Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 25

“And Samuel died (25:1), and with that brief epitaph, one of the great prophets of the Old Testament and a transitional figure in Israel from the era of the Judges to that of the Kings was gone. Samuel was the last of the judges in Israel, and though he had felt the rejection of the nation, the LORD had assured him, “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee” (1 Samuel 8:7-8).

1 Samuel 25

Sad Tidings: The Prophet Samuel was Dead (1 Samuel 25:1)

A time of national mourning followed Samuel’s death, for “all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah” (25:1b). The news of the prophet’s death moved David to go “down to the wilderness of Paran” (25:1c). Although six hundred men of war accompanied him, Samuel’s death may have left David feeling abandoned, struggling with loneliness, and probably inspired Psalm 142.

 

For this devotion, I invite you to consider three significant characters recorded in 1 Samuel 25. The first was Nabal, a man of great wealth whose wicked character is summed up in the meaning of his name – “Fool” (25:2-3). The second person in this chapter was Abigail, the wife of Nabal, a woman of wisdom and beauty (25:3). Of course, David was the principal character, for he was God’s anointed to be king.

 

David’s Encounter with a Fool Named Nabal (1 Samuel 25:2-11)

King Saul was so focused on his desire to kill David that he neglected to secure the borders of Israel. As a result, the enemies of Israel were a constant threat to the people and their possessions. In the absence of a king who would protect them, David offered to protect the people, and among them was a wealthy man named Nabal. (25:2).

 

David had received news that Nabal was “shearing his sheep in Carmel” (25:2). Having served as Nabal’s protector, David sent his men to collect from him their due for protecting him and his possessions. However, Nabal, described as a “churlish and evil” man (25:3), lived up to his name and insulted David and said, “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master. 11Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?” (25:10-11)

 

When his men told him of Nabal’s insults, David set out with four hundred armed men to exact revenge upon him and his household (25:12-13). When Abigail, Nabal’s wife, learned her husband had railed on David’s men, she realized the imminent danger to her household and hastily gathered supplies to appease him (25:14-18). Knowing the evil character of her husband, Abigail did not tell him she was intervening (25:19), and she set out to meet David (25:20).

Abigail: A Model of Appeasement (1 Samuel 25:18-31)

 

There are several qualities seen in Abigail that are worth noting when encountering an angry man. First, she took the initiative and prepared an “offering” to appease David (25:18-19).  With humility, she interceded for her household and “fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, 24And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid” (25:23-24). She became a mediator for her husband’s sins, even as Christ is a repentant sinner’s Mediator before God (25:28-31; 1 Timothy 2:5).

 

David’s Wrath Appeased (1 Samuel 25:32-35)

 

Abigail’s plea had the desired effect on David, and his heart was softened, and his wrath was appeased (25:32-35). He acknowledged the wise counsel of her words and thanked her for sparing him from an act that would have blotted his reputation in Israel (25:33-34).

 

Nabal’s Death (1 Samuel 25:36-38)

 

Abigail returned home, and the next day she told Nabal those things that had transpired with David. Nabal’s “heart died within him, and he became as a stone” (25:37). Whether stricken by a stroke or a heart attack, “it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died” (25:38).

 

David’s Proposal of Marriage (1 Samuel 25:39-42)

 

When David received the news that Nabal was dead, he sent a messenger who communicated his desire to take her as his wife (25:39-42).

 

Closing thoughts:

 

I close, observing that Nabal serves as a picture of a foolish, unrepentant sinner. Tragically, he was oblivious to the destruction his sin had invited upon himself and his household (25:36-38). Yet, Nabal was a man of noble lineage, for “he was of the house of Caleb” (Caleb being one of two spies who believed the LORD would give Israel the land as He had promised, Numbers 13:30; 14:24, 30; Judges 14:10-13).

 

In contrast, Abigail is a portrait of one who is the object of God’s grace and mercy, for David spared her life, and her faith and appeal for grace saved herself and her household from his wrath (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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