1 Samuel 25: “Abigail Restrains David From Taking Vengeance Out Upon Her Husband Nabal / David Takes Abigail As His Wife”
In our last study, we looked at chapters 23
and 24 and we observed how David began to act to protect
1.2. In our study today, we are going to look at chapter 25. In this study, we will see that as David is hiding out from King Saul down in the south that he and his men are being a protection to a rich man’s livestock, protecting them from raiding bands of Philistines. The man was named Nabal. Then, David decides to cash in on the assistance that he and his men have been giving Nabal, and he asks Nabal to feed his 600 men. However, Nabal refuses and in response David organizes 400 of his men to come and take revenge on this man and kill him off along with all of the men with him. However, the man’s wife, Abigail, who was a godly woman, restrains David from carrying out this wicked and foolish plan that he was intent upon.
1.2.1. In our last study, I told a story that occurred just after high school when I took a job as a laborer at a construction site.
Well, a few months after I left that job I went to work for the Coca Cola Corp. as a route driver. I drove a Coke truck around delivering soda pop to all of the grocery stores, convenience stories, restaurants, etc. on my route. One day I was driving my route and it was just after the Christmas holiday and I had to go to all of my customers and pick up their returned bottles. In those days, stores would give you a refund if you returned glass bottles since they were used over and over again, and people were always saving soda pop bottles to be returned to stores.
Well, after delivering my morning soda pop run I had driven all afternoon picking up empty soda pop bottles from my customers and my truck was almost full when I drove up to my last stop, Babbit’s Grocery Store. When I walked into the back of the store the stacks of empty bottles were piled to the ceiling. Well, I thought I might have just enough room to load all of the bottles on my truck, and so I started to work loading them on.
I finally got to the last stack of empty quart bottles of soda pop which I needed to load onto my hand truck and take out to my truck, and I was able to stack all of the cases of the quart soda pop bottles onto the truck except for the last one. I began to look for room in all of the truck’s bins to stack just one more case of empty quart bottles.
I finally found a bin on the back of my truck that I thought had enough room to stack one more case of quart bottles, however the bottles would have to be stacked up above my reach so I knew that in order to get them up there that I would have to throw them up onto the top of the stack in that bin.
Now, what I never properly took into consideration at this point in time was what might happen if those bottles in that case didn’t land up on top of the stack when I threw them up.
Well, I calculated what I thought I had to do to throw the case of bottles up on the top of the stack and then I threw them up. However, I didn’t quite throw the bottles at the right angle or far enough up and instead of the case landing up on top of the top stack, instead this case of empty quart bottles of pop turned upside down up above my head and then the bottles proceeded to rain down upon me hitting me on the top of my head.
It was like slow motion as the narrow tops of about 6 of these bottles hit me right on top of my head. This hurt so badly I’m telling you. Immediately, huge knots on my head began to raise up on each of the spots where these soda pop bottles hit me. They each grew to about 1 inch high.
I went to the side of my truck and began yelling and screaming in pain and kicking the truck. None of this helped at all however.
After awhile I closed the truck’s bins and headed back to the plant. When the guys at the plant’s gate came to me to open the gate for me so that I could drive my truck in they started howling in laughter as soon as they saw me and all of the large lumps on my head. Immediately, they knew exactly what had happened, and I surmised that they had either had this happen to them before or that they knew someone else who had this same thing happen.
Well, there is no substitute for experience, and there are some lessons that are so painful to learn that one only has to learn them once.
Now, I tell this story just to make the point that I wish that at that point in time just before I threw that last case of empty quart soda pop bottles up that there had been someone who had been there with me who would have restrained me from making this foolish decision I made of throwing these up. If someone just would have said, “You know if those bottles don’t land on top of the others they could turn upside down and fall down on your head!” “Are you sure you want to do this?”
In our story today, Abigail is used by the Lord to restrain David from carrying out a very foolish and evil act of murdering her husband Nabal and all of the males with him as an act of personal revenge. We will see that David was very thankful that Abigail was used by the Lord to help him to avoid this very wicked plan he was intent upon carry out.
