1 Samuel 25

1 Samuel died; and all Israel gathered themselves together, and mourned for him, and buried him at his house at Ramah. Then David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran. 2 There was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats; and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail. This woman was intelligent and had a beautiful face; but the man was surly and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb. 4 David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. 5 David sent ten young men, and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. 6 Tell him, ‘Long life to you! Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds have now been with us, and we didn’t harm them, neither was there anything missing from them, all the while they were in Carmel. 8 Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let the young men find favor in your eyes; for we come on a good day. Please give whatever comes to your hand, to your servants, and to your son David.’” 9 When David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal all those words in the name of David, and waited. 10 Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants who break away from their masters these days. 11 Shall I then take my bread, my water, and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men who I don’t know where they come from?” 12 So David’s young men turned on their way, and went back, and came and told him all these words. 13 David said to his men, “Every man put on his sword!” Every man put on his sword. David also put on his sword. About four hundred men followed David, and two hundred stayed by the baggage. 14 But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master; and he insulted them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not harmed, and we didn’t miss anything, as long as we went with them, when we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore know and consider what you will do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his house; for he is such a worthless fellow that one can’t speak to him.” 18 Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves of bread, two bottles of wine, five sheep ready dressed, five seahs of parched grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys. 19 She said to her young men, “Go on before me. Behold, I am coming after you.” But she didn’t tell her husband, Nabal. 20 As she rode on her donkey, and came down by the covert of the mountain, that behold, David and his men came down towards her, and she met them. 21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained to him. He has returned me evil for good. 22 God do so to the enemies of David, and more also, if I leave of all that belongs to him by the morning light so much as one who urinates on a wall.” 23 When Abigail saw David, she hurried and got off of her donkey, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet, and said, “On me, my lord, on me be the blame! Please let your servant speak in your ears. Hear the words of your servant. 25 Please don’t let my lord pay attention to this worthless fellow, Nabal; for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I, your servant, didn’t see my lord’s young men, whom you sent. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives, and as your soul lives, since the LORD has withheld you from blood guiltiness, and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now therefore let your enemies, and those who seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. 27 Now this present which your servant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord fights the LORD’s battles. Evil will not be found in you all your days. 29 Though men may rise up to pursue you, and to seek your soul, yet the soul of my lord will be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD your God. He will sling out the souls of your enemies, as from the hollow of a sling. 30 It will come to pass, when the LORD has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel, 31 that this shall be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. When the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.” 32 David said to Abigail, “Blessed is the LORD, the God of Israel, who sent you today to meet me! 33 Blessed is your discretion, and blessed are you, who have kept me today from blood guiltiness, and from avenging myself with my own hand. 34 For indeed, as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has withheld me from harming you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely there wouldn’t have been left to Nabal by the morning light so much as one who urinates on a wall.” 35 So David received from her hand that which she had brought him. Then he said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. Behold, I have listened to your voice, and have granted your request.” 36 Abigail came to Nabal; and behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk. Therefore she told him nothing, until the morning light. 37 In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. 38 About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal, so that he died. 39 When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed is the LORD, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from evil. The LORD has returned the evildoing of Nabal on his own head.” David sent and spoke concerning Abigail, to take her to himself as wife. 40 When David’s servants had come to Abigail to Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, “David has sent us to you, to take you to him as wife.” 41 She arose, and bowed herself with her face to the earth, and said, “Behold, your servant is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42 Abigail hurried, and arose, and rode on a donkey, with five ladies of hers who followed her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife. 43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they both became his wives. 44 Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verse 1

All Israel lamented Samuel, and they had reason. He prayed daily for them. Those have hard hearts, who can bury faithful ministers without grief; who do not feel their loss of those who have prayed for them, and taught them the way of the Lord.

Verses 2–11

We should not have heard of Nabal, if nothing had passed between him and David. Observe his name, Nabal, “A fool;” so it signifies. Riches make men look great in the eye of the world; but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He had no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, and ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a man that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a man as David suffers want!, David pleaded the kindness Nabal’s shepherds had received. Considering that David’s men were in distress and debt, and discontented, and the scarcity of provisions, it was by good management that they were kept from plundering. Nabal went into a passion, as covetous men are apt to do, when asked for any thing, thinking thus to cover one sin with another; and, by abusing the poor, to excuse themselves from relieving them. But God will not thus be mocked. Let this help us to bear reproaches and misrepresentations with patience and cheerfulness, and make us easy under them; it has often been the lot of the excellent ones of the earth. Nabal insists much on the property he had in the provisions of his table. May he not do what he will with his own? We mistake, if we think we are absolute lords of what we have, and may do what we please with it. No; we are but stewards, and must use it as we are directed, remembering it is not our own, but His who intrusted us with it.

Verses 12–17

God is kind to the evil and unthankful, and why may not we be so? David determined to destroy Nabal, and all that belonged to him. Is this thy voice, O David? Has he been so long in the school of affliction, where he should have learned patience, and yet is so passionate? He at other times was calm and considerate, but is put into such a heat by a few hard words, that he seeks to destroy a whole family. What are the best of men, when God leaves them to themselves, that they may know what is in their hearts? What need to pray, Lord, lead us not into temptation!

Verses 18–31

By a present Abigail atoned for Nabal’s denial of David’s request. Her behaviour was very submissive. Yielding pacifies great offences. She puts herself in the place of a penitent, and of a petitioner. She could not excuse her husband’s conduct. She depends not upon her own reasonings, but on God’s grace, to soften David, and expects that grace would work powerfully. She says that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and despicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him no kindness, so he could do him no hurt. She foretells the glorious end of David’s present troubles. God will preserve thy life; therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take away the lives of any, especially of the people of thy God and Saviour. Abigail keeps this argument for the last, as very powerful with so good a man; that the less he indulged his passion, the more he consulted his peace and the repose of his own conscience. Many have done that in a heat, which they have a thousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge is soon turned into bitterness. When tempted to sin, we should consider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards.

Verses 32–39

David gives God thanks for sending him this happy check in a sinful way. Whoever meet us with counsel, direction, comfort, caution, or seasonable reproof, we must see God sending them. We ought to be very thankful for those happy providences which are the means of keeping us from sinning. Most people think it enough, if they take reproof patiently; but few will take it thankfully, and commend those who give it, and accept it as a favour. The nearer we are to committing sin, the greater is the mercy of a seasonable restraint. Sinners are often most secure when most in danger. He was very drunk. A sign he was Nabal, a fool, that could not use plenty without abusing it; who could not be pleasant with his friends without making a beast of himself. There is not a surer sign that a man has but little wisdom, nor a surer way to destroy the little he has, than drinking to excess. Next morning, how he is changed! His heart overnight merry with wine, next morning heavy as a stone; so deceitful are carnal pleasures, so soon passes the laughter of the fool; the end of that mirth is heaviness. Drunkards are sad, when they reflect upon their own folly. About ten days after, the Lord smote Nabal, that he died. David blessed God that he had been kept from killing Nabal. Worldly sorrow, mortified pride, and an affrighted conscience, sometimes end the joys of the sensualist, and separate the covetous man from his wealth; but, whatever the weapon, the Lord smites men with death when it pleases him.

Verses 39–44

Abigail believed that David would be king over Israel, and greatly esteemed his pious and excellent character. She deemed his proposal of marriage honourable, and advantageous to her, notwithstanding his present difficulties. With great humility, and doubtless agreeably to the customs of those times, she consented, being willing to share his trails. Thus those who join themselves to Christ, must be willing now to suffer with him, believing that hereafter they shall reign with him.

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