SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2011
ABIGAIL: WOMAN OF GOOD CHARACTER
I Sam. 25:18-19: ‘Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread, two wineskins full of wine, five sheep that had been slaughtered, nearly a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys and said to her servants, go on ahead. I will follow you shortly. But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing’.
There is no controversy; some men don’t deserve their wives. Abigail was probably the best woman Nabal could afford, and he got even more than he bargained for when he arranged to marry her. She was beautiful and more suited than he was to manage his wealth. But Nabal took this wife for granted.
Nabal and Abigail are complete opposites in their outward appearances and character. What could have held them together as husband and wife?
David sent his ten young men to this family for provisions in return for the good done to Nabal’s servant when they were together in Carmel: I Sam. 25v7-9: ‘I am told that it is sheep-shearing time. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them. Ask your men, and they will tell you this is true. So would you be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please share any provisions you might have on hand with us and with your friend David. David’s young men gave this message to Nabal in David’s name, and they waited for a reply’.
Nabal true to his name ‘foolish’ responded impudently: who is this fellow David? Nabal sneered at the young men. ‘who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?’ I Sam. 25v10-11.
This action infuriated David. For Nabal returned evil in place of goodness and he was determined as a warrior to wipe out his entire family. He actually set out to accomplish this mission.
But Abigail acted wisely and promptly to save her family from the impending danger. Abigail was an effective counsellor to both of the men in her life, working hard to prevent them from making rash moves. By her swift action and skilful negotiation, she kept David from taking vengeance upon Nabal. She saw the big picture and left plenty of room for God to get involved.
Do you like Abigail, look beyond the present crisis to the big picture? Do you use your skills to promote peace? Are you loyal without being blind? What challenge or responsibility do you face today that needs a person under God’s control?
No doubt Abigail is of a quintessential character, David praised her highly: ‘David replied to Abigail, praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands’ I Sam. 25v32-33.
It is not surprising therefore when foolish Nabal died. David was impressed with her abilities, a woman of character and he married her.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Retreat Centre,