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Bible Study – Nabal and Abigail

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Life Lessons from Nabal and Abigail

Some Bible scholars call this couple – The Beauty and the Beast. Nabal was rude and mean while Abigail was kind and caring. The name Nabal means fool or foolish. The name Abigail means father’s delight or joy. The meaning of their names – describe them. Nabal is an ungodly man but Abigail is a Godly woman. In this story we learn about what happens when two people are unequally yoked together.

Nabal’s Refusal

Nabal was a wealthy man and David, who is on the run from King Saul because he is trying to kill him, has asked this wealthy man for food for his men and himself.

Read 1 Samuel 25:2-11 and then fill in the missing words from the following Scriptures (New International Version of the Bible was used):

NOTE: Click inside the input box and type your answer. If you want to print the page after answering the questions, the answers you have entered will be visible when printed. However, when you leave the page the answers are deleted.

  1. A certain in Maon, who had there at Carmel, was very . (1 Samuel 25:2)

  2. His name was and his wife’s name was . She was an and woman, but her , a Calebite, was and in his dealings. (1 Samuel 25:3)

  3. While David was in the desert, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. So he sent ten young men and said to them, "Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name."

  4. Say to him: "Long to you! Good to you and your ! And good health to that is yours! (1 Samuel 25:6)

  5. Now I hear that it is time. When your were with us, we did not them, and the whole they were at Carmel of theirs was missing. (1 Samuel 25:7)

  6. Ask your servants and they will you. Therefore be toward my young , since we come at a time. Please give your and your son whatever you can for them." (1 Samuel 25:8)

  7. When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited.

  8. Nabal answered David’s , "Who is this ? Who is this of Jesse? Many are breaking away from their these days. (1 Samuel 25:10)

  9. Why should I take my and , and the I have slaughtered for shearers, and give it to coming from who knows ?" (1 Samuel 25:11)

Reflective Thoughts ...

Nabal, being a wealthy man, could have easily given David and his men some food but he refused to do so. Even though David reached out to Nabal with a blessing of goodwill through the message he sent to him by his men; Nabal shows nothing but contempt for David and his men. Nabal apparently did not know that it was more blessed to give than to receive. He did not do anything that would bring a blessing back to himself, actually quite the opposite.

David’s Reaction

Read 1 Samuel 25:12-13 and then fill in the missing words from the following Scriptures (New International Version of the Bible was used):

  1. David’s turned around and went . When they , they reported word. (1 Samuel 25:12)

  2. David to his men, " on your !" So they on their swords, and David on his. About hundred men when up with ..." (1 Samuel 25:13)

Reflective Thoughts ...

David had sent a blessing of goodwill to Nabal through the message he sent to him by his men but Nabal in return was very insulting to David and his men. This makes David angry and he is about to react to this insult out of his anger. David had a right to be angry but the Word of God tells us to be angry and sin not (See Ephesians 4:26) and to not repay evil for evil (See 1 Thessalonians 5:15). God knows things will happen that make us angry but we must not let the wrong that has been done to us cause us to commit sin. We need to cast all of our cares on Jesus. (See 1 Peter 5:7).

A Servant’s Warning

Read 1 Samuel 25:14-17 and then fill in the missing words from the following Scriptures (New International Version of the Bible was used):

One of the servants told Nabal’s wife Abigail ...

  1. "David sent from the desert to our master his , but he hurled at them. (1 Samuel 25:14)

  2. Yet these were very to us. They did not us, and the whole we were out in the fields them nothing was . (1 Samuel 25:15)
  3. Night and day they were a around us all the we were our sheep near them. (1 Samuel 25:16)
  4. Now it over and what you can , because disaster is over our and his whole . He is such a man that no one can with him." (1 Samuel 25:17)

Reflective Thoughts ...

Nabal’s servant is concerned that what Nabal has done could possibly bring trouble to him and his household. So he goes immediately to Abigail for help. It appears that he trusts her to do something about what her husband has done. He knows trying to talk with Nabal is of no use but someone has to do something. The actions of an ungodly man can bring harm upon himself and his household. Galatians 6:7 tells us that a man will reap what he sows. So his servant has a good reason to be concerned. Nabal has sown bad seeds that will have to be reaped.

Abigail’s Reaction

Read 1 Samuel 25:18-19 and then fill in the missing words from the following Scriptures (New International Version of the Bible was used):

  1. Abigail lost no . She took two hundred loaves of , two skins of , five dressed , five seahs of roasted , a hundred cakes of and two hundred cakes of pressed , and loaded on donkeys. (1 Samuel 25:18)

  2. Then she told her , "Go on ahead; I’ll you." But she did not her husband Nabal. (1 Samuel 25:19)

Reflective Thoughts ...

This is probably not the first time Abigail has had to do something to compensate for her husband’s rude and mean dealings with others. She knows exactly what to do and she gets busy doing it. The servants are willing to help her once again save them from a situation her husband has put them in. A Godly woman who is married to an ungodly man has to learn to be a peacemaker. A man is suppose to protect his family and not put them in harm’s way but an ungodly man does not know how to do this.

David’s Resolve

Read 1 Samuel 25:21-22 and then fill in the missing words from the following Scriptures (New International Version of the Bible was used):

  1. David says: "It’s been – all my over this fellow’s in the desert so that of his was missing. He has me back for good. (1 Samuel 25:21)

  2. May God with David, be it ever so , if by morning I alive one male of all who to him!" (1 Samuel 25:22)

Reflective Thoughts ...