2. VS 25:1 - “1 Then Samuel died;
2.1. When he died, the entire nation mourned for Samuel, for though they didn’t always honor him in life or obey the words he delivered to them from the Lord, they none-the-less knew that he was a great man, a man of integrity, and God’s man.
2.2. Remember from our study earlier in this book, Samuel was the only man to ever live that was called by God to be a priest, prophet, and judge.
2.3. Samuel’s passing marked the
end of an era for he was the very last of the judges of
2.4. Samuel desired a simple
burial at his home for he was a humble man.
In contrast, Saul erected a monument for his posterity in
2.5. Samuel had always served as sort of a buffer to King Saul for David, and he had also given David both protection as well as fatherly advice when David called upon him. At Samuel’s death we see that David took his mighty fighting men and went to the Wilderness of Paran which was further away from King Saul than he had ever hidden out before.
2.6. Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary
says that the Wilderness of Paran was a “wilderness area bounded on the
3. VS 25:2-12 - “2 Now there was a
man in Maon whose business was in
3.1. We notice here first of all that Nabal was a very rich man. He owned 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats.
We read here that Nabal lived in Maon but had business in
3.3. David and his men had been providing much protection from the raiding Philistines to Nabal’s sheep and goats. This protection provided by David’s men had allowed Nabal to make a lot of money. Now, David needed a favor, he simply needed for his 600 men to be fed. David thought that Nabal should be more than willing to help him and his men out since they had been such a great benefit to Nabal in long protecting all of his livestock. Plus, what were a few sheep to a man who owned so many?
3.4. Wool was a valuable commodity in David’s day. When Nabal’s large herds of sheep were sheared there would be many people hired to do the shearing and thus there would be huge provisions that would be provided by Nabal to feed all of his hired help. David knew that there would be plenty on hand then to feed his 600 hungry men.
3.5. David sent his men to request the provisions from Nabal and he gave them very gracious words to say to Nabal in making this request.
3.6. Nabal however was a man that we might speak of today as being a “real piece of work.” His name means “Fool” and in our story he demonstrates that his name fits him.
3.7. Nabal was a very mean and brash man and when we look at all of the “I” and “Me” statements that he made we can see that he was also completely self-centered and self-serving. He was a worthless man, dishonest in his dealings, and he also loved to drink heavily and party. He was a wicked man who would not listen to anyone or any voice of reason.
3.8. When David’s men make David’s request to Nabal, Nabal reveals his true character as he begins to rail against David saying, ““Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. 11 “Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?”
3.8.1. Nabal accuses David of being a rebel and disloyal to King Saul.
3.8.2. Nabal even rails against David’s men saying that he doesn’t know their origin.
3.9. David’s messengers he had sent to Nabal then returned to David with their report of how Nabal responded to their request.
3.10. By the way, if you are wondering why this wonderful woman Abigail would marry such a wicked and worthless man as Nabal, well, it is because marriages were arranged in that day. I imagine that Abigail’s parents picked Nabal for their daughter because they were more interested in the riches of Nabal as a son-in-law than they were his character.
4. VS 25:13 - “13 David said to his men, “Each of you gird on his sword.” So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred stayed with the baggage.” - David tells his men to gird on a sword and then he takes 400 with him to go and to attack with Nabal, while 200 stay behind to protect their possessions ( baggage )
4.1. In our last study, we saw that David had been given the chance to kill King Saul with the sword when the king had come into the cave where David and his men had been hiding. However, we saw then that David had passed this huge test of the Lord and had not killed the king with a sword.
4.2. We saw in that last study that it would have been totally wrong for David to have killed King Saul for in doing so he would have:
4.2.1. Not shown proper respect for he would not have respected the office that King Saul held ( he didn’t respect the man but none-the-less he showed respect for the man because of the man’s office as king ).
