Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor. (Proverbs 15:33)
Tell us what you gleaned from reading about Abigail.