David thinks he is justified in taking revenge on Nabal because he has repaid evil to David for the good that David did for him. He even thinks God wants him to do this. But his thinking is confused. In Romans 12:19 we are told: "Dearly Beloved, avenge not yourselves ... Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord." And since the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) that is what He would have wanted David to know. God would take care of it; David just needed to put it all in His Hands.

Abigail Meets David

Read 1 Samuel 25:23-31 and then fill in the missing words from the following Scriptures (New International Version of the Bible was used):

  1. When Abigail saw David, she got off her donkey and down before David with her face to the . (1 Samuel 25:23)

  2. She at his feet and said: "My lord, let the be on me . Please let your servant to you; hear what your servant has to . (1 Samuel 25:24)

  3. May my lord pay no to that wicked man . He is just his name – his name is Fool, and folly with him. But as for , your servant, I did not the men my master . (1 Samuel 25:25)

  4. Now since the has kept you, my master, bloodshed and avenging with your own hands, as surely as the Lord and as you live, may your enemies and who intend to harm my master be Nabal. (1 Samuel 25:26)

  5. And let this , which your servant has to my master, be to the men who you. (1 Samuel 25:27)

  6. Please your servant’s offense, for the will certainly make a dynasty for my master, because he the Lord's battles. Let no be found in you as as you live. (1 Samuel 25:28)

  7. Even though someone is you to take your , the life of my master will be securely in the bundle of the by the Lord God. But the lives of your enemies he will away as from the pocket of a . (1 Samuel 25:29)

  8. When the has done for my master every good thing he concerning him and has appointed him over Israel, my master will not have on his the staggering burden of bloodshed or of having avenged . And when the Lord has my master success, your servant." (1 Samuel 25:30-31)

Reflective Thoughts ...

Abigail quickly finds David and is able to make peace with him and soothe away his anger. She reminds him of the good plans that God has for him and that he should not allow Nabal’s foolishness to cause him to do something he will regret later. Abigail must know all about this firsthand for herself. Abigail is a Godly woman who has been living with this ungodly man’s foolishness every since she married him. So she must have had to remind herself many times of not allowing Nabal’s rude and mean behavior to cause her to be less that God intended for her to be. A person who is married to an ungodly spouse has a great burden to bear. Abigail’s marriage may have been an arranged marriage as a lot of the marriages were in earlier times. Parents thought that if their daughters married wealthy men they would be well taken care of but they must not have considered the consequences of what it would be like for a believer to be unequally yoked together with an unbeliever. But Abigail has honored her marriage even though it was probably very trying at times. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 tells us: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" This is good advice for everyone in all situations, not just marriage.

David’s Gratitude to God and to Abigail

Read 1 Samuel 25:32-35 and then fill in the missing words from the following Scriptures (New International Version of the Bible was used):

  1. David to Abigail, "Praise be to the , the God of Israel, who has you today to me. (1 Samuel 25:32)

  2. May you be for your good and for keeping from bloodshed this day and from avenging with my own . (1 Samuel 25:33)

  3. Otherwise, as as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has me from you, if you had not come to meet me, not one male belonging to would have been left by daybreak." (1 Samuel 25:34)

  4. Then David from her hand what she had him and said, "Go home in . I have your words and granted your ." (1 Samuel 25:35)

Reflective Thoughts ...

Because Abigail was a Godly woman, she was willing to do what she could to stop David from doing something wrong because of Nabal’s foolishness. David recognizes that it is God who has sent Abigail to stop him from doing something he would have regretted later. He is grateful to her for coming to him and making him realize he is doing something out of anger and not what God would have had him to do. God will always try to stop us from doing what is wrong because our thinking has become confused due to what has happened to us. When we have been wronged, we must give the whole matter to God and let Him take care of it in His time and in His way.

Abigail Returns Home

Read 1 Samuel 25:36-39 and then fill in the missing words from the following Scriptures (New International Version of the Bible was used):

  1. When Abigail went to , he was in the house holding a like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very . So she told him until daybreak. (1 Samuel 25:36)

  2. Then in the , when Nabal was , his wife him all these things, and his failed him and he like a stone. (1 Samuel 25:37)

  3. About days later, the Lord Nabal and he . (1 Samuel 25:38)

  4. When David that Nabal was , he said, "Praise be to the , who has upheld cause against Nabal for me with contempt. He has kept me from doing and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing on his own head." (1 Samuel 25:39)

Reflective Thoughts ...

Nabal probably became very angry when he heard that his wife, Abigail, had taken lots of food and wine to David and his men. And this could have caused a bad reaction in his physical body. Some Bible scholars think Nabal had a stroke. God has allowed Nabal’s wrongdoing to come down upon his own head. Nabal was not merciful to others but God would have been merciful to him and given him an opportunity to repent before he took his final breath. But we don’t know whether he took advantage of that opportunity or not. God is merciful because it is not His Will that anyone should perish but the choice is up to each individual.

People can live a life of being kind to others and reap the benefits. Or they could live a life of being unkind to others and reap the consequences. God tells us in Deuteronomy 30:19 that the choice is ours: life and blessings or death and curse. Nabal had gained the whole world but lost his soul. (See Mark 8:36). He had been wealthy with worldly good but chose to be a wicked man. He didn’t seem to know that a good name was rather to be chosen that silver or gold. (See Proverbs 22:1). God tells us in Galatians 6:7 that He will not be mocked: whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Nabal chose to live a life of wickedness and then he had to reap the consequences of his choice.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline."
Proverbs 1:7 NIV

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