4.2.2. Taken personal revenge instead of leaving all revenge up to the Lord to take.
18.104.22.168. We observed then how important it is for us as Christians to get to that point where we no longer take out vengeance upon others but leave all vengeance to the Lord, as Rom. 12:19 teaches us, “19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
4.2.3. Created a horrible splotch
against his name and his legacy, for he would have become king over
4.2.4. Possibly become disqualified
for becoming the next king of
4.3. Nabal has made what is really a small offense against David in comparison to what King Saul had been doing in hunting David to kill him. Nabal had simply refused to recompense David’s kindness in protecting Nabal’s flocks by feeding David’s men. Yet, because of this small offense of Nabal’s, David is determined to exact revenge against him and kill him and every male with him. It is very important that we Christians learn several lessons from this story:
4.3.1. That it is not good enough to pass one test before the Lord, we must continue to pass all of the tests that the Lord puts us through. And, there will be many…
4.3.2. We should not be surprised in our own lives if after passing a major test we soon find ourselves facing a minor test of similar nature. We ought to expect this sort of thing to happen and thus not be caught off guard and potentially fall flat on our faces into sin in the small test. We should always be on guard for this.
4.3.3. We Christians also need to learn that grace received from the Lord yesterday for temptations or trials will not sustain us today. Each day we must come to the Lord and ask him for new strength and victory in our trials and temptations, and we must learn then to constantly be dependent upon the Lord.
4.4. Just as killing King Saul
would have created a horrible splotch on David’s name and life, so killing of
this man Nabal would have done the same to David. Had David carried out his designs against
Nabal, King Saul might even have then used this offense of David’s to rally
5. VS 25:14-31 - “14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned them. 15 “Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not insulted, nor did we miss anything as long as we went about with them, while we were in the fields. 16 “They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep. 17 “Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.” 18 Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 She said to her young men, “Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them. 21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has returned me evil for good. 22 “May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if by morning I leave as much as one male of any who belong to him.” 23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. 25 “Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. 26 “Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, since the Lord has restrained you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal. 27 “Now let this gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who accompany my lord. 28 “Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil will not be found in you all your days. 29 “Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30 “And when the Lord does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, 31 this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the Lord deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”” - Abigail hears of Nabal’s offense towards David and that David had plotted evil against Nabal and so she prepares a meal for David’s men and goes and intercedes for Nabal to David
5.1. David is hell-bent upon a very evil undertaking, the murdering of Nabal and all of the men with him. It is only by the grace of God that the Lord sends a woman in Abigail to bring him to his senses and keep him from making what would have been the greatest mistake of his life.
5.1.1. How many people has the Lord placed in each of our lives as His children to restrain us from committing very grievous sins? How many have directed our paths to do what is right in situations? How we ought to be thankful to the Lord for all of the people that He has placed in our path who have encouraged us into the ways of godliness and who have persuaded us to change a bad path upon which we were heading.
22.214.171.124. Every Thanksgiving I have to give special thanks to the Lord for the wife that He brought into my life. It would only be fitting for me to do this for after all it was Thanksgiving Day, 1979, when the Lord spoke to me in such a clear voice and said, “Jill is going to be your wife.” We were then married 3 ½ months later. Considering this topic, my wife has been used in my life in numerous instances to restrain me from going in a direction that would have been completely wrong and against God’s will, heading off decisions and choices which I would have lived to greatly regret.
126.96.36.199. We husbands need to recognize what a special gift the woman the Lord gave us really is in our lives. We ought to utilize our wife’s input before our undertakings and learn to run our decisions before our wife to get her valuable insight, for truly Christian wives are given to reveal the blind spots in our lives.
188.8.131.52.1. We will see at the end of this chapter that after Nabal dies suddenly that David takes Abigail to be his wife. But, I believe that the thing that attracted David to her was not that she had a pretty face or figure but rather the fact that the Lord had used her in his life in a great way to restrain him. Therefore, he knew that he needed Abigail in his life because of her ability to give him wise counsel.
184.108.40.206. Proverbs 11:14 says, “14 Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” We Christians need to seek a few godly counselors for our lives to pass by those decisions that we make concerning our undertakings. If we carefully pick godly men or women to pass by our decisions we must make then we will be safe and know we are in God’s will for our lives.
