Who Was Abigail?
Abigail came from a wealthy family and lived in the city of Carmel. She was a young woman of beauty and intellect. Abigail showed true faith and courage, even in the face of danger. She was a humble woman, married to an elderly wealthy scoundrel, Nabal. His name meant ‘fool’. 1 Samuel 25 tells Abigail’s story of submission and deliverance.
David in the Wilderness
David was in danger. Samuel had been David’s main protector and counsellor at the court of King Saul, but Samuel had now died. David was a clever young man which Saul was very much aware of. Saul knew the only option he had to get rid of him was to expel him from the court. So, David ended up in the wilderness running from Saul and was in desperate need of sustenance.
He was aware a sheep shearing festival was underway and feasting was taking place and decided to send some of his followers to go and greet Nabal – ‘Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! … Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favourable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them’. 1 Samuel 25:6-8.
David had been good to Nabal’s men and had not attacked them or the flocks. The request may have been politely worded, but Nabal still saw it as a threat. Nabal answers the servants and insults David, ‘Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? … Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?’ 1 Samuel 25:10-11.
David was angered
When David heard Nabal’s words he was angry and ordered 400 of his men to attack Nabal’s household. In the meantime, one of Nabal’s servants privately spoke to Abigail and informed her of all that was going on. He explained that Nabal should provide sustenance to David as David had refrained from attacking their shepherds or stealing their flocks. He was scared of Nabal so asked Abigail to speak to him instead.
Abigail steps out in Faith
Abigail responded swiftly and stepped out in Faith. Without telling her husband what she was doing, she gathered up several donkey-loads of food – wine, bread, sheep, dried fruit and grain – an exquisite feast. She realised she had to prevent a confrontation to stop disaster falling upon Nabal’s household.
On his way to Nabal’s house, David meets Abigail with all her supplies for a feast. He is taken in by her beauty and charm, and the incredible food before him. Abigail got off her donkey and fell to the ground before David. In a passionate plea, she begged him not to take a life, promising that if he honoured this request, God would deliver his enemies into His hands. She prophesied that God would appoint him ruler over Israel and requested that should the Lord grant him success, that he would remember his servant Abigail.
Abigail’s plea convinced David that going ahead with the slaughter was unnecessary. ‘David said to Abigail, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgement and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak’. 1 Samuel 25:32-34.
Abigail returned home to find her husband feasting and drunk. She wisely decided not to approach him until morning when he had sobered up. On awakening she told him what she had done in direct defiance of his wishes. When he heard of this, Nabal suffered a stroke from the shock. Around 10 days later he died at the hand of the Lord.
When David learnt of her tragic widowhood, he sent for Abigail in an act of compassion. She had saved him from an inevitable disaster, and he lost no time in asking for her hand in marriage. Abigail accepted the offer gracefully and travelled to David to become his wife.
Abigail was an extraordinary woman of Faith! She listened to God and followed His guidance, despite the personal risk she was taking. She didn’t have to face the biggest challenge of her life alone. God was with her and blessed her faithfulness, providing deliverance, protecting David from a battle he didn’t need to fight, and rescuing her whole household from Nabal’s wickedness.
What can we learn from Abigail’s Faith?
Are you facing a difficult or seemingly impossible challenge in your life at the moment? Have you truly given it over to God, left it in His hands and listened for His answer?
Abigail responded immediately when this situation arose, although she was taking a massive personal risk. She must have been walking close to God, to trust Him for her safety, but also to prophesy what she did over David. How close is our walk to our Father? Can we honestly say we would trust Him even if our lives depended on it?
May we be like Abigail and put our Faith into Action, trusting that our Father will guide us and bring us through whatever challenges face us.
New International Version (NIV) Bible