SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Samuel (verse 1) had been the spokesperson for God and spiritual leader of the nation.
- It may seem acceptable that Nabal refused to feed David's men, but David wasn't asking for charity. He and his men had been protecting Nabal's workers and herds. Also, in that time hospitality almost required people to feed strangers.
- David's response (verses 12-13 and 21-22) is, obviously, too severe. It shows a natural tendency in David to be rash and to fight (one we have seen before and will see again). Knowing that about David makes it even more remarkable that he is showing such restraint in not fighting against or killing Saul (see previous chapter).
- Abigail was Nabal's wife, and her quick thinking, wisdom and incredible negotiating skills shows he really married up!
- Nabal seems to have a stroke (verse 37) and ten days later he dies. It says, "the Lord struck him" (verse 38). That may mean that God literally decided that Nabal forfeited his right to keep living and so took his life, or perhaps God wasn't the direct cause, but merely allowed Nabal's illness to result in death.
- What happens in verses 39-44, with David taking another wife, and the revelation that Saul had given one of David's other wives to another man, seems bizarre to us. We need to remember that all of this took place about 3,000 years ago and the times were very different back then.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- David, a man who had faith in and loved God, was still fully capable of making rash bad decisions. Anger rarely leads to a wise decision.
- Though he was angry, David at least had the good sense to stop and listen to Abigail, rather than stubbornly continuing on with his anger-fueled plan.
- Abigail looked beyond the crisis happening at the moment to the bigger picture. She worked hard to promote peace between two people wrapped up in an escalating feud.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- In what ways are you like David in this story? Is there anywhere your anger has got the best of you? Are you currently in a feud because you feel like someone offended you? Who can you listen to that can provide you wisdom and a different perspective? Will you allow God to put you on a different path?
- In what ways can you be like Abigail in this story? Can you be a peace-maker to a relationship in crisis? Can you provide wisdom and a godly perspective to someone going down a wrong path? One interesting thing in this story is that Abigail wasn't really in a position to play a significant role, but she did anyway. You may feel like you're not in a position to do anything significant, but maybe you can anyway.