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Biblical People

Biblical People: Abigail (2)

Abigail is an intelligent and beautiful woman. In contrast, her husband, Nabal, is surly and mean. His servants call him wicked and say he listens to no one. Abigail confirms his name means fool and that folly follows him. Nabal is also wealthy, with thousands of livestock.

David and his men protect Nabal’s herdsmen and flocks, anticipating he will appreciate their efforts and one day reward them. But Nabal disrespects David’s messengers when they ask for food, sending them back empty-handed. Roiling with anger, David desires vengeance and prepares to kill Nabal and his men. 

When wise Abigail hears what happened, she takes immediate action. She prepares great quantities of food to give to David and goes out to meet his advancing army of four hundred. She humbles herself before David, assumes responsibility (while professing her innocence), wins David over, and stops the massacre.

Abigail then affirms her belief that God will give David a lasting dynasty. She asks him to remember her when God gives him success. David accepts her wise words and her provisions. He blesses her.

But Nabal is incensed when he learns what his wife did, 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. However, if their union is for love, Scripture doesn’t mention any affection between the pair. For her part, this is the best way to assure survival. 

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 one son together, named Daniel.

Abigail takes bold action to avoid a massacre. Is there some bold action God wants us to take?

[Discover more about Abigail in 1 Samuel 25, 1 Samuel 27:2–4, 1 Samuel 30:5, and 1 Chronicles 3:1.]


Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and numerous books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.