Bloodshed Prevented! God Sent a Woman, Part 2

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of someone else’s fight?

Here’s the scene: a rich sheepherder named Nabal speaks disrespectfully about David to his messengers. Learning of this, David and his men set out to wipe out Nabal, his family, and all his servants. Filled with anger and vengeance, David is heading straight into some good old-fashioned sinful disobedience. David is wrong for sure. But Nabal—a selfish, foolish, and ignorant man—has brought this upon himself.   

Folks, this is going to end badly. The stubbornness and pride of two men at war with each other is going to result in the bloodshed of many innocent people. What is needed is a calming presence to step in and provide influence over these two irrational men.


This story needs a hero! Even better, a heroine!

But one of [Nabal’s] young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, and he scorned them. 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. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep.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.”  

1 Samuel 25:14-17  


Fortunately, there is one rational and reasonable person in this story. Thank God for Abigail, Nabal’s wife. She is the story’s superstar—intelligent, resourceful, honorable, persuasive, and beautiful in appearance (verse 3). Pretty much the total package. How did a schmuck like Nabal land such a beautiful and intelligent woman?


A Funny Thing Happened to David on the Way to Nabal’s House  

With two hot-headed men on a collision course toward destruction, God raises up Abigail!   

Nabal’s servants hear that David and his men are on their way to seek vengeance. They know that Nabal is a worthless man that no one can speak to (verse 17), so they go to Abigail. Without informing or including her husband (I hear that wives do that on occasion), Abigail takes action. She and her workers immediately gather provisions and set out to meet David and his men.   

When Abigail meets up with David, he is still fuming with anger. She dismounts and bows before him. In this case, the fact that David is a sucker for a pretty face works in her favor. Abigail’s beauty may have caused David to pause, but it is her words that change everything.   

When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David and bowed herself to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, “On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And 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.”   

1 Samuel 25:23-25  


Choice words melt anger away 

A brilliant negotiator, Abigail speaks sincerely, eloquently, and persuasively. First, she surprises David by taking full responsibility for her husband’s rude behavior: On me alone, my lord, be the blame…. Please do not pay attention to the worthless man, Nabal…  I, your maidservant, did not see the men you sent” (verses 24-25). 

When a person takes full responsibility for a situation, it has a way of melting anger and tension. That’s what happens here. Abigail takes David’s attention off Nabal, and David’s rage begins to diminish. Then Abigail makes a statement that must have been like a wake-up call to David. In sales, we call this a presumptive close! We speak presumptively as if the prospect has already decided to buy.  

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. Now let this gift, which your maidservant has brought to my lord, be given to the young men who accompany my lord. 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.  

1 Samuel 25:26-28  

Abigail knows the biblical principle of leaving revenge to the Lord. David has adhered to this principle in the past; when Saul was before him in the cave, David spared his life. Here, Abigail simply reminds David of what he knows. Appealing to his conscience she encourages him to follow biblical law. Then, without hesitating, she asks for forgiveness: “Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant, for the Lord will certainly make for my lord [David] an enduring house… and evil will not be found in you all your days” (verse 28).   


David’s heart is melting!

With her carefully chosen words, Abigail keeps him from falling into evil. In verse 32, David says to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel who sent you this day to meet me, 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.”   

So how does all this drama end? Ten days later God strikes Nabal dead, and David later marries Abigail … and they lived happily ever after. Well, not exactly. Nabal does die, and David does marry Abigail—but happily ever after? Abigail is solid as a rock. David, on the other hand, is a volatile mess. See 1 and 2 Samuel for the full story.  


How, Then, Should We Live?   

Jesus calls us to be peacemakers—as Abigail was. We are allowed to be angry, but we are to sin not (Ephesians 4:26).  We are to leave justice to God (Romans 12:19).   

 Our world is full of injustice and hypocrisy, evidence of the downward spiral initiated when sin entered the earth. Life will never be fair on this side of heaven, yet our mandate is to live the way God expects us to live regardless of what others do in response or how they treat us. 


Lord, Abigail is truly a woman of excellence. May we apply the principles of positive influence that she models. May we be peacemakers, encouraging others to avoid sin and bad decisions. As Your servants, may we allow Your Word to increase our wisdom. Help us live with discernment and humility in our daily interactions with others—all for Your glory. Amen!