1 Samuel 25

Samuel's Death

1 1Then Samuel died; and all Israel gathered together and 2mourned for him, and 3buried him at his house in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the 4wilderness of Paran.

Nabal and Abigail

2 Now there was a man in 5Maon whose business was in 6Carmel; and the man was very rich, and he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And it came about while 7he was shearing his sheep in Carmel
3 (now the man's name was Nabal, and his 8wife's name was Abigail. And the woman was intelligent * and beautiful in appearance, but the man was harsh and evil in his dealings, and he was 9a Calebite ),
4 that David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep.
5 So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, "Go up to Carmel, visit * Nabal and greet * him in my name;
6 and thus you shall say, 'Have a long life, 10peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have.
7 'Now I have heard 11that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us and we have not insulted them, 12nor have they missed anything all the days they were in Carmel.
8 'Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we have come on 13a festive day. Please give whatever you find at hand to your servants and to your son David.' "
9 When David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in David's name; then they waited.
10 But Nabal answered David's servants and said, "14Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master.
11 "Shall I then 15take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin * * I do not know?"
12 So David's young men retraced their way and went back; and they came and told him according to all these words.
13 David said to his men, "Each of you gird on his sword." So each man girded on his sword. And David also girded on his sword, and about 16four hundred men went up behind David while two hundred 17stayed with the baggage.
14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, "Behold, David sent messengers from the wilderness to 18greet our master, and he scorned them.
15 "Yet the men were very good to us, and we were not 19insulted, nor did we miss anything as long * as we went about with them, while we were in the fields.
16 "20They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the time we were with them tending the sheep.
17 "Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him."

Abigail Intercedes

18 Then Abigail hurried and 21took two hundred loaves of bread and two jugs of wine and five sheep already prepared and five measures of roasted grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys.
19 She said to her young men, "22Go on before me; behold, I am coming after you." But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
20 It came about as she was riding on her donkey and coming down by the hidden part of the mountain, that behold, David and his men were coming down toward her; so she met them.
21 Now David had said, "Surely in vain I have guarded all that this man has in the wilderness, so that nothing * was missed of all that belonged to him; and he has 23returned me evil for good.
22 "24May God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, 25if by morning I leave as much as one male * of any who belong to him."
23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried and dismounted from her donkey, and fell on her face before David 26and bowed herself to the ground.
24 She fell at his feet and said, "On me alone, my lord, be the blame. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant.
25 "Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him; but I your maidservant did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.
26 "Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, since the LORD has restrained you from shedding blood, and 27from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then 28let your enemies and those who seek evil against my lord, be as Nabal.
27 "Now let 29this gift which your maidservant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who accompany * my lord.
28 "Please forgive 30the transgression of your maidservant; for 31the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is 32fighting the battles of the LORD, and 33evil will not be found in you all your days.
29 "Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; but the lives of your enemies 34He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling.
30 "And when the LORD does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and 35appoints you ruler over Israel,
31 this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. 36When the LORD deals well with my lord, then remember your maidservant."
32 Then David said to Abigail, "37Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me,
33 and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, 38who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.
34 "Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, 39who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely * there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male *."
35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, "40Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and 41granted your request."
36 Then Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, he was holding 42a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal's heart was merry within him, 43for he was very * drunk; so 44she did not tell him anything at all * until the morning light.
37 But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone.
38 About ten days later, 45the LORD struck Nabal and he died.

David Marries Abigail

39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Blessed be the LORD, who has 46pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal and 47has kept back His servant from evil. The LORD has also returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head." Then David sent 48a proposal to Abigail, to take her as his wife.
40 When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, "David has sent us to you to take you as his wife."
41 She arose 49and bowed with her face to the ground and said, "Behold, your maidservant is a maid 50to wash the feet of my lord's servants."
42 Then 51Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended * her; and she followed * the messengers of David and became his wife.
43 David had also taken Ahinoam of 52Jezreel, and 53they both * became his wives.
44 Now Saul had given 54Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from 55Gallim.

