I recently had an assignment from one of my church house party groups (most churches call them “small groups”) to find a woman in the Bible and find out what we can learn from her. After praying, I chose Abigail. I was excited to dive in, having always loved her story and thought her name was beautiful.
In I Samuel 25 we find Abigail’s story.
“Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings …” (I Sam 25:2-3)
David and his men had been running from King Saul’s army, as Saul sought to kill David. Saul knew that the prophet Samuel had anointed David to be the next king and had discovered that “the Lord was with him [David], but had departed from Saul” (I Samuel 18:12). Saul became angry and jealous of David and began a concentrated hunt to find and kill him. But God continually protected David. Finally, after Saul’s death, David’s army could stop running.
They found themselves resting where Nabal’s men were sheering his sheep. No doubt, at this point, David and his men were exhausted.
David asked Nabal to grant provisions—food and drink, refreshments—for his men, sighting the fact that his men had dealt respectfully with Nabal’s workers. Nabal refused, disrespectfully at that, and David’s fuse was lit.
Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good. May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light.” I Sam 25:21-22
Abigail in Action
When Abigail discovered that she and all her household were in danger, she did not hesitate to act.
Her words and actions proved that she was quite thoughtful, a prayer warrior and an encourager.
Abigail cleverly managed the household servants and men who worked for her husband to prepare provisions for David. This was leadership.
She went to great lengths to protect her family and servants.
Risking her life, she made haste to come before David as he was literally on his way to avenge himself and his men by killing all of the men of her household.
The traits Abigail displayed are typical of the average woman of strength—but she had a great advantage:
Abigail was reverent and fearful of God.
A stalwart, godly and humble example of a woman, Abigail is one from whom we can learn much. We can apply the characteristics she displayed with our families and in our relationships, which will serve us well.
Abigail’s Character Revealed
Abigail was generous – She prepared a tremendous gift: “Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. (Verses 18-19)
Abigail was humble – She bowed to David: “ … fell on her face before David” and apologized for coming to David in this manner: “Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant.” (Verses 23, 28)
Abigail was sacrificial – She took the blamefor her husband: “On me let this iniquity be!” (Verse 24)
Abigail was truthful – She spoke the truth to David about her husband’s character: “Let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal … folly is with him!” (Verse 25)
Abigail was clever – She protected him from bloodshed: “ … since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and avenging yourself with your own hand.” (Verses 26)
Abigail was bold – She declared favor over him and offered the provisions he had sought: “Let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.” (Verse 26-27)
Abigail was godly – She blessed him and prayed for him: “ … 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. 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. 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, 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 …” (Verses 28-31)
Abigail was wise – She sought goodwill for herself and thereby her household: “ … But when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.” (Verse 31)
For having such character traits, Abigail was blessed tremendously. David took her advice and realized it was a blessing from God. After hearing that her husband died, this is what he did:
“ … And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife … Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, ‘Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.’ So Abigail rose in haste …” (Verses 39, 41-42)
True to character, Abigail did not hesitate to respond, followed David’s messengers and became the wife of a king.
To Ponder: What are your thoughts on Abigail’s character or the events of her story? I want to learn from you, too.