#2 Women of God: Abigail
Updated: Jul 31, 2021
Abigail was stuck in a bad marriage to Nabal, a wealthy, but evil man. Why the marriage took place in the first place is irrelevant. Abigail had limited options but she was bound to him for life unless he should ever choose to divorce her.
Nabal is described as a “scoundrel” (v17), “harsh and badly behaved” (v3). When requested by David, during a period of festivities and celebrating abundance, for food for some of David’s men who had protected his servants and sheep over a long period, Nabal foolishly refused. Nabal was contemptuous of the request and openly insulted David. If he was like that to these well-meaning strangers in a culture that honours the stranger, how badly must he have behaved towards his wife? (1 Samuel 25: 1-44).
Abigail is described as beautiful and intelligent (v3). When she heard what Nabal had done she rapidly realised that she and her household were in grave danger of retaliation from David’s small army. She quickly assembled a generous gift of food and wine and in humility she knelt before David and spoke words of wisdom and requested forgiveness. David’s revenge was halted, Nabal shortly afterwards died of shock and David married Abigail.
In Psalm 22 David sings about being despised and being mocked: “He trusted in God. Let Him rescue and deliver him” (v8). He asks God to deliver him from the sword and his precious life from the power of the dog (v20), a lowly pack scavenger which attacked the helpless. In crying out to God, God answered David and delivered him and the poor ate and were satisfied (v26).
God had used the humility of this faithful woman, Abigail, to keep David from “coming to bloodshed and avenging” himself (1 Sam. 25:33). David acknowledged that, “All those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive (v29). (They will) live from generation to generation and “will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born” (v31).
Abigail was a strong woman of God who saved her entire household from imminent death. The lessons from the recorded life of Abigail are patience under trial, wise action under testing and that genuine humility leads to blessings forevermore.