Monday, November 14, 2016

The Wise and Discerning Wife

Abigail listened closely as a young man spoke to her. Her beauty radiated and her mind was knowledgeable. She was both attractive and understanding. The young man spoke with earnest. Perhaps he knew he could trust her and that she would act wisely.

The young man described the king’s son in law, David, who sent messengers to meet with Abigail’s husband, Nabal, a very rich man who was not inclined to share his wealth. The young man explained how her husband treated the messengers unkindly though David’s men had protected him, the husband’s shepherds, and livestock. He explained,
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. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. (1 Samuel 25:15-16. ESV.)

Abigail took in all that he said then asked, “Did my husband not understand to whom he was speaking?”

“I am certain he did yet his response to them was harsh and criticizing. He told them,
‘Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?’ (1 Samuel 25:10-11. ESV.)
“I am afraid he has made a terrible mistake! He is such a worthless man, that not one can speak to him and now he has brought harm against himself and all his house.” (1 Samuel 25:17)

Abigail knew this to be true and believed her husband to be a harsh and badly behaved man. She also found the situation he had created to be very serious. She wasted no time and went quickly to prepare an offering of goods fit for a king.
She 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. (1 Samuel 25:18. ESV.)
She sent all of this with her young men and followed behind. She did not, however, speak a word of it to her husband.

When Abigail met up with David she immediately got down from her donkey, fell to the ground, and bowed before him. She knew he was upset. He had said,
Surely in vain have I guarded all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him, and he has returned me evil for good. (1 Samuel 25:21. ESV.)

Abigail answered,
On me alone, my lord, be the guilt. Please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. Let 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. (1 Samuel 25:24-25. ESV.)
She explained how she did not see the king’s servants when they came but brought a present for all of them, now. “Please, forgive the trespass of your servant (1 Samuel 25:28),” she said.

David was thankful. Abigail, and her discretion, had saved him from having to shed blood and destroy all that belonged to Nabal because of his foolishness, harshness, and bad behavior. He took, from her hand, what she had brought him and said,
Go up in peace to your house. See, I have obeyed your voice, and I have granted your petition. (1 Samuel 25:35. ESV.)

Abigail left him and went to find her husband. When she arrived she saw he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king (1 Samuel 25:36). He looked to be having a marvelous time, was very merry, and quite drunk. She decided it would best to wait until the morning before she told him what she had done. She left and waited for the morning light.

The next day, when his drunkenness had worn off, Abigail went to her husband. She told him about David and taking the two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep already prepared, five seahs of parched grain, a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs to him as a gift. Her husband’s heart “died within him, and he became as a stone” (1 Samuel 25:37).

About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal , and he died (1 Samuel 25:38).

When 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. (1 Samuel 25:39. ESV.)

(Photo information: Bing Images Public Domain)
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