220.127.116.11. Warren Wiersbe has written, “How we receive reproof and counsel is a test of our relationship to the Lord and our willingness to live by His word.”
5.2. Lets then observe the very convincing argument that this remarkable, godly, and humble woman, Abigail, uses to convince David that he is on a wrong path in coming against Nabal to murder him and all of the men with him ( note first of all that Abigail calls David “lord” 14 times and because of her faith recognizes that David will be the next king ) :
5.2.1. Abigail asks David to make her responsible, not Nabal, for David’s men being denied food and turned away.
18.104.22.168. Abigail was wise and knew that David would not take her life.
5.2.2. Abigail tells David not to pay attention to Nabal, and not to waiste his time on Nabal, for just as his name reveals, Nabal is just a fool.
22.214.171.124. David had more important
things to do than to pay attention to some fool like Nabal. David was to be the next king over
5.2.3. Abigail tells David that since his hand had been restrained by the Lord to not shed innocent blood and take revenge, then let all of David’s enemies be like Nabal, in other words “let them all be worthless fools under God’s impending judgment.”
126.96.36.199. The Lord may have been speaking to David in ways that Abigail knew not as she spoke. I don’t know that Abigail knew about David not killing Saul in the cave when David had the chance, so this may actually have been a word of knowledge that the Lord has given Abigail, and thus perhaps it was through a word of knowledge that the Lord’s hand had restrained David from taking vengeance.
5.2.4. Abigail asks for David’s forgiveness for her transgression because the Lord was making an enduring house for David since he is fighting the Lord’s battles and evil will not be found in his house all of his days.
188.8.131.52. Up until this point in time David had been squeaky clean in his obedience to the Lord and thus Abigail is appealing to him here to remember that the reason why the Lord is establishing him as king is because of his living his life for God and apart from sin.
184.108.40.206. Because of Abigail’s intercession here David realizes that it would be foolish at this point for him to commit such a horrible sin before the Lord and ruin his clean and blameless life.
5.2.5. Abigail tells David that should anyone seek to pursue David for harm that David’s life was caught up in the bundle of the Lord. There are a couple of implications from this statement:
220.127.116.11. The Lord would protect and take care of David, for David was His bundle.
18.104.22.168. Everything that David did was to be in direct concert with the Lord (in His bundle) and thus there must not be any working outside of God’s will by David such as taking personal revenge upon people.
22.214.171.124.1. For us as Christians, we ought to always keep foremost in our minds that Jesus is to be our life, just as Paul wrote in Gal. 2:20, and thus we are not to have a life apart from that which Christ lives through us, “20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” We are in His bundle too!
5.2.6. Abigail tells David that when he is made king that the Lord will sling out his enemies before him.
126.96.36.199. David probably hung his head in shame at this point as he thought about the fact that once as a mere lad that using a sling the Lord had gotten vengeance upon his enemy Goliath, the Philistine giant. Now, here was David coming with 400 men to slaughter an unsuspecting man with an inferior and grossly outnumbered force.
5.2.7. Abigail tells David that he should not do this against Nabal so that when David is finally made king that he will not have cause for grief or a troubled heart because of his having shed blood without cause and by having avenged himself.
5.2.8. Abigail asks David just one request for herself: When the Lord has made him to be king that he would remember her.
188.8.131.52. Was she hinting at a possible marriage to David after Nabal had passed away?
184.108.40.206. Was she just a woman who hoped to have favor with the king when he finally took his throne?
5.3. Arthur Pink has written that
he believes that Abigail serves as a picture of an elect soul being drawn to
Christ, “1. Abigail was yoked to
Nabal: so by nature we are wedded to the
law as a covenant of works, and it is “against us” (Col. 2:14). 2. She
was barren to Nabal (see
6. VS 25:32-35 - “32 Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, 33 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. 34 “Nevertheless, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male.” 35 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.”” - David thanks Abigail for being used of the Lord to restrain him from this wicked deed he was about to carry out, then he takes her gift to his men
6.1. David now realized how foolish and evil it would have been for him to take his own personal revenge out upon wicked Nabal.
