God Sent a Woman! Abigail to the Rescue

When two hot-headed men are on a collision course of destruction, God sends a woman!

Have you ever given to someone who took without gratitude? You gave time, effort, money or resources willing and they didn’t even give a simple ‘thank you’ in return? Even worse, have you ever been kind to someone who returned your kindness with disdain?

We are taught ‘be kind and you’ll receive kindness in return.’ Generally speaking, this is true. But are we prepared to receive contempt and disrespect in return for our kindness? David may have been a ‘man after God’s own heart,’ but in the story before us today, he wasn’t prepared to respond to the disrespect he received from a man whom he had shown kindness.

Here’s some context: Before David was officially crowned king of Israel, he spent many years hiding into the wilderness from king Saul. Why was Saul hunting down David? Simply put, he was insecure and envious of David.

Saul’s insecurity and jealousy drove him to pursue David with the intent of killing him. Saul was bent on removing David as his competition for the popularity of the people and the position of king. So while David was hiding in the wilderness, along with some of his loyal followers, he had to be industrious in order to survive.

This story of David, Nabal and Abigail is filled with drama; kindness, disdain, anger, revenge — and then, the winsome and delightful character of a godly woman saves the day!  


Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel; and the man was very rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while he was shearing his sheep in Carmel (now the man’s name was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail and the woman was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was a Calebit), David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep.

So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, visit Nabal and greet him in my name; and thus you shall say, ‘Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. Now I have heard that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel. Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore, let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to yours and to your son David.”   1 Samuel 25:2-8 


These lines are the beginning of a truly amazing story. We will meet an evil bonehead of a man and a most beautiful and intelligent woman. We will also see David digress from his godly character into anger and revenge. 


Two Hot-Headed Men Walk into a Bar …   

A wealthy man named Nabal owns 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats that wander into the wilderness area where David and his men camp out. Some of Nabal’s men tend to the sheep, but apparently there’s not enough to keep all the livestock safe. David and his men take it upon themselves to help the men. The entire time they guard Nabal’s sheep against predators and thieves, David’s men trust that the owner will at some point grant them kindness and reward them with provisions.   

When it’s time for Nabal to shear his sheep, David sends a few of his men to request provisions from him. The text introduces Nabal and his wife Abigail in this way: the woman was intelligent and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings (verse 3).  


What Is Nabal’s Response to David’s Men? 

Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who each are breaking away from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it men whose origins I do not know?”  1 Samuel 25:10-11  


Yikes! This is not the response David expected. Additional text indicates that Nabal’s men have told him of the kindness and protection David had provided them, but Nabal doesn’t care.  


He Said What???  

When David hears about Nabal’s response, he is infuriated and vows to take full revenge on Nabal, his household, and all his servants. He would leave no one alive! And, yes, this is the same David who previously refused to take Saul’s life into his own hands and left revenge to the Lord.  

In Scripture, the volatility of David’s humanness is always before us. Yet later in this chapter, we’ll see why David is called a man after God’s own heart.  But for now, we have two hot-headed men on a collision course of a life-and-death showdown. Who will intervene?   

God sends a woman.  


Learning Alert 

Like David, we make mistakes. Our first thought about a situation may not be the best thought. So, as we journey through life, may we always pause and ask God what we should do.

Living a godly life often means not returning anger for anger, and that’s hard to do. God tells us not to lean on our own understanding, but to trust in His guidance (see Proverbs 3:5-6). When we do that, our light shines in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our workplaces. 


Lord, we’re reminded that Your gifts of love and grace are not dependent on our perfect decisions or consistent God-honoring actions. Like David, we are human. When we stray into jealousy, anger, revenge, evil intent, and foolishness, may we quickly come to our senses and surrender our emotions to You. Amen!