The Children's Bible
Abigail's Sensible Advice
hen David went away into the Wilderness of Maon. Now there was a man in Maon, whose property was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats, and he was shearing his sheep at Carmel. His name was Nabal, and his wife's name was Abigail. The woman was sensible and beautiful, but the man was rough and ill-mannered; and he was a Calebite.
When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, he sent ten young men with the command, "Go up to Carmel and enter Nabal's house and greet him in my name. You shall say to him and to his family, 'Peace and prosperity be to you and your family and to all that you have. Now I have heard that you have sheep-shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not insult them, and nothing of theirs was missing all the while they were in Carmel. Ask your young men and they will tell you. Therefore receive my young men favorably, for we have come on a feast-day. Give also whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.'"
When David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal for David as they were told, and then waited. But Nabal answered David's servants, "Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? Many are the slaves these days who break away from their masters! Should I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have prepared for my shearers and give it to men of whom I know nothing?" So when David's young men returned and told him, he said to them, "Let every man put on his sword." So they all put on their swords. David also put on his sword; and about four hundred men followed David, and two hundred stayed with the baggage.
But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, "David has just sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he insulted them. The men have been very good to us and we have not been harmed nor have we missed anything, as long as we were with them in the open country. They were as a wall about us both night and day all the time we were near them guarding the sheep. Now therefore decide what you will do, for evil is planned against our master and against all his household, for he is such an ill-tempered man that no one can say a word to him."
Then Abigail quickly took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five roasted sheep, five baskets of parched grain, a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on asses. She said to her young men, "Go on ahead of me; see, I am coming after you." But she said nothing about it to her husband Nabal. As she was riding on the ass and coming down under cover of a hill, David and his men were coming down toward her, so that she met them. David had just said, "It was in vain that I guarded all that belongs to this fellow in the wilderness, so that nothing of his was missing, for he has returned me evil for good. May God bring a similar judgment upon David and more too, if by daybreak I leave a single man of all those who belong to him."
When Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from her ass and bowed down before him with her face to the ground. As she fell at his feet she said, "Upon me, my lord, upon me be the blame. Only let your servant speak to you, and listen to her words. Let not my lord pay any attention to that mean man Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. 'Fool' is his name and folly rules him. But your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent. Now, my lord, as surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, since Jehovah has kept you from murder and from avenging yourself by your own hand, may your enemies and those who seek to harm my lord be like Nabal. Let this present which your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow him. I beg of you, forgive the wrong done by your servant, for Jehovah will certainly make my lord's family strong, for my lord is fighting for Jehovah, and you shall not be guilty of any evil deed as long as you live. Should a man rise up to pursue you and seek your life, Jehovah your God will care for you, but he will cast away the lives of your enemies as from a sling. When Jehovah has done for you all the good that he has promised and has made you ruler over Israel, you will not have to be sorry that you shed blood without cause or that you were revenged by your own hand. When Jehovah gives prosperity to my lord, then too remember your servant."
David said to Abigail, "Blessed be Jehovah the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your good sense. A blessing on you, who have kept me this day from murder and from avenging myself by my own hand. For as surely as Jehovah the God of Israel lives, who has kept me from doing you harm, unless you had quickly come to meet me, truly by daybreak not one man would have been left to Nabal."
So David received from her all which she had brought him. And he said to her, "Go back in peace to your house. See, I have listened to your advice and granted your request."
When Abigail returned to Nabal, he was holding a feast in his house like a king. He was feeling merry, for he was very drunk; so she told him nothing whatever until daybreak. But in the morning, when the effects of the wine were gone, his wife told him what she had done. Then his heart stopped beating and he became like a stone. About ten days later he had a stroke from which he died.
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, "Thanks be to Jehovah who has punished Nabal's insult to me and has kept me from doing wrong, for Jehovah has visited Nabal's crime upon his own head."
Then David sent to ask Abigail to become his wife. When his servants came to her at Carmel and said, "David has sent us to you to take you to him to be his wife," she rose and bowed her face to the earth and said, "See, your slave is willing to be even a servant to wash the feet of my lord's servants." Then Abigail quickly rose and mounted an ass; and five of her maids followed as servants. So she went with the messengers of David, and became his wife.