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  3. King David Invites You To Come & Listen To His Biography – Part 10: David Met Abigail

King David Invites You To Come & Listen To His Biography – Part 10: David Met Abigail

The Magnanimity of David

This chapter is based on 1 Samuel 22:20- 23; 23-27.

While I and men were in the wilderness of Paran, we protected the flocks and herds of a wealthy man named Nabal, who had vast possessions in that region. Nabal was a descendant of Caleb, but he was rude and mean.

It was the time of sheepshearing, a season of hospitality. I and my men were in sore need of provisions; and in accordance with the custom of the times, I, the son of Jesse sent ten young men to Nabal, bidding them greet him in my name. and I added:

1Sa 25:6  And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have! 

1Sa 25:7  Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel. 

1Sa 25:8  Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.’ ” 

I and my men had been like a wall of protection to the shepherds and flocks of Nabal; and now this rich man was asked to furnish from his abundance some relief to the necessities of those who had done him such valuable service.

I and my men might have helped ourselves from the flocks and herds, but we did not. We behaved ourselves in an honest way. Our kindness, however, was lost upon Nabal. The answer he returned to me was indicative of his character:

Then Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. 

 Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?” 

When the young men returned empty-handed and related the affair to me, I was filled with indignation. I commanded my men to equip themselves for an encounter; for I had determined to punish the man who had denied me what was my right, and had added insult to injury.

This impulsive movement was more in harmony with the character of Saul than with that of me, but the son of Jesse had yet to learn of patience in the school of affliction.

My dear friends. Now when I came to the end of my life I realized how ugly, nasty I was and how kind and loving and forgiving God was.

One of Nabal’s servants hastened to Abigail, the wife of Nabal, after he had dismissed my young men, and told her what had happened.

1Sa 25:14  Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he reviled them. 

1Sa 25:15  But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields. 

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

1Sa 25:17  Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him.” 

Without consulting her husband or telling him of her intention, Abigail made up an ample supply of provisions, which, laded upon asses, she sent forward in the charge of servants, and herself started out to meet my servants.

As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 

Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground and said: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears and hear the words of your maidservant. 

1Sa 25:25  Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel 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. 

1Sa 25:26  Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, since the LORD has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. 

 Abigail addressed me with as much reverence as though speaking to a crowned monarch. Nabal had scornfully exclaimed, “Who is David?” but Abigail called me, “my lord.”

With kind words she sought to soothe my irritated feelings, and she pleaded with me in behalf of her husband. With nothing of ostentation or pride, but full of the wisdom and love of God, Abigail revealed the strength of her devotion to her household; and she made it plain to me that the unkind course of her husband was in no wise premeditated against him as a personal affront, but was simply the outburst of an unhappy and selfish nature.

Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, since the LORD has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. 

Abigail did not take to herself the credit of this reasoning to turn me from my hasty purpose, but gave to God the honour and the praise. She then offered her rich provision as a peace offering to my men, and still pleaded as if she herself were the one who had so excited the resentment of the chief.

Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the LORD, and evil is not found in you throughout your days. 

 Abigail presented by implication the course that I ought to pursue. I should fight the battles of the Lord.  I was not to seek revenge for personal wrongs, even though persecuted as a traitor. She continued:

1Sa 25:29  Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling. 

1Sa 25:30  And it shall come to pass, when the LORD has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, 

1Sa 25:31  that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.” 

 These words could have come only from the lips of one who had partaken of the wisdom from above. The piety of Abigail, like the fragrance of a flower, breathed out all unconsciously in face and word and action.

The Spirit of the Son of God was abiding in her soul. Her speech, seasoned with grace, and full of kindness and peace, shed a heavenly influence. Better impulses came to me, and I trembled as I thought what might have been the consequences of my rash purpose.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9. Would that there were many more like this woman of Israel, who would soothe the irritated feelings, prevent rash impulses, and quell great evils by words of calm and well-directed wisdom.

A consecrated Christian life is ever shedding light and comfort and peace. It is characterized by purity, tact, simplicity, and usefulness. It is controlled by that unselfish love that sanctifies the influence.

It is full of Christ and leaves a track of light wherever its possessor may go. Abigail was a wise reprover and counsellor.

 My evil passion died away under the power of her influence and reasoning. I was convinced that I had taken an unwise course and had lost control of my own spirit.

With a humble heart I received the rebuke, in harmony with my own words: “Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it. For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.  Psalm 141:5.

I gave thanks and blessings because she advised me righteously. There are many who, when they are reproved, think it praiseworthy if they receive the rebuke without becoming impatient; but how few take reproof with gratitude of heart and bless those who seek to save them from pursuing an evil course.

When Abigail returned home, she found Nabal and his guests in the enjoyment of a great feast, which they had converted into a scene of drunken revelry. Not until the next morning did she relate to her husband what had occurred in her interview with David.

Nabal was a coward at heart; and when he realized how near his folly had brought him to a sudden death, he seemed smitten with paralysis. Fearful that David would still pursue his purpose of revenge, he was filled with horror, and sank down in a condition of helpless insensibility.

After ten days he died. The life that God had given him had been only a curse to the world. During his rejoicing and making merry, God had said to him, as He said to the rich man of the parable, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee.” Luke 12:20.

Afterward I married Abigail. I was already the husband of one wife, but the custom of the nations of my time had perverted my judgment and influenced my actions. Even other great and good men have erred in following the practices of the world. The bitter result of marrying many wives was sorely felt throughout all my life.

After the death of Samuel, I was left in peace for a few months. Again, I went to the loneliness of the dessert of the Ziphites. But these enemies, hoping to secure the favour of the king, informed him of my hiding place. This knowledge aroused the demon of passion that had been slumbering in Saul’s breast.

Once more Saul summoned his men of arms and led them to kill me. But friendly spies brought tidings to me that Saul was again pursuing me. With a few of my men, I started out to learn the location of my enemy.

It was night when, cautiously advancing, they came upon the encampment, and saw before them the tents of the king and his attendants. They were unobserved, for the camp was quiet in slumber. I called upon my friends to go with me into the very midst of the foe.

In answer to his question, “Who will go down with me to Saul to the camp?” Abishai promptly responded, “I will go down with you.”

Hidden by the deep shadows of the hills, I and my attendant entered the encampment of the enemy. As they sought to ascertain the exact number of their foes, they came upon Saul sleeping, his spear stuck in the ground, and a cruse of water at his head.

Beside him lay Abner, his chief commander, and all around them were the soldiers, locked in slumber. Abishai raised his spear, and said to me, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite him the second time.”

So David and Abishai came to the people by night; and there Saul lay sleeping within the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground by his head. And Abner and the people lay all around him. 

1Sa 26:8  Then Abishai said to David, “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!” 

Have ever felt like punishing someone who wanted to kill you? Do you have an ugly  enemy that keeps on pestering you?

How do you handle your emotions of retaliation?


The magnanimity of David. What lessons can we learn from this great hero of God? How come he allow kindness to rule instead of punishment?

Updated on 22nd Nov 2022

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