David, Nabal, and Abigail

Taking a Leave from God?


David’s interactions with Abigail [1 Samuel 25:1–44] illustrate several principles applicable to present-day human relationships.

David Reacts to Nabal’s Contempt

David was angry with Nabal (Abigail’s husband) for rejecting with contempt his (David’s) request for food. David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and flock in the field. So, David sent a few people to request food from Nabal during a sheep-shearing festival. Nabal not only refused but insulted David in the process. David set out with his men, intending to destroy Nabal and his belongings in a quest for revenge.

Abigail Redirects David

Abigail learned of the impending danger to her household and intervened by meeting David on the way with a generous gift of food items. When she met David, she took responsibility for her husband’s action, asked for forgiveness, counseled David against engaging in needless bloodshed and self-vengeance, and prayed and prophesied for him. Her plea was successful. David realized his intention for Nabal was not right, thanked Abigail, and praised God for sending her to redirect him.

Respond but Do Not React

David was about to act against Nabal without asking how God would feel about it or what his action would convey to people regarding the image of God. We know from previous bible studies that David frequently consulted with God and evaluated how contemplated actions would affect other people’s understanding of God. In the situation with Nabal, David “reacted” angrily instead of “responding” after careful deliberation as he did in previous situations. So, his experience in this interaction reminds us to respond, but do not react, to an insult or other sources of anger.

Opportunity for Redirection

God placed people (Abigail and her servant) in position to provide David an opportunity to redirect himself. David used the opportunity and abandoned the quest for needless bloodshed and vengeance. Similarly, God would place people on our path to provide us opportunity for redirection from potential sinful acts. However, we will in each case have a choice to use or not use the opportunity.

There is More

There are additional principles based on the passage, like Paul discussed in his letter to Romans [12:17–21]. Please join us as we examine more details of the interactions between David and Abigail. You can play the video or audio files or download the audio of pdf files.



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