1 Samuel 25

1 Now Samuel died, and all the Israelites met and had a time of sad- ness for him. Then they buried him at his home in Ramah. David moved to the Desert of Maon.
2 A man in Maon who had land at Carmel was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was cutting the wool off his sheep at Carmel.
3 His name was Nabal, and he was a descendant of Caleb. His wife was named Abigail. She was wise and beautiful, but Nabal was cruel and mean.
4 While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was cutting the wool from his sheep.
5 So he sent ten young men and told them, "Go to Nabal at Carmel, and greet him for me.
6 Say to Nabal, 'May you and your family and all who belong to you have good health!
7 I have heard that you are cutting the wool from your sheep. When your shepherds were with us, we did not harm them. All the time your shepherds were at Carmel, we stole nothing from them.
8 Ask your servants, and they will tell you. We come at a happy time, so be kind to my young men. Please give anything you can find for them and for your son David.'"
9 When David's men arrived, they gave the message to Nabal, but Nabal insulted them.
10 He answered them, "Who is David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many slaves are running away from their masters today!
11 I have bread and water, and I have meat that I killed for my servants who cut the wool. But I won't give it to men I don't know."
12 David's men went back and told him all Nabal had said.
13 Then David said to them, "Put on your swords!" So they put on their swords, and David put on his also. About four hundred men went with David, but two hundred men stayed with the supplies.
14 One of Nabal's servants said to Abigail, Nabal's wife, "David sent messengers from the desert to greet our master, but Nabal insulted them.
15 These men were very good to us. They did not harm us. They stole nothing from us during all the time we were out in the field with them.
16 Night and day they protected us. They were like a wall around us while we were with them caring for the sheep.
17 Now think about it, and decide what you can do. Terrible trouble is coming to our master and all his family. Nabal is such a wicked man that no one can even talk to him."
18 Abigail hurried. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two leather bags full of wine, five cooked sheep, a bushel of cooked grain, a hundred cakes of raisins, and two hundred cakes of pressed figs and put all these on donkeys.
19 Then she told her servants, "Go on. I'll follow you." But she did not tell her husband.
20 Abigail rode her donkey and came down toward the mountain hideout. There she met David and his men coming down toward her.
21 David had just said, "It's been useless! I watched over Nabal's property in the desert. I made sure none of his sheep was missing. I did good to him, but he has paid me back with evil.
22 May God punish my enemies even more. I will not leave one of Nabal's men alive until morning."
23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed facedown on the ground before him.
24 She fell at David's feet and said, "My master, let the blame be on me! Please let me talk to you. Listen to what I say.
25 My master, don't pay attention to this worthless man Nabal. He is like his name. His name means 'fool,' and he is truly a fool. But I, your servant, didn't see the men you sent.
26 The Lord has kept you from killing and punishing anyone. As surely as the Lord lives and as surely as you live, may your enemies become like Nabal!
27 I have brought a gift to you for the men who follow you.
28 Please forgive my wrong. The Lord will certainly let your family have many kings, because you fight his battles. As long as you live, may you do nothing bad.
29 Someone might chase you to kill you, but the Lord your God will keep you alive. He will throw away your enemies' lives as he would throw a stone from a sling.
30 The Lord will keep all his promises of good things for you. He will make you leader over Israel.
31 Then you won't feel guilty or troubled because you killed innocent people and punished them. Please remember me when the Lord brings you success."
32 David answered Abigail, "Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me.
33 May you be blessed for your wisdom. You have kept me from killing or punishing people today.
34 As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, he has kept me from hurting you. If you hadn't come quickly to meet me, not one of Nabal's men would have lived until morning."
35 Then David accepted Abigail's gifts. He told her, "Go home in peace. I have heard your words, and I will do what you have asked."
36 When Abigail went back to Nabal, he was in the house, eating like a king. He was very drunk and in a good mood. So she told him nothing until the next morning.
37 In the morning when he was not drunk, his wife told him everything. His heart stopped, and he became like stone.
38 About ten days later the Lord struck Nabal and he died.
39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Praise the Lord! Nabal insulted me, but the Lord has supported me! He has kept me from doing wrong. The Lord has punished Nabal for his wrong." Then David sent a message to Abigail, asking her to be his wife.
40 His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, "David sent us to take you so you can become his wife."
41 Abigail bowed facedown on the ground and said, "I am your servant. I'm ready to serve you and to wash the feet of my master's servants."
42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and went with David's messengers, with her five maids following her. And she became David's wife.
43 David also had married Ahinoam of Jezreel. So they were both David's wives.
44 Saul's daughter Michal was also David's wife, but Saul had given her to Paltiel son of Laish, who was from Gallim.

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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO FIRST SAMUEL 25

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