In the time after Samuel anoints David, but before Bathsheba, David’s on the run, hiding from the murderous intent of King Saul. It’s at this point that David encounters Abigail.
Abigail is an intelligent, beautiful woman. Her husband, Nabal, lacks these traits. He’s surly and mean. His servants call him wicked and say he listens to no one. Abigail agrees.
She confirms his name means fool and says that folly follows him. Despite this, Nabal is also wealthy, with thousands of goats and sheep.
David and his men decide to protect Nabal’s herdsmen and flocks, anticipating he will appreciate their efforts and one day reward them. But Nabal disrespects David’s emissaries when they ask for food; he sends them away empty-handed.
Boiling with anger, David plans to retaliate. He intends to kill Nabal and his men.
When the astute Abigail hears what happened, she acts without delay. She prepares food for David and his men. She meets his advancing army of four hundred. She humbles herself before him, assumes responsibility (while professing her innocence), wins David over, and stops the massacre.
Abigail confirms that she believes God will provide David with a lasting dynasty. She asks him to remember her when God gives him success. David accepts her words and her provisions. He blesses her.
Nabal roils with anger when he learns what his wife did. He has a stroke and later dies. David receives this news with glee, seeing it as God’s vengeance on his behalf.
David sends for Abigail so he can marry her. This may be David fulfilling her request when they first met or an honorable act to provide for her.
This takes place while David is on the run, so her new lifestyle is not an easy one. At one point, Abigail is captured, along with the rest of the families of David’s men, but he rescues her. She and David have at least one son: Kileab (also called Daniel).
What we best remember about Abigail, however, is the bold action she took to avoid a massacre.
What bold step does God want us to take? How can our actions and our words bring about peace and prevent discord?
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.