Our chapter is a bit lengthy this morning, but let’s read it and then make a few observations:
We are then told the story of a classic fool. In fact, if you looked up the word “fool” in the dictionary, you would find Nabal’s picture there! He was very wealthy (1000 goats and 3000 sheep) and he had an intelligent and beautiful wife by the name of Abigail (vv. 1-3).
In contrast Nabal was “surly and mean in his dealings” (v. 4).
David sends 10 young men to Nabal to remind him that David and his army had treated Nabal’s shepherds kindly and did not steal from them when they were in Carmel. David asks that Nabal to be favorable toward his men and to give “your servants and David whatever you can find for them” (v. 8).
Nabal answers David rudely, asking “Who is this David?” He said that many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. He asks, “Why should I take my bread and water and meat and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (v. 11).
This report from his men infuriates David and he has 400 of his men prepare to attack Nabal! (v. 13).
Abigail recognizes Nabal’s foolishness and is told that David’s soldiers had been very good to Nabal’s men and had been “a wall around us the whole time” (v. 16). The servant encourages Abigail to see what she can do because “disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him” (v. 17).
Abigail acted quickly, collected many goods to give to David, and meets him on his way to attack her husband. David vows to kill all of Nabal’s men. But Abigail falls at David’s feet, pleads for pardon, and acknowledges that her husband is a fool! (v. 25). She convinces David not to avenge himself and to forgive her for her intercession (v. 28).
She predicts a lasting dynasty for David and asks that he not pursue “the staggering burden of needless bloodshed of vengeance” (v. 31).
David listens to Abigail, accepts her gifts, and sends her home (v. 35). Abigail finds Nabal at a banquet, drunk as a skunk. She tells him everything the next morning and he dies about ten days later (“the Lord struck Nabal and he died” – v. 38).
David rejoices at Nabal’s death, saying the Lord “has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head” (v. 39). He then takes Abigail as his wife (vv. 40-42). We are also told that David had also married Ahinoam and he now had two wives. But Saul had given his daughter Michal, “David’s wife,” to Paltiel son of Laish (v. 44).