Abigail is an interesting woman whom we meet in 1 Samuel chapter 25. Like several women in the Old Testament, Abigail is described as beautiful. Unlike other women in the Old Testament, Abigail is also described as "intelligent" or "of good understanding", etc.
Abigail was married to a wealthy man and she may have enjoyed the benefits of an affluent lifestyle, but her rich husband Nabal was foolish, intemperate and mean.
abigail's name is derived from two Hebrew words, "fahter" and "happiness" and means "my father's happiness". She may have been the cause of happiness in her father's house, but Agigail's marriage cannot have been a happy one. Nabal's name means "foolish" or "senseless" in Hebrew.
Nabal did not realize that David and his men had been protecting his shepherds. When David's camp started to run out of food, David sent ten messengers to Nabal and they told him about how they had been protecting his shepherds. they also asked for provisions, but Nabal refused them. He even screamed at them.
1 Samuel 25:14
One of the servants told Nabal's wife Abigail: "David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them.
Nabal's actions deeply insulted David and David responded by preparing for a slaughter.
1 Samuel 25:13,22
13 David said to his men, "Put on your swords!" So they put on their swords, and David put on his. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.
22 May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!"
1. Abigail's Actions
Abigail was the able mistress of an extensive household. She had many servants who trusted her and followed her lead. A servant told Abigail how Nabal has insulted David and informed her of the danger they now faced. Her servants, both male and female, promptly helped Abigail in her decisive plan to placate David.
Abigail was not just intelligent and beautiful, she was also brave. It would have been no mean feat to confront David and four hundred of his men who had been insulted and were intent on revenge with their swords at the ready. Yet Abigail approached David and with great diplomacy, humbly offered him a "peace offering". She gave David and his men plenty of food. Her quick actions saved her household from disaster and she kept David and his men from unnecessary bloodshed.
Abigail was a smart, strong, young woman who helped her husband by going against his wishes.
Abigail was also brave considering that her actions would be found out by her husband and then she would have to face his violent temper. The next day, Abigail told Nabal everything that she had done. Thankfully God spared her from Nabal's wrath. Nabal immediately had a heart attack and ten days died later from heart failure.
Nabal did not know who David was, but Agigail knew. She knew that David was an outlaw on the run from King Saul, but she spoke eloquently and prophetically about David and his future reign as king of Israel. Her speech is one of the longest speeches of a woman recorded in the Old Testament.
1 Samuel 25:28-31
28 Please forgive your servant's offense, for the LORD will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights the Lord's battles. Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live.
29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling.
30 When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel,
31 my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the LORD has brought my master success, remember your servant."
No children are mentioned in 1 Samuel chapter 25. Abigail may have been a young, new wife and had not yet conceived. After Nabal's death, David seems to lose no time in asking Abigail to become his wife. He remembered her, as she asked. (1 Samuel 25:31)
It is not clear whether David sought this marriage because of his attraction to Abigail or if it was for political reasons, but he certainly admired her. Abigail becomes David's third wife and she bears David's second son Chileab. Her son is called Daniel in 1 Chronicles.
2 Samuel 3:3
his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom the son of Maacah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
1 Chronicles 3:1
These were the sons of David born to him in Hebron: The firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel; the second, Daniel the son of Abigail of Carmel;
2. Abigail's submission
Sometimes we get confused about the story of Abigail when we were young. We have been taught that wives are to submit to their husbands in everything - after all, that's what Pul says in Ephesians 5:24.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Woman were supposed to revere and respect their husbands as the leaders and certainly not say anything bad about them. But here was a Bible woman who went behind her husband's back and did something she knew he wouldn't approve of. She even announces her husband's faults to David :
1 Samuel 25:25
May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name--his name is Fool, and folly goes with him. But as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my master sent.
Despite defying her husband and saying negative things about him, Abigail is commended for her actions. Moreover, David recognizes that Abigail was sent by God.
1 Samuel 25:32-33
32 David said to Abigail, "Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me.
33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.
In fact, Abigail is an ideal wife. She doesn't submit to her husband's stupidity, but she is submissive by protecting him and his interests. She takes the initiative when he is unable or unwilling to act and she even apologizes for his rude behaviour.
As woman in the church we have a faulty idea of submission in marriage. Biblical submission is not about blind obedience or subservience. Healthy submission is characterized by loyalty, humility, deference and consideration and it seeks the greater good. Ideally it should be mutual and reciprocal, rather than one-sided, with both husband and wife helping and serving each other.
Abigail was a smart, young woman who helped her husband by going against his wishes. She initiates a potentially dangerous meeting with David and speaks with great diplomacy and insight. God used Abigail to help David and encourage him with her prophetic words. Abigail was a remarkable woman.
3. Abigail - a study on leadership and prudence
Let's look at all her leadership qualities :
Studying people - realized the situation by studying people. David, his band of hungry men, her husband and eventuality appealed to David's personal righteousness.
Thinking it over - prudence puts wisdom into practical application, how do we motivate people?
I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Reaching the heart - as we grow in prudence, we learn to draw people out and help them make decisions that are righteous; we learn to appeal to their integrity.
The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.
God grants repentance and we don't have to have all the answers. We just need to help people respond to God and they will be responsible for their choices.
How we say it is important?
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
Prudence is accompanied by humility. When we respond based on God's principles of truth from God's word rather than our own opinion, we learn prudence. Never underestimate the power of a gently and quiet spirit.
She was rewarded for her good judgement, righteousness and courage.
God will always work to bring out good out of any situation.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.