1 Samuel 25 Study Notes


25:1 Samuel’s death marked the end of a significant era for all Israel. His faithful leadership helped the nation make the transition from theocracy to monarchy. The Wilderness of Paran (Gn 21:21; Nm 10:12; 13:3) lay beyond Judah’s southern edge.

25:2-3 Maon and Carmel were only about a mile apart on the edge of the Judean wilderness. Nabal, whose name means “stupid” (v. 25), was descended from Joshua’s friend Caleb (Nm 14:6-9; Jos 14:6-14).

25:4 Shearing sheep was normally a festive occasion (Gn 38:12) since wool was a valuable commodity (2Kg 3:4).

25:5-6 That David sent ten young men suggests that he was expecting a considerable amount to be provided.


Hebrew pronunciation [ah DOAN]
CSB translation lord
Uses in 1 Samuel 38
Uses in the OT 335
Focus passage 1 Samuel 25:10,14,17,24-31,41

’Adon may derive from a word meaning “father” and is related to the Greek deity Adonis. In the OT, it refers to human lords of all kinds about three hundred times and to the divine Lord about thirty times. This count excludes the divine name ’Adonay, which is a special development of the word ’adon, although it is also translated “Lord.” ’Adon is also commonly translated master (Gn 24:9) and can be my lord (Gn 31:35; Ex 32:22). ’Adon can refer to other positions of authority such as owner (1Kg 16:24), supervisor (Neh 3:5), or husband (Am 4:1). It sometimes appears in the plural of majesty in relation to God (Neh 8:10), and in compound names for God. The phrases Lord of the whole earth (Jos 3:11) and Lord of lords (Dt 10:17) reflect ’adon.

25:7-8 David reminded Nabal of a time when he and his men provided protection for Nabal’s livestock. David now asked Nabal to return the favor and provide him and his men with whatever he had on hand from his profits.

25:9-11 Nabal’s response was arrogant and insulting. He compared David to a runaway slave, insinuating that he was a nobody who was running from Saul.

25:12-13 David planned to execute vengeance on Nabal with his soldiers.

25:14 One of Nabal’s young men realized the folly of Nabal’s action and told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, about her husband’s offensive action toward David.

25:15-16 The young man confirms what David had said.

25:17 The words consider carefully what you should do from Nabal’s employees show they had probably come to Abigail on other occasions to cover Nabal’s bad decisions. They would not have referred to him as such a worthless fool unless he had a history of poor judgment.

25:18 The provisions listed represented a sizable and thoughtful gift, though it would not have been enough to sustain six hundred men and their families.

25:19 Abigail’s servants would run ahead to David and tell him that she was bringing provisions for his men.

25:20 Since Abigail descended through a mountain pass hidden from view, she may have thought it all the more important to let David know she was coming.

25:21-22 David was so disgusted with Nabal that he did not even mention his name. He referred to him as this man, a translation of one Hebrew syllable (zeh). When David expected gratitude and hospitality, he received insults. Consequently, David had vowed to kill all the men in Nabal’s household.

25:23 Abigail bowed to David, treating him as a superior and humbling herself before him. Ironically, David had earlier humbled himself before Nabal (v. 8) but to no avail.

25:24 By her words the guilt is mine Abigail “implied to David that since she knew [Nabal’s wickedness], she should have been more watchful to protect her husband from himself” (Robert Bergen).

25:25-26 Though Abigail referred to her husband as worthless, she interceded with David to save his life. She diplomatically suggested she was the Lord’s agent in heading off needless bloodshed, the act of which might bring guilt on David and serious damage to his reputation in Israel.

25:27 This gift refers to the provisions listed in v. 18.

25:28 The expression your servant’s offense refers to Abigail, not to Nabal, and it designates a serious transgression. Again, she took responsibility for Nabal’s sin even as she spoke of what she saw as David’s future—a lasting dynasty. Perhaps Abigail implied the Lord’s battles should not include a skirmish with Nabal.

25:29 Some interpreters believe the expression tucked safely in the place may designate the Book of Life (Php 4:3; Rv 3:5; 22:19), but the expression at least denotes God’s sovereign protection of his righteous ones. The imagery of God flinging away David’s enemies like stones from a sling was well chosen in light of David’s famed use of a sling against Goliath (17:49-51).

25:30-31 Abigail did not want David to suffer remorse or a troubled conscience after he became king because he had slaughtered Nabal’s household needlessly. The words remember me your servant must have seemed a bit peculiar to David since Abigail was married, but time would prove her words wise (v. 39).

25:32-35 David confirmed Abigail’s role as God’s instrument of deliverance for her husband and her household. He told her, I have . . . granted your request (lit “I have lifted up your face”).

25:36 Nabal’s drunken state showed that he had no idea how much danger he faced barring Abigail’s intervention. The phrase until morning light refers to the time by which he and his servants would have been killed (v. 34).

25:37-38 Nabal’s heart died and he became a stone probably means that he had a seizure and became paralyzed.

25:39 David praised the Lord for two things: (1) intervening for him and (2) protecting him from doing evil. In the final analysis, God brought judgment against Nabal.

25:40 Some interpreters believe David was playing the role of the family redeemer to Abigail (Dt 25:5-6), though the text does not suggest this and biblical genealogical lists (1Ch 2:3-17; 4:15-20) do not support it.

25:41 Abigail’s humble response was typical of her culture, though she fully expected David to take her as his wife, not as someone to wash the feet of his servants.

25:42 Marrying Abigail gave David control of a sizable estate in Judah and gained him valuable resources for his cause.

25:43 The biblical text says about Ahinoam of Jezreel only that she bore Amnon, David’s firstborn (2Sm 3:2). Jezreel probably designates the Judahite city (Jos 15:56), not the more famous city in the Jezreel Valley.

25:44 The text does not clarify whether Saul gave his daughter Michal, who was already David’s wife (18:27), to another man at her request or as punishment for her support of David against her father (19:17).