Bible Women: Abigail, a Woman’s Courage

1 Samuel 25:1-42

Abigail’s story is one of a godly wife of a very difficult man. Her courage in intervening for her household leads to her being greatly blessed by God.

Abigail’s story takes place in 1 Samuel, chapter 25. David has separated from King Saul and gone down to the wilderness of Paran, where there lives a very rich man named Nabal, whose wife’s name is Abigail. Verse 3 tells us that “she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance, but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.” Churlish (according to Websters 1828 dictionary) means rudeness of manners or temper, unyielding, harsh. We must take note that the first thing said about Abigail is very important: that she was a woman of good understanding. Proverbs 13:15 “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” We shall see how true this statement is.

Verses 4 – 8 – David learns that Nabal was shearing his sheep so he sends ten of his young men to go to Nabal, and greet him in David’s name offering him peace. David has not harmed anything belonging to Nabal, and desires that Nabal would share of his prosperity with David. In view of later happenings, we speculate that it is food for himself and his men that he desires.

Verses 10-11 – Nabal denies David his request, using the excuse that he does not know if it is really David or a pretender.

Verses 12-13 David learns of Nabal’s decision and tells his men to “gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword: and David also girded on his sword:…” and David went forth with 400 of his men leaving 200 men behind.

And then we have the intervention of the Lord: Verse 14- one of Nabal’s young men tells Abigail what has happened, and then says (Verse 17) “Now therefore know and consider what you wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household:…” This is very reminiscent of Mordecai’s statement to Queen Esther, Esther 4:14 “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall their enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed:; and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Abigail’s decision is immediate, Verse 18 “Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.” This is an amazing amount of food, and then she sends the servants to take the food to David, saying she will come after them. Verse 19 “But she told not her husband Nabal” Now it may be assumed that Abigail was deceptive in gathering the provisions and not telling her husband, but clearly Abigail was willing to put herself at risk to try to save her household from certain death. Again we are reminded of Queen Esther approaching Ahasuerus Esther 4:16″…and so I will go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”

And so in Verse 20 “as she rose on her donkey, she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.” and David explains the reason for his actions “…surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.”

Abigail’s greeting of David is one of true submission, Verse 23-32. She falls before David on her face, and bows herself to the ground before David saying, V24 “Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid V28 “the LORD will certainly make my lord (David) a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.” Abigail desires that Nabal’s sin be put to her account. We are reminded of the Lord Jesus, who took upon himself the sins of the world in His own body on the tree.

In V26 we learn that Abigail is a true believer in the LORD,  “Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood….” By this statement, Abigail professes faith that the LORD lives. and that it is by His intervention that her household has been saved, that she is only the vessel used by the LORD.

She offers the provisions she has brought to David and his men, and pleads with David to “forgive the trespass of thine handmaid” Verse 28 What an amazing statement!

Abigail obviously knows who David is and Verse 30-31 tell us that Abigail believes that David will be king and that it is the LORD who will bring it about. She asks that David will remember what she has done “when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord.”

David then said to Abigail V32 “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me.” this to prevent the destruction of her household, then after he receives her offerings, he sends her home, “Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person” Verse 35.

Verse 36-37 When Abigail returns home, she finds that Nabal has held a great feast and is drunk. The next morning she tells him what she has done, and “his heart died within him, and he became as stone”. Verse 38 “And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, and he died”. Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.”

When David hears of Nabal’s death, he gives thanks to the LORD for keeping him from destroying Nabal and his house, and for “…returning the wickedness of Nabal upon his own hand.” Then V39 “David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.” And so Abigail accompanied by five damsels of hers, went to David and became his wife.
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What a lesson to be learned here. Abigail was the wife of an evil man, but she stayed with him until the LORD in His justice and mercy, delivered her to a better life. She intervened on her husband’s and on her household’s behalf and put her own life at risk. What courage! and how she was blessed by God to become the wife of David.

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4 thoughts on “Bible Women: Abigail, a Woman’s Courage

  1. Jamie Carter October 16, 2016 at 9:33 am Reply

    I’d say her story is proof positive that complementarianism has holes in it – like with Ananias and Sapphira.

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    • Vicki October 16, 2016 at 9:41 am Reply

      I’m not sure I know what you mean, Ananias and Sapphira both died because they lied to the Holy Spirit..

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      • Jamie Carter October 16, 2016 at 3:22 pm Reply

        Sapphira submitted to Ananias’ spiritual headship and carried out his plans according to his direction. Having been entirely forthright would have been to out her husband, and since complementarians say that when Christ and spiritual heads disagree, spiritual heads take priority because in obeying spiritual heads, Christ is pleased even if the spiritual head goes in a direction that Christ doesn’t agree with.

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        • Vicki October 16, 2016 at 4:18 pm Reply

          I’m sorry but I do not agree with you that Christ is pleased if a spiritual head goes in a direction that Christ doesn’t agree with.. and I do not know what a complementarian is. Romans 3:4 Let God be true and every man a liar.. yes, wives are supposed to be submissive to their husbands but if the husband goes against the Word of God the wife is not bound to go with him. Christ is not pleased when the spiritual head of the family goes in the wrong direction contrary to the scripture. If the spiritual head of the family commands his wife to do something that is opposed to scripture, the wife is not under obligation to submit in that case because we are first of all to follow the Lord who is our head. and that is all I have to say about this.

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