Thursday 27 October, 2016

1 Samuel 25:1-43

25 When Samuel died, the whole nation of Israel gathered together. They were filled with sorrow because he was dead. They buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David went down into the Desert of Paran. 2 A certain man in Maon was very wealthy. He owned property there at Carmel. He had 1,000 goats and 3,000 sheep. He was clipping the wool off the sheep in Carmel. 3 His name was Nabal. His wife’s name was Abigail. She was a wise and beautiful woman. But her husband was rude and mean in the way he treated others. He was from the family of Caleb. 4 David was staying in the Desert of Paran. While he was there, he heard that Nabal was clipping the wool off his sheep. 5 So he sent for ten young men. He said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel. Greet him for me. 6 Say to him, ‘May you live a long time! May everything go well with you and your family! And may things go well with everything that belongs to you! 7 “ ‘I hear that you are clipping the wool off your sheep. When your shepherds were with us, we treated them well. The whole time they were at Carmel nothing that belonged to them was stolen. 8 Ask your own servants. They’ll tell you. We’ve come to you now at a happy time of the year. Please be kind to my men. Please give me and my men anything you can find for us.’ ” 9 When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal the message from David. Then they waited. 10 Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are running away from their masters these days. 11 Why should I give away my bread and water? Why should I give away the meat I’ve prepared for those who clip the wool off my sheep? Why should I give food to men who come from who knows where?” 12 So David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported to David every word Nabal had spoken. 13 David said to his men, “Each of you put on your swords!” So they did. David put his sword on too. About 400 men went up with David. Two hundred men stayed behind with the supplies. 14 One of the servants warned Abigail, Nabal’s wife. He said, “David sent some messengers from the desert to give his greetings to our master. But Nabal shouted at them and was rude to them. 15 David’s men had been very good to us. They treated us well. The whole time we were near them out in the fields, nothing was stolen. 16 We were taking care of our sheep near them. During that time, they were like a wall around us night and day. They kept us safe. 17 Now think it over. See what you can do. Horrible trouble will soon come to our master and his whole family. He’s such an evil man that no one can even talk to him.” 18 Abigail didn’t waste any time. She got 200 loaves of bread and two bottles of wine. The bottles were made out of animal skins. She got five sheep that were ready to be cooked. She got a bushel of grain that had been cooked. She got 100 raisin cakes. And she got 200 cakes of pressed figs. She loaded all of it on the backs of donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead. I’ll follow you.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal about it. 20 Abigail rode her donkey into a mountain valley. There she saw David and his men. They were coming down toward her. 21 David had just said, “Everything we’ve done hasn’t been worth a thing! I watched over that fellow’s property in the desert. I made sure none of it was stolen. But he has paid me back evil for good. 22 I won’t leave even one of his men alive until morning. If I do, may God punish me greatly!” 23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey. She bowed down in front of David with her face toward the ground. 24 She fell at his feet. She said, “Pardon your servant, sir. Please let me speak to you. Listen to what I’m saying. Let me take the blame myself. 25 Please don’t pay any attention to that evil man Nabal. His name means Foolish Person. And that’s exactly what he is. He’s always doing foolish things. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to see the men you sent. 26 Sir, the Lord has kept you from killing Nabal and his men. He has kept you from using your own hands to get even. So may what’s about to happen to Nabal happen to all your enemies. May it happen to everyone who wants to harm you. And may it happen just as surely as the Lord your God and you are alive. 27 I’ve brought a gift for you. Give it to the men who follow you. 28 “Please forgive me if I shouldn’t have done that. The Lord your God will certainly give you and your family line a kingdom that will last. That’s because you fight the Lord’s battles. You won’t do anything wrong as long as you live. 29 Someone may chase you and try to kill you. But the Lord your God will keep your life safe like a treasure hidden in a bag. And he’ll destroy your enemies. Their lives will be thrown away, just as a stone is thrown from a sling. 30 The Lord will do for you every good thing he promised to do. He’ll appoint you ruler over Israel. 31 When that happens, you won’t have this heavy load on your mind. You won’t have to worry about how you killed people without any reason. You won’t have to worry about how you got even. The Lord your God will give you success. When that happens, please remember me.” 32 David said to Abigail, “Give praise to the Lord. He is the God of Israel. He has sent you today to find me. 33 May the Lord bless you for what you have done. You have shown a lot of good sense. You have kept me from killing Nabal and his men this day. You have kept me from using my own hands to get even. 34 It’s a good thing you came quickly to meet me. If you hadn’t come, not one of Nabal’s men would have been left alive by sunrise. And that’s just as sure as the Lord, the God of Israel, is alive. He has kept me from harming you.” 35 Then David accepted from her what she had brought him. He said, “Go home in peace. I’ve heard your words. I’ll do what you have asked.” 36 Abigail went back to Nabal. He was having a dinner party in the house. It was the kind of dinner a king would have. He had been drinking too much wine. He was very drunk. So she didn’t tell him anything at all until sunrise. 37 The next morning Nabal wasn’t drunk anymore. Then his wife told him everything. When she did, his heart grew weak. He became like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal down. And he died. 39 David heard that Nabal was dead. So he said, “Give praise to the Lord. Nabal was rude to me. But the Lord stood up for me. He has kept me from doing something wrong. He has paid Nabal back for the wrong things he did.” Then David sent a message to Abigail. He asked her to become his wife. 40 His servants went to Carmel. They said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you. He wants you to come back with us and become his wife.” 41 Abigail bowed down with her face toward the ground. She said, “I am your servant. I’m ready to serve him. I’m ready to wash the feet of his servants.” 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and went with David’s messengers. Her five female servants went with her. She became David’s wife. 43 David had also married Ahinoam from Jezreel. Both of them became his wives.

What an interesting story in the midst of Saul’s pursuit of David. Samuel – the Man of God dies & Israel mourns. Then we have contrasts between graciousness & selfishness; generosity & meanness; wisdom & folly. In it all Abigail shines as a woman of reason, wisdom, graciousness & the mediator of peace. She knows David’s story, the destiny that God has for him & she saves him from killing outside of war.

I am impressed with this woman. I see in her courage, insight, diplomacy & the presence of mind to know what to do in a bad situation. I see her Christ-like nature, her heart after God, her servant heart – willing to wash feet, a bringer of grace & peace, and generous. A woman to aspire to be like.

Father, thank you for this story, this woman’s story to encourage me today. May I grow to be more like her Christ-likeness. Amen.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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