31 Women from the Bible – Abigail

Abigail – The woman with beauty and brains

Abigail was one of David’s wives. Her story is found in 1 Samuel 25. At the beginning of the story, Abigail is the wife of a wealthy man named Nabal who lived in a town called Maon in the wilderness of Paran, an area near the Sinai Peninsula. Abigail was “an intelligent and beautiful woman” (1 Samuel 25:3) who saved her husband and his household, prevented David from doing something rash, and secured an unexpected future for herself.

The story of Abigail in the Bible is an interesting one for many reasons. For one, Nabal is a rather bizarre character. For no apparent reason, Nabal refuses David’s request for food and shelter. Despite knowing of David’s previous benevolence to his shepherds, Nabal churlishly refuses to aid David and his men as they tried to keep one step ahead of King Saul. David’s request was not unreasonable, but Nabal, who is described as “surly and mean” (1 Samuel 25:3), essentially spits in the faces of David’s servants, saying, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” (verses 10–11).

Abigail’s propitiation saves the day. David thanks Abigail for staying his hand and repents of his own foolish and rash decision to slaughter Nabal’s household (1 Samuel 25:32–34). In fact, David sees Abigail’s coming to him as a blessing from God, and he send her home in peace (verse 35).

Scripture says that we should not seek vengeance for ourselves. Rather, we should “leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19; cf. Deuteronomy 32:35). This is exactly what happened in Abigail’s story. David was prevented from taking revenge, and the Lord Himself took care of the matter in due time.

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