Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran. 2And there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite. 4David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5So David sent ten young men. And David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal and greet him in my name….
14But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master [Nabal], and he railed at them. 15Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. 16They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is such a worthless man that one cannot speak to him.”
18Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys….23When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got down from the donkey and fell before David on her face and bowed to the ground. 24She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. 25Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent….35Then David received from her hand what she had brought him. And he said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition.”
36And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until the morning light. 37In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 38And about ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
39When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and spoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife. (1 Samuel 25:1-5, 14-18, 23-25, 35-39. ESV.)
Many questions rise up in my mind each time I read this. Is this a “love story” or an example of God’s grace and faithfulness…or both? Is this “bad theology” like Job and Ecclesiastes? Is it a non-fiction “illustration” (similar to a parable so it can be easily understood) or is it simply fact…this is the way it happened, period? What is the moral? What is the reader to take from it? Why was it included in God’s Word? How did Abigail respond to her husband day in and day out?
When I sought out Pastor John Piper’s input on 1 Samuel 25 I found he simply stated this,
Be alert to your husband’s spiritual condition and pray earnestly for him (1 Samuel 25:1-35; Hebrews 3:12-13)…. I know this assumes that you are both believers, and that you are both willing. And I know that’s not true of every married couple. But it is what God calls us to pray toward and move toward for the sake of our spouses and our children’s perseverance in faith. The staff and elders have dreams of how we can help you do better for each other. Eternal security is a family project. (By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/eternal-security-is-a-community-project--2.)
So, I shall end on the following note:
12Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13. ESV.)