Women of The Bible – Abigail

We are going to take a look at one of the great women in the bible.  Abigail.

Samuel Dies

1Sa 25:1  And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

Samuel dying might at first seem unrelated to Abigail.  There is no indication whatsoever in the Bible that Abigail knew Samuel.  However, his death is going to have an impact upon Abigail’s life.

Samuel was very important to David.  Samuel was the one who anointed David to be king when David was still a young man tending his father’s sheep.  Samuel was the prophet of David’s Lord.  Samuel is now gone and there is no replacement.

O’ God always has true men of God, there will be others in David’s life.  But not like Samuel.  Samuel was special.  He was one of a kind.

When you lose someone special it can have a very profound effect upon you and often not for the better.  You can become irritable; have less patience and less grace when dealing with situations.  Make rash decisions.  When in mourning some people tend to… well… not make the best decisions.  Understanding this will help us understand David’s mindset in the story we are about to read.

Introduction to Abigail

1Sa 25:2  And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.

1Sa 25:3  Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and 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.

Here we are introduced to one of the great women in the Bible.  Her name is Abigail.  I like the first words God has to say about her.  She was a woman of good understanding.  She was smart.  The first thing mentioned about her is her intelligence.  She understood how life worked.  As we read the story we will see that she was responsible for and actually running a pretty good sized enterprise.

The man she is married to was very great and had 3000 sheep and a 1000 goats.  In an agricultural society that is big business.  That takes a good number of workers.  You need a smooth running supply chain to take care of an operation that size.

About Nabal God says he was churlish.  That is rude, unfeeling, uncivil, selfish, narrow minded unyielding, and harsh.

None of those attributes makes for a good businessman.

The second thing God says about Abigail is that she had a beautiful countenance.

Now your countenance is the appearance of the face.  It is not necessarily talking about beauty.  A person can have an angry countenance or a sad countenance or happy.  Same person.

Abigail had a beautiful countenance.  So it was a wonderful thing to behold.  Her face was not frowning or with worry lines or sad.   Now stop and think about it.  She had to have an inner strength to walk around with a beautiful countenance being married to a churlish man.

What we see right away with Abigail is that she is a strong smart woman who carried herself well.  She had an inner beauty that showed on her face, even in the bad situation that she was in.

David Sends Men to Ask For What is Due

1Sa 25:4  And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.

1Sa 25:5  And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:

1Sa 25:6  And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.

1Sa 25:7  And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.

1Sa 25:8  Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.

1Sa 25:9  And when David’s young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.

Nabal’s Dishonorable  Answer

1Sa 25:10  And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.

1Sa 25:11  Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?

David’s men had been staying in the area for a while.  And they protected Nabal’s shepherds and Nabal benefited from this.  He lost less sheep from thieves and robbers because of David’s protection.  David’s men need food.  It is fair for David to ask for payment if you will.

What David is asking for is not unreasonable and David waited to harvest time, if you will, to ask.  So David is asking at the appropriate time.

1Sa 25:12  So David’s young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.

David’s Bad Reaction

1Sa 25:13  And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.

David is angry.  David is not being spiritual here.  David does not stop and ask counsel from anyone and worse David does not ask God what he should do.

He just orders his men to arm themselves and they all start marching off to take Nabal and his entire operation out.

Abigail Was Approachable and Trustworthy

1Sa 25:14  But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.

This shows you a little more about Abigail.  She was approachable.  The young man felt like he could confide in her.  He could trust that she would not go turn him into her awful husband.

Abigail is trustworthy.  And it shows more than that.  She is smart.  She is full of understanding.  The young man felt that Abigail is the one who would know what to do.  So the young man goes and tells her about David’s men.

1Sa 25:15  But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:

1Sa 25:16  They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.

1Sa 25:17  Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

Abigail Makes a Decision

He is asking Abigail to make a decision and to do something about this.  He calls her husband a son of Belial.  Nabal cannot be approached, he cannot be reasoned with, he cannot be told anything.  If anything is going to be done about this dangerous situation, it is up to Abigail.

Abigail was not a weak woman.  The Bible does not paint women as helpless, barefoot and pregnant.  Women in the Bible are strong, smart, and capable.  The fact that this man would go to Abigail like this shows me that he had watched her live a life of good character.  He watched her and knew that she was the one who would know what to do.

