foolish, a descendant of Caleb who dwelt at Maon ( 1 Samuel 25 ), the modern Main, 7 miles south-east of Hebron. He was "very great, and he had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats...but the man was churlish and evil in his doings." During his wanderings David came into that district, and hearing that Nabal was about to shear his sheep, he sent ten of his young men to ask "whatsoever cometh unto thy hand for thy servants." Nabal insultingly resented the demand, saying, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?" ( 1 Samuel 25:10 1 Samuel 25:11 ). One of the shepherds that stood by and saw the reception David's messengers had met with, informed Abigail, Nabal's wife, who at once realized the danger that threatened her household. She forthwith proceeded to the camp of David, bringing with her ample stores of provisions ( 25:18 ). She so courteously and persuasively pled her cause that David's anger was appeased, and he said to her, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel which sent thee this day to meet me."
On her return she found her husband incapable from drunkenness of understanding the state of matters, and not till the following day did she explain to him what had happened. He was stunned by a sense of the danger to which his conduct had exposed him. "His heart died within him, and he became as a stone." and about ten days after "the Lord smote Nabal that he died" ( 1 Samuel 25:37 1 Samuel 25:38 ). Not long after David married Abigail (q.v.).
(fool ) was a sheepmaster on the confines of Judea and the desert, in that part of the country which bore from its great conqueror the name of Caleb. ( 1 Samuel 25:3 ; 30:14 ) (B.C. about 1055.) His residence was on the southern Carmel, in the pasture lands of Maon. His wealth, as might be expected from his abode, consisted chiefly of sheep and goats. It was the custom of the shepherds to drive them into the wild downs on the slopes of Carmel; and it was whilst they were on one of these pastoral excursions that they met a band of outlaws, who showed them unexpected kindness, protecting them by day and night, and never themselves committing any depredations. ( 1 Samuel 25:7 1 Samuel 25:15 1 Samuel 25:18 ) Once a year there was a grand banquet on Carmel, "like the feast of a king." ch. ( 1 Samuel 25:2 1 Samuel 25:4 ; 36 ) It was on one of these occasions that ten youths from the chief of the freebooters approached Nabal, enumerated the services of their master, and ended by claiming, with a mixture of courtesy and defiance characteristic of the East, "whatsoever cometh into thy hand for thy servants and for thy son David." The great sheepmaster peremptorily refused. The moment that the messengers were gone, the shepherds that stood by perceived the danger that their master and themselves would incur. To Nabal himself they durst not speak. ch. ( 1 Samuel 25:17 ) To his wife, as to the good angel of the household, one of the shepherds told the state of affairs. She, with the offerings usual on such occasions, with her attendants running before her, rode down the hill toward Davids encampment. David had already made the fatal vow of extermination. ch. ( 1 Samuel 26:22 ) At this moment, as it would seem, Abigail appeared, threw herself on her face before him, and poured forth her petition in language which in both form and expression almost assumes the tone of poetry. She returned with the news of Davids recantation of his vow. Nabal was then at the height of his orgies and his wife dared not communicate to him either his danger or his escape. ch. ( 1 Samuel 28:36 ) At break of day she told him both. The stupid reveller was suddenly roused to a sense of that which impended over him. "His heart died within him, and he be came as a stone." It was as if a stroke of apoplexy or paralysis had fallen upon him. Ten days he lingered "and the Lord smote Nabal, and he died." ch. ( 1 Samuel 25:37 1 Samuel 25:38 )
na'-bal (nabhal, "foolish" or "wicked"; Nabal):
A wealthy man of Maon in the highlands of Judah, not far from Hebron, owner of many sheep and goats which he pastured around Carmel in the same district. He was a churlish and wicked man (1 Samuel 25:2). When David was a fugitive from Saul, he and his followers sought refuge in the wilderness of Paran, near the possessions of Nabal, and protected the latter's flocks and herds from the marauding Bedouin. David felt that some compensation was due him for such services (1 Samuel 25:15; 25), so, at the time of sheep-shearing--an occasion of great festivities among sheep masters--he sent 10 of his young men to Nabal to solicit gifts of food for himself and his small band of warriors. Nabal not only refused any assistance or presents, but sent back insulting words to David, whereupon the latter, becoming very angry, determined upon the extermination of Nabal and his household and dispatched 400 men to execute his purpose. Abigail, Nabal's wife, a woman of wonderful sagacity and prudence as well as of great beauty, having learned of her husband's conduct and of David's intentions, hurriedly proceeded, with a large supply of provisions, dainties and wine, to meet David and to apologize for her husband's unkind words and niggardliness, and thus succeeded in thwarting the bloody and revengeful plans of Israel's future king. Upon her return home she found her husband in the midst of a great celebration ("like the feast of a king"), drunken with wine, too intoxicated to realize his narrow escape from the sword of David. On the following morning, when sober, having heard the report of his wife, he was so overcome with fear that he never recovered from the shock, but died 10 days later (1 Samuel 25:36-38). When David heard about his death, he sent for Abigail, who soon afterward became one of his wives.y Paul) make use of expressions and analogies derived from the mystery-religions; but, so far as our present evidence goes, we cannot agree that the pagan cults exercised a central or formative influence on them.
W. W. Davies
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