MARRIED TO A FOOL: Abigail and David, Part 1

Throughout the ages, many women have found themselves, whether through arranged marriages or by choice, married to men who might be considered fools... men who are not walking with the Lord...  men who have hardened their hearts to their wives and to the Lord.  The world says, "Well, you deserve to be happy."  Or it tells us that love is the basis for whether a marriage is to continue or not... as if lack of love is a legitimate reason for divorce.  Let me say here if you are divorced for whatever reason, be encouraged that you still have a Husband, and His name is King Jesus.  There is much to be learned from the story of Abigail for all women. 

This study, in particular, is for those women who find themselves in the same plight as Abigail.  Let me encourage you, Dear One, if you don't know what to do, stay where you are.  God has permitted this to happen in your life, in part, to refine you, to sift you, to chip away as a gemstone cutter chips away to make the perfect shaped diamond; but also, for you to be a godly influence to your husband and to those watching.  It's our nature to want to get out of painful situations.  We want to rid ourselves of entanglements.  Perhaps, the Lord saw something in you that needed to be shaken out, needed to be pruned. Stay where you are.  Keep your eyes on your King.  Find your Hiding Place in Him.  Maybe one day the Lord will provide you with freedom or an opportunity as He did Abigail, or maybe He will heal your marriage.  Until then, He will give you the grace and the power that you need on a daily basis.  Run to Him and find that His strength and His grace is all you need.

This study is about Abigail, who was married to a fool.  The study picks up in 1 Samuel 25:

'Then Samuel died; and the Israelites gathered together and lamented for him, and buried him at his home in Ramah.  And David arose and went down to the Wilderness of Paran.  Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich.  He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.  The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife was Abigail.  And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings.  He was of the house of Caleb.  When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, "Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name.  And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: 'Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have!  Now I have heard that you have shearers.  Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel.  Ask your young men, and they will tell you.  Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day.  Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.'"  So when David's young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David, and waited.  Then Nabal answered David's servants, and said, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?  There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master.  Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?"  So David's young men turned on their heels and went back; and they came and told him all those words. Then David said to his men, "Every man gird on  his sword." So every man girded on his sword and David also girded on his sword.  And about four hundred men went with David, and two hundred stayed with the supplies.   (Verses 1-13) NKJV

As always, much can be learned by looking at the Hebrew words and their meanings.  I will be using the Blue Letter Bible Outline of Biblical Usage and Strong's.

The word Maon means "habitation."  It's the same as maown "dwelling, habitation, refuge."

The word translated business is ma'aseh and means "business, labor, occupation."
Carmel  means "garden land, fruitful, plentiful."
The word very is m@'od and means "exceedingly, much, might, force, abundance.  Great, large, magnitude.

Notice Nabal had 3000 sheep and 1000 goats that he was shearing in Carmel.  This guy was extremely rich.

Nabal means "fool." "foolish, senseless, fool."

Abigail means "My father is joy."

It says she was full of good understanding, the word sekel meaning "prudence, insight, understanding, good insight, circumspect, wise."

Abigail was of a beautiful - yapheh "fair, beautiful, goodly, pleasant" countenance - to'ar "shape, form, outline, figure, appearance."

Nabal was harsh - qasheh "hard, cruel, severe, obstinate, fierce, intense, vehement, stubborn, stiff necked, rigorous (of battle)," and evil - ra "evil, bad, disagreeable, malignant," in his doings - ma 'alal "deed, practice (usually bad),"  of the house of  Caleb "dog."

Notice David heard  shama in the wilderness midbar "pasture, uninhabited land, wilderness."  He sent his men to greet Nabal in peace and to tell him he did not hurt them kalam meaning "to put to shame, insult, humiliate, cause shame to, to exhibit shame."  David's men spoke to Nabal without insulting or shaming them and then they waited ruwach "to rest, settle down and remain, to have repose, have rest, be quiet."  David's men needed supplies for the warfare he was in, and Nabal had more than enough.  He was very wealthy.

Nabal answered back, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?"  He didn't know what was going on.  Fools never really know what's really going on.  He asked, "Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?" Nabal had a chance to give from his abundance to the anointed king.

Let's pick up with the rest of the passage beginning with verse 14: 'Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, "Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he reviled them. But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields.  They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep.  Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household.  For he is such a scoundrel, that one cannot speak to him."  Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys.  And she said to her servants, "Go on before me; see, I am coming after you."  But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

Notice David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet Nabal. The word for greet is barak "to bless."  But Nabal reviled iyt "to scream, shriek."  Dear One, have there been times when you may have greeted your husband, simply wanting to bless him, just to have him scream or yell back?  Maybe an innocent piece of conversation has been turned around and used to mean something not at all like what you intended?  Keep reading.

Verse 17 says, "Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household.
The word know is yada and means "to know, learn to know, to perceive and see, find out and discern, to know by experience, to recognize, acknowledge, admit."

The word consider is ra'ah and means "to see, perceive, have vision, look at, regard, look after, see after, learn about, observe, watch, find out, give attention to, discern, distinguish."
Asah is the word for what you will do and means "to do, work, make, produce, deal with, to act with effect."

The next wording that is translated as scoundrel in the NKJV is ben Beliya'al and means "worthless, good for nothing, unprofitable, base fellow, wicked, ruin, destruction." And notice, no one could tell him anything.

Now let's look at Abigail as we continue in verses 18-26  :  'Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed , five sheahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys.  And she said to her servants, "Go on before me' see, I am coming after you."  But she did not tell her husband Nabal.  So it was, as she rode on the donkey, that she went down under cover of the hill; and there were David and his men, coming down toward her, and she met them.  Now David had said, "Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him.  And he has repaid me evil for good.  May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light."  Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David and bowed down to the ground.  So she fell at his feet and said; "On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be!  And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant.  Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal.  For as his name is, so is he: Nabal, is his name, and folly is with him!  But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.  Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD lives and as your soul lives, since the LORD has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal.' (Emphasis mine.)

Continuing with verses 27-31: 'And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.  Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant.  For the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights battles of the LORD, and evil is not found in you throughout your days.  Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out as from the pocket of a sling.  And it shall come to pass, when the LORD has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself.  But when the LORD has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.'

Abigail was not an idle woman.  She sounds like the Proverbs 31 woman.  Even though she was in her own wilderness, married to a fool, she was very productive and prepared. The words in verse 18 indicate work and action. For example, the word for already dressed is asah and means "to do, work, make, produce, accomplish.  The corn had been roasted, the raisins had been dried from grapes––all these things had been prepared.   She was watchful and ready.  She was quite capable.  Yes, she had servants, but she was the one in charge.  She was very hands on.  She may have loaded all the donkeys, herself.  Then she sent her servants before her, and she didn't make this known to her husband.  She was very perceptive.  She came down on the donkey under the cover of the