Put yourself in Abigail’s place. It will take her character to a new level. Abigail could not have known that she would be the subject of debate: she was living her life . . . and it suddenly got serious.
What power and authority did a woman have in her day: evidently as much as she assumed. Abigail had “earned” the right to step up.
Consider her marriage to Nabal. She was, “…a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings….” (1 Samuel 25:3)
Nabal made a critical mistake from the arrogance of his darkened soul. Jeopardizing the very existence of himself, his wife and household, he disparaged David (cf 1 Samuel 25:10, 11), future king of Israel. A servant revealed the encounter between David’s messengers and Nabal to Abigail, “David sent messengers out of the wilderness to congratulate our master; and he railed on them. But the men [David’s followers] were very good to us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we anything as long as we were conversant with them, …they were a wall of protection by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.” (vs 14-16) Nabal’s reaction and insult so angered David and his men that they were on the way to kill him. (vs 12, 13, 21, 22)
Then Abigail’s servant asked her to do something, “Now therefore know and consider what you will do; for evil is determined against our master, and against his entire household: for he is such a son wickedness that a man cannot speak to him.” (1 Samuel 15:17) Even while he spoke to Abigail, vengeance was on the way.
Acting quickly, she took two hundred loaves, two bottles of wine, five prepared sheep, corn, a hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs. Then she went to David — but did not tell her husband Nabal. (cf 1 Samuel 25:18-19)
She took a calculated risk and went into action on behalf of her husband and household. This was something Nabal had not asked her to do and likely would have forbidden it. As a wife, Abigail “repented” for Nabal’s sin as if it was her own. She said to David, “Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let your handmaid, I pray you, speak in your audience, and hear the words of your handmaid.” (1 Samuel 25:24) But then she said, “Let not my lord, I pray you, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I your handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom you did send….” (v25)
This is where the debate starts. Was Abigail being a good wife when she did something against her husband’s will? Although it saved the whole household, including her pompous husband, was her covert action submissive? Would it have been better if she waited to be told what to do? Was her duty to be perfectly submissive and keep silent? Was Abigail being a good wife when she publicly called him a “man of Belial” and that he was a man of folly? Should she “cover” for him? Lie about his true character? Should she have chosen different words?
Did she act in rebellion?
Should she have asked her husband before making a move?
Did God defend her? Or not?
Besides rescuing her own household (including Nabal) did she also “rescue” David from the sin of taking revenge?
What do you think? Leave your comment
For a good treatment of the topic of Abagail look at this article, A Tale Of Two Abagails, on the Recovering Grace website.