Character study of Abigail, Nabal and David
Anchor Scriptures: 1 Samuel 25:2.42
Teacher: Ayo Adeyemi
Introduction – This bible study really has its roots in a recent prayer focus that we had based on Women of Grace in the bible. One of the sessions focused on the story of Abigail. Out of that prayer, we decided to expand to include the 3 main characters and what we can learn.
We will be looking at the entire chapter, so we will need to move through quickly.
1) Read 1 Samuel 25:2-42
2) Discuss our observations for each of the characters – essentially what stands out?
Let’s start with
- Outwardly beautiful but also of good understanding (NKJV) / sensible (NLT)
o Good understanding = having insight, good judgment, being discerning, wise, astute, sharp
o Proverbs 2: 3-6 If you cry out for discernment and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek for her as silver and search for her as hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God, for the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Also Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord
o So from bible perspective, to get understanding = have the fear of God and find the knowledge of God, then God will show you what to do
o Proverbs 3: 13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understandings for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver and her gain more than fine gold
o This turned out to be true for Abigail
- Stuck in a bad situation. From the outside looking in she was married to a rich man but things are not as they seem; her husband is described as harsh and evil.
o What does this teach us about contentment?
- What do you think about the fact that the servant came and approached Abigail?
o Interestingly the servant verified David’s story (vs 15 -16 they were good to us and were a wall to us). But rather than telling Nabal, he told Abigail instead, since Nabal “was a scoundrel that no one can speak to”
o So, unlike Nabal, she was approachable and someone you can speak to.
o He knew she was wise and capable “therefore now and consider what you will do for harm is determined against our master and all his household”
- What do you think about Abigail’s response
o She immediately knew what to do, she was strong, she did not start wailing, crying or panicking neither did she run to Nabal and start attacking him. She did not even tell him of her plan (discernment)
o She was brave; went out to meet David’s army who was set to destroy them
o She acted in wisdom, she planned a strategy – send the gifts first Proverbs 17:8 A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor, wherever he turns he prospers; she was humble – bowed down before David; she chose her words carefully Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath
o She called a spade a spade ‘Nabal is foolish”. Not to insult him but to be truthful and impartial. She apologized even though she did nothing wrong.
o She gave godly advice! She feared God! Clearly the story of Saul and David was well known as she alluded to it in her speech (vs 29). She recognized David’s position (vs 28 you fight God’s battles and evil is not found in you) and appealed to David’s fear of God (vs 26). She reminded him of God’s plan for him and that so far he had been blameless in the face of unfair treatment. She advised him to continue to wait for God’s vindication as he had been doing (vs 30 – 31)
o She slipped in an appeal for herself – remember me when God lifts you up!
- David recognized she was sent by God to warn him not to avenge himself vs 33 -34
o Can God use us to avert disaster and sin?
- Because of her approach, David heeded her voice and respected her person vs 35
o Proverbs 11:17 A gracious woman retains honor but ruthless man retain riches
- Abigail showed great wisdom when she went back. Waited for when her husband was sober, so the gravity of what could have happened would be clear to him.
o God brought about his solution in His own way and time. Vs 39 God returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head”
- She eventually became a queen.
o David’s proposal to her was more for a covering rather than a sexual arrangement
- Described as very rich; owned 3,000 sheep and a 1000 goats
- He did not have a good reputation. Described as harsh and evil in his doings;
- His workers did not respect him 1 Samuel 25 : 17 ‘he is such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him’ Scoundrel = rogue, degenerate, troublemaker, good for nothing
- What do you think of his response to David’s men?
o Proud and contemptuous to David “who is David and who is the son of Jesse?”
o Mocked and insulted David “there are many servants nowadays who break from his master”(vs 10)
o Rash and without wisdom; he did not even bother to verify the story that David’s men had provided
o Ungrateful, not generous “shall I take my bread and water and my meat and give it men I do not know where they come from” (vs 11)
The enemy knows how to attack you in the areas that you are sensitive. And he will use people who make them available for this work
- Totally oblivious to the danger that he had put his entire household in vs 36
o Proverbs 11:17b He who is cruel troubles his own flesh
- In the end, God dealt with him
o Proverbs 11:19b He who pursues evil pursues it to his own death
- At this point in his life, the whole of Israel knew he had been anointed king to replace Saul, whom God had rejected as king (1 Sam 16:1-2). Both Nabal and Abigail referred to it.
- David was on the run from Saul who was persecuting him and had tried many times to kill him, for no wrong that he had done. In fact, he had saved Israel from Goliath and was even Saul’s son-in-law
o How many times are we in an unfair situation or you are falsely accused, because people are jealous of you?
- In the preceding chapter, it appeared that God had delivered Saul into his hands. His men even quoted scripture to support the idea that David should take vengeance (1 Sam 24:4) . But David spared Saul because he feared God.
o How many times does God deliver your enemy into your hands? And what is your response? Do you obey God or follow after the flesh, or the advice of men?
o When we choose to be gracious, we glorify God (1 Samuel 24:17)
- What do you think of David’s reaction to Nabal’s answer to his request?
o He felt disrespected
o He did not feel valued. After all he and his men had gone out of their way to protect Nabal.
o Felt that Nabal owed them a favor. How many times do we do good and expect the reward from men? This can be a snare
- All of this made him angry and he responded immediately and acted out on his instinct to retaliate. He took 400 men with a plan to wipe out Nabal
o He felt justified in seeking to vindicate himself, after all Nabal had repaid him “evil for good” vs 21
- Now consider that this was a man who in the previous chapter had a chance to kill Saul but feared God and did not take matters in his hands. But here he was not willing to let the same God vindicate and avenge him. (Romans 12:19 do not avenge yourself)
o Is this a test perhaps? A ploy of the enemy to destroy the destiny God had for him? Killing Saul could have cost him the kingdom! Think about this when God has a plan or a promise for you.
o Perhaps that’s why James 1:19 says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Eph 4:26 says in your anger do not sin. PAUSE BEFORE YOU SPEAK
- David listened to correction; he did not sweep her aside because she was a woman.
o Fear of the Lord
o Recognized she was sent by God
o Proverbs 10:17 He who keeps instruction is in the way of life but he who refuses correction goes astray
(1) Let’s aim for inward beauty not just outward beauty
1 Peter 3: 3 -4 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel, rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit
(2) Abigail’s reputation vs Nabal’s. What kind of reputation are we looking to build? Let’s pray for grace to begin to build a godly reputation
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches
(3) Abigail’s qualities – which one do you desire? Ask for it!
- Proverbs 3:15 wisdom and understanding are better than silver or gold
- Proverbs 11:7 Wisdom is the principal thing
- Proverbs 2: 3-6 If we cry out for discernment and understanding, God will answer, for the Lords gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom Proverbs 9:10
Gracious – A gracious woman retains honor Proverbs 11:17
(4) Let’s pray for grace to be “slow to anger” as anger is a snare from the enemy
Proverbs 14:29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding but he who is impulsive exalts folly
Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirs up strife but he who is slow to anger allays contention
(5) Wisdom to wait and not to avenge ourselves
Proverbs 20:22 Do not say “I will recompense evil”; wait for the Lord and He will save you
(6) Pray that the enemy will not find you a profitable instrument to advance his work (Nabal), but rather we would be vessels unto honor, to give godly advice (Abigail)
2 Tim 2:20-21
(7) Pray for the heart to receive correction
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge but he who hates correction is stupid.
Notes prepared by Ayo Adeyemi.