1 Samuel 25 Commentary

Chapter 25

Death of Samuel. (1) David's request; Nabal's churlish refusal. (2-11) David's intention to destroy Nabal. (12-17) Abigail takes a present to David. (18-31) He is pacified, Nabal dies. (32-39) David takes Abigail to wife. (39-44)

Verse 1 All Israel lamented Samuel, and they had reason. He prayed daily for them. Those have hard hearts, who can bury faithful ministers without grief; who do not feel their loss of those who have prayed for them, and taught them the way of the Lord.

Verses 2-11 We should not have heard of Nabal, if nothing had passed between him and David. Observe his name, Nabal, "A fool;" so it signifies. Riches make men look great in the eye of the world; but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He had no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, and ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a man that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a man as David suffers want!, David pleaded the kindness Nabal's shepherds had received. Considering that David's men were in distress and debt, and discontented, and the scarcity of provisions, it was by good management that they were kept from plundering. Nabal went into a passion, as covetous men are apt to do, when asked for any thing, thinking thus to cover one sin with another; and, by abusing the poor, to excuse themselves from relieving them. But God will not thus be mocked. Let this help us to bear reproaches and misrepresentations with patience and cheerfulness, and make us easy under them; it has often been the lot of the excellent ones of the earth. Nabal insists much on the property he had in the provisions of his table. May he not do what he will with his own? We mistake, if we think we are absolute lords of what we have, and may do what we please with it. No; we are but stewards, and must use it as we are directed, remembering it is not our own, but His who intrusted us with it.

Verses 12-17 God is kind to the evil and unthankful, and why may not we be so? David determined to destroy Nabal, and all that belonged to him. Is this thy voice, O David? Has he been so long in the school of affliction, where he should have learned patience, and yet is so passionate? He at other times was calm and considerate, but is put into such a heat by a few hard words, that he seeks to destroy a whole family. What are the best of men, when God leaves them to themselves, that they may know what is in their hearts? What need to pray, Lord, lead us not into temptation!

Verses 18-31 By a present Abigail atoned for Nabal's denial of David's request. Her behaviour was very submissive. Yielding pacifies great offences. She puts herself in the place of a penitent, and of a petitioner. She could not excuse her husband's conduct. She depends not upon her own reasonings, but on God's grace, to soften David, and expects that grace would work powerfully. She says that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and despicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him no kindness, so he could do him no hurt. She foretells the glorious end of David's present troubles. God will preserve thy life; therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take away the lives of any, especially of the people of thy God and Saviour. Abigail keeps this argument for the last, as very powerful with so good a man; that the less he indulged his passion, the more he consulted his peace and the repose of his own conscience. Many have done that in a heat, which they have a thousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge is soon turned into bitterness. When tempted to sin, we should consider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards.

Verses 32-39 David gives God thanks for sending him this happy check in a sinful way. Whoever meet us with counsel, direction, comfort, caution, or seasonable reproof, we must see God sending them. We ought to be very thankful for those happy providences which are the means of keeping us from sinning. Most people think it enough, if they take reproof patiently; but few will take it thankfully, and commend those who give it, and accept it as a favour. The nearer we are to committing sin, the greater is the mercy of a seasonable restraint. Sinners are often most secure when most in danger. He was very drunk. A sign he was Nabal, a fool, that could not use plenty without abusing it; who could not be pleasant with his friends without making a beast of himself. There is not a surer sign that a man has but little wisdom, nor a surer way to destroy the little he has, than drinking to excess. Next morning, how he is changed! His heart overnight merry with wine, next morning heavy as a stone; so deceitful are carnal pleasures, so soon passes the laughter of the fool; the end of that mirth is heaviness. Drunkards are sad, when they reflect upon their own folly. About ten days after, the Lord smote Nabal, that he died. David blessed God that he had been kept from killing Nabal. Worldly sorrow, mortified pride, and an affrighted conscience, sometimes end the joys of the sensualist, and separate the covetous man from his wealth; but, whatever the weapon, the Lord smites men with death when it pleases him.

Verses 39-44 Abigail believed that David would be king over Israel, and greatly esteemed his pious and excellent character. She deemed his proposal of marriage honourable, and advantageous to her, notwithstanding his present difficulties. With great humility, and doubtless agreeably to the customs of those times, she consented, being willing to share his trails. Thus those who join themselves to Christ, must be willing now to suffer with him, believing that hereafter they shall reign with him.

