When God Takes Action
1 Samuel 25:36-44
36And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until the morning light. 37In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 38And about ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died. 39When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and spoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife. 40When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.” 41And she rose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42And Abigail hurried and rose and mounted a donkey, and her five young women attended her. She followed the messengers of David and became his wife. 43David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and both of them became his wives. 44Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim.
God uses the wise and beautiful Abigail to stay David’s hand from murdering Nabal. And because vengeance belongs ultimately in the hands of God, He takes care of Nabal in the end.
Abigail uses her powerful sense of discretion and waits until Nabal isn’t falling-down drunk to tell him of the whole incident with David. Upon hearing the news, Nabal is struck, be it physically or mentally to the point of being unresponsive. It sounds like a stroke, but we really can’t make that diagnosis on the basis of one phrase. Regardless, he is unable to do anything and 10 days later, God strikes him dead. Nabal is no longer able to brutalize anyone and his total disregard for God’s anointed is avenged.
Abigail had prophesied this outcome, probably with no understanding of what she was saying. When she met David on the road, she had told him God would handle his enemies.
25:29If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the Lord your God. And the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling.
It cannot be lost on us that she references a stone cast from a sling. She was well aware of David’s victory over Goliath using just such a weapon. In my mind’s eye, David smiles at this clever reference as he admires her intelligence.
Now that Nabal is out of the picture, God has something amazing in store for Abigail. David wants her to become his wife and she agrees to this proposal. But she does so with great humility, offering herself as a servant who washes feet. But of course, David elevates her to the position of wife. She arrives in his camp not as a servant, but as a rich widow with a donkey and five servant girls of her own. As an end to this story, the text tells us of David’s wives to this point. He has also married Ahinoam, probably before he marries Abigail. His first wife, the daughter of Saul, has been taken back by her father and given to another man! David will rectify that situation later in the story.
It is a pleasure to learn of a strong, faith-filled woman in the story of God’s redemption of His people. She stands as an example of what it means to live sacrificially and intentionally for the Lord. In the face of an evil husband, she manages to bring peace and salvation to her people. In that way, she is strikingly similar to our Lord, Jesus Christ.