In this last installment of the Godly Character Series, it seemed appropriate to focus on another woman. We look to the main people of the Bible like Moses, David, and other big names, but this one is great in her own right. Her name is Abigail in I Samuel 25.
We don't know a lot about her background except that she is married to a really obnoxious man named Nabel. He was wealthy with large herds and flocks of animals. One of my guesses is that Abigail was acquired as a wife through a business transaction or conquest. The contrast between her and her husband is huge! She is a very kind woman who was very smart and discerning. He was rude and arrogant, not willing to cooperate with anyone. He also liked to get drunk as it appears from the story. You will soon see why I chose prudence as a godly character trait for her.
David, although anointed as king had not taken the throne yet, was traveling with his men. It was customary at the time to request from someone along the route for food and lodging. There were no fast food places on every corner nor was there the local hotel to park your camel and spend the night. In return, the traveler would do something as a token of gratitude for the help. In other words, I scratched your back, please scratch mine. In this case, David protected Nabal's herdsmen while he and his men grazed their sheep nearby. He did this with the expectation that they would also be able to have something to eat. After all, they were relatives. He sent a couple of his men ahead to greet Nabal and ask for the food.
Nabal, being the fool that his name suggested, in my paraphrase, said, "Who in the world is this David to expect ME to give HIM anything?!?!" He refused to send anything for them and insulted him. David's men rolled their eyes, turning on their heels back, relayed the message to David.
David decided to kill every male in Nabal's household. He had provided protection for his herdsmen for a good amount of time who were vulnerable to robbers and wild animals. Since he was insulted and refused even basics like bread and water, he would give what would have been expected had David and his men not protected them. Please, keep in mind that we should not put today's expectations and customs as the standard on the people in the Bible when we read about ancient times. It sounds awful and cruel, but it was normal at that time in Israel. Nabal was from the tribe of Caleb, those who descended from Caleb who spied out Canaan with Joshua. He and David were relatives who should take care of each other. Nabal didn't, but David was about to. He and his men strapped on their swords to take care of business.
Back at Nabal's place, Abigail got word of what happened. She quickly pulled food together then sent it ahead of her. When she arrived, there were David and his men coming their way with swords ready. She immediately fell at his feet and begged forgiveness on the part of her rude husband. Abigail's prudence was shown here by considering the situation and the consequences, then making things right. Prudence is acting discreetly and wisely in practical affairs, good judgement (Mirriam-Webster). She evidently had a lot of practice with that husband of hers!
David relented by leaving Nabal's group alone. Abigail went home, but waited until the next morning to tell Nabal what she did. Upon hearing this, he had a heart attack and collapsed, dying a few days later. God avenged not only David, but also Abigail. David took her as his wife, giving her a much better life. God blesses those who love and obey Him. That day, they were both blessed.
Other Scripture passages to consider:
Questions to ponder:
1. Since you are the recipient of services or goods when you purchase something, how do you respond when a problem crops up? Did the company fix things and make it right? What was the result?
2. Do you provide goods or services to people in your job? Describe a time when something went wrong. How did you respond to the situation? What were the results?
3. When you see people who are rude, get drunk and/or high, or behave badly what are some of the results you see from their behavior and choices?
4. Have you ever acted rashly in anger because someone was mean or rude to you? What was the result of your actions? How did you feel afterward?
5. When you see people who are able to make wise choices or very aptly turn a bad situation around, what did you think about them? What were the results of their actions?
6. Describe a time when you made a wise decision and acted on it? How about a time when you were able to calm an angry person down, making the situation work well? How did God bless you?
7. In light of the Scripture passage, what changes would you make in your own life? Why?
May God bless you!