When told about the situation.  Abigail did not fret or pace the floor or doubt.  She did not fear making a decision.  She was smart.  She knew what needed to be done, made the decision and got busy.

Abigail is a Woman of Action

1Sa 25:18  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.

1Sa 25:19  And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.

Remember I said earlier how Abigail ran things.  You see that here.  She herself did not go dress 5 sheep and load all of this alone.  She said unto her servants.   She gave the orders and the workers obeyed.

Not one of them questioned.  Not one of them went and said to Nabal, what is up with your wife suddenly giving orders.  What you see is Abigail told the servants what to do and they did it.  It appears that is because they were used to following her instructions.

She was smart and capable and she had a lot to do with running this operation.

Danger is coming in the form of David’s armed men.  Abigail is smart, makes a decision, orders what to load on the donkeys and gets the servants moving on ahead of her.

Abigail is a Woman of Courage

1Sa 25:20  And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.

Do you see the courage of this woman?  She goes out and meets those men who are coming to destroy her household.

1Sa 25:21  Now David had said, 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.

1Sa 25:22  So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

1Sa 25:23  And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,

1Sa 25:24  And fell at his feet, and said, 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.

Abigail was Full of Understanding.

Abigail was full of understanding.  She knew how to handle herself.  She knew a little humility and softness would be in order here.  She knows that she is dealing with a man of power (David) who is angry.

And she recognizes David’s position.  She calls him lord.

1Sa 25:25  Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.

1Sa 25:26  Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.

1Sa 25:27  And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.

Abigail knew that David has a right to ask for some food in return for the protection they gave the shepherds.  She brought the right amount of payment.  Abigail is fair and honest and does what is right.  She is not going to cheat someone.  She is going to give what is due.  She is not stingy, she is not greedy.

Now after she has dealt with what is due financially she is going to give some very sound spiritual advice.  In what she is about to say she shows us that she is aware of the current political situation.

Abigail a Woman of Faith

She shows that she is very aware of how God works.  She knows about things like Samuel anointing David as the future King.  She also shows that she is a woman of faith.

She is bold in her faith and boldly declares it.

1Sa 25:28  I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.

1Sa 25:29  Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.

1Sa 25:30  And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;

1Sa 25:31  That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

God Uses Abigail

1Sa 25:32  And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:

1Sa 25:33  And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

After hearing Abigail’s advice David does a 180.  David admits that he was wrong and that her advice is correct.

1Sa 25:34  For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

1Sa 25:35  So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.

And look at verse 32 again.  David says that it is God who sent her to him that day.

1Sa 25:32  And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:

1Sa 25:33  And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

Here we see Abigail, a woman who trusted God, was used by God.  David does not mess up and get his hands bloody over this.  David returns to the correct position of letting Almighty God deal with this.

Abigail was strong and brave and did a very good thing, and God used her to change the heart and actions of David.

Abigail is a Woman of Character and Strength

1Sa 25:36  And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.

Again Abigail is a woman of understanding.  So she waits until Nabal sobers up.

1Sa 25:37  But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.

I love the character and strength of this woman.  She tells Nabal to his face what she did.  She tells him how she saved their household from destruction from David.
She told him how she paid what was rightfully due.  She did not hide it.  She did not spin it or manipulate the truth or try to soften it.  She told him these things.  All that we have previously read.

God Protects Abigail

You see God at work here with Nabal’s reaction.  It was not his nature to act this way.  He was a curlish man, a son of Belial.  It says that when she told him, instead of lashing out and being angry, yelling and saying a bunch of wicked stuff.  His heart died within him and he became as a stone.

He did not say a word.  That was God zipping his foul mouth.  That was God protecting his own.  God was with Abigail.

1Sa 25:38  And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died.

1Sa 25:39  And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.

1Sa 25:40  And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.

1Sa 25:41  And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.

1Sa 25:42  And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.


Abigail told David to remember her.  She said, when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

She said when God has dealt with Nabal, remember me.

God does deal with Nabal.  David is thankful and he does remember her.

In that day, and culture, a woman did need protection.  And David provides that to her.

Abigail is a special woman.  We can admire her strength, her courage, her intelligence, her character and of course her faith in her God.


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