Cross References 55

  • 1. 1 Samuel 28:3
  • 2. Numbers 20:29; Deuteronomy 34:8
  • 3. 2 Kings 21:18; 2 Chronicles 33:20
  • 4. Genesis 21:21; Numbers 10:12; Numbers 13:3
  • 5. 1 Samuel 23:24
  • 6. Joshua 15:55
  • 7. Genesis 38:13; 2 Samuel 13:23
  • 8. Proverbs 31:10
  • 9. Joshua 15:13; 1 Samuel 30:14
  • 10. 1 Chronicles 12:18; Psalms 122:7; Luke 10:5
  • 11. 2 Samuel 13:23, 24
  • 12. 1 Samuel 25:15, 21
  • 13. Nehemiah 8:10-12; Esther 9:19, 22
  • 14. Judges 9:28
  • 15. Judges 8:6, 15
  • 16. 1 Samuel 23:13
  • 17. 1 Samuel 30:24
  • 18. 1 Samuel 13:10; 1 Samuel 15:13
  • 19. 1 Samuel 25:7, 21
  • 20. Exodus 14:22; Job 1:10
  • 21. 2 Samuel 16:1; 1 Chronicles 12:40
  • 22. Genesis 32:16, 20
  • 23. Psalms 109:5; Proverbs 17:13
  • 24. 1 Samuel 3:17; 1 Samuel 20:13
  • 25. 1 Kings 14:10
  • 26. 1 Samuel 20:41
  • 27. Hebrews 10:30
  • 28. 2 Samuel 18:32
  • 29. Genesis 33:11; 1 Samuel 30:26
  • 30. 1 Samuel 25:24
  • 31. 1 Samuel 22:14; 2 Samuel 7:11, 16
  • 32. 1 Samuel 18:17
  • 33. 1 Samuel 24:11; Psalms 7:3
  • 34. Jeremiah 10:18
  • 35. 1 Samuel 13:14
  • 36. Genesis 40:14; 1 Samuel 25:30
  • 37. Exodus 18:10; 1 Kings 1:48; Psalms 41:13; Psalms 72:18; Psalms 106:48; Luke 1:68
  • 38. 1 Samuel 25:26
  • 39. 1 Samuel 25:26
  • 40. 1 Samuel 20:42; 2 Kings 5:19
  • 41. Genesis 19:21
  • 42. 2 Samuel 13:28
  • 43. Proverbs 20:1; Isaiah 5:11; Hosea 4:11
  • 44. 1 Samuel 25:19
  • 45. 1 Samuel 26:10; 2 Samuel 6:7; Psalms 104:29
  • 46. 1 Samuel 24:15; Proverbs 22:23
  • 47. 1 Samuel 25:26, 34
  • 48. Song of Songs 8:8
  • 49. 1 Samuel 25:23
  • 50. Mark 1:7
  • 51. Genesis 24:61-67
  • 52. Joshua 15:56
  • 53. 1 Samuel 27:3; 1 Samuel 30:5
  • 54. 1 Samuel 18:27; 2 Samuel 3:14
  • 55. Isaiah 10:30

Footnotes 34

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the death of Samuel, and of the ill treatment David met with from Nabal; it begins with the death of Samuel, which was greatly lamented in Israel, 1Sa 25:1; it draws the character of Nabal, and his wife, 1Sa 25:2,3; records a message of David to him, by his young men, desiring he would send him some of his provisions made for his sheep shearers, 1Sa 25:4-9; and Nabal's ill-natured answer to him reported by the young men, which provoked David to arm against him, 1Sa 25:10-13,21,22; and this being told Abigail, the wife of Nabal, and a good character given of David and his men, and of the advantage Nabal's shepherds had received from them, and the danger his family was in through his ingratitude, 1Sa 25:14-17; she prepared a present to pacify David, went with it herself, and addressed him in a very handsome, affectionate, and prudent manner, 1Sa 25:18-31; and met with a kind reception, 1Sa 25:32-35; and the chapter is closed with an account of the death of Nabal, and of the marriage of Abigail to David, 1Sa 25:32-44.

1 Samuel 25 Commentaries

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