6.2. David tells Abigail that had she not come to him that he surely would have carried out this deed and killed all of the men with Nabal.
6.3. David takes the gift of Abigail and tells her to go to her house in peace for he has listened to her petition to him and granted her request.
7. VS 25:36-38 - “36 Then 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 did not tell him anything at all until the morning light. 37 But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.” - Nabal gets drunk then the next morning when he is sober Abigail tells him what happened with David and his men and Nabal has a paralyzing stroke which leads to death 10 days later
7.1. Like so many people who do not fear God today, Nabal loved to party hardy and drink himself to drunken stupor. While David and his men are approaching to attack Nabal, Nabal is partying.
7.2. When Abigail finally tells Nabal about her encounter with David, the next day after Nabal’s party when he has sobered up, then Nabal either reacts in great anger or fear which causes him to have a paralyzing stroke.
7.3. The Lord did in fact take vengeance upon David’s enemy here for the Lord struck Nabal after 10 days and he died.
7.4. In Prov. 11:31, we read, “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.” Nabal was judged by the Lord who took his life 10 days after Abigail restrained David here. This judgment by the Lord avenged the wrong Nabal had done to David. The Old Testament promised that the Lord would recompense evil men not only in the afterlife, but also in the here and now. Yet, we don’t always see the judgment of God fall upon the wicked. However, this is usually because we just aren’t as patient as the Lord when He brings judgment upon people. If we live long enough we observe some getting their just desserts in this life. However, we don’t see the Lord judging the wicked in the earth all of the time. Some judgment must be left over for eternity. Plus, because we don’t always see the recompense of the Lord against the wicked in this life this causes us to have to live by faith in the promise of God. When we live by faith this pleases the Lord and it is His grand aim for our lives.
8. VS 25:39-44 - “39 When David heard
that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord,
who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal and has kept
back His servant from evil. The Lord
has also returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent a
proposal to Abigail, to take her as his wife. 40 When the servants
of David came to Abigail at
8.1. With Abigail, David would now have three wives.
8.1.1. We see here that at this point in time that David already had a wife in Michal, King Saul’s daughter, however the king had given her to another man after David fled from King Saul’s presence.
8.1.2. David had taken a second wife though already and her name was Ahinoam, of Jezreel.
8.2. David was breaking the Lord’s commandment in Deut. 17:14-18 by taking multiple wives and would suffer the consequences in his life as a result of this area of compromise, “14 “When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. 16 “Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ 17 “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. 18 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.”
8.3. Something we see here happening in David’s life is very subtle. David is subtly beginning to use his conquests and power to build himself up, to aggrandize himself. After victories he takes more wives to himself. I believe that we see the seeds for David’s fall in adultery with Bathsheba right here in these verses, for David was setting himself up for a fall by adding wives to himself. He was compromising with sin, breaking God’s law, but he was also subtly and slowly beginning to become full of himself.
8.3.1. Sadly, David’s son Solomon will follow in dad’s footsteps and take many wives. This will also be his downfall.
8.4. Notice the humility of Abigail here. She is vowing to wash even the feet of David’s servants.
8.5. As Abigail could be looked at as symbolizing a saint who comes to Christ for salvation, so Nabal can be looked at as a typical man who does not fear God, will not listen to anyone, revels in the things of this world (eating and drinking and being merry) and lives a life that is completely self-centered and self-serving, and, who doesn’t realize that all along he is sitting right upon the precipice of the impending doom of judgment by the Lord.
9.1. As we consider this story and how that David was restrained from committing very grievous sins against the Lord by this remarkable and godly woman Abigail, because he accepted her counsel, lets each of us make a commitment that we ourselves will be open to receiving reproof and admonition from people that the Lord brings into our lives.
9.2. Lets even go farther and ask the Lord to send us someone to restrain us whenever we may be in a similar place as David and seeking to go a direction that is contrary to the Lord’s perfect will for our lives.
9.3. Finally, lets thank the Lord for His graciousness shown to us in the many people He has already brought into our lives who have had a great impact upon us being the people that the Lord wants us to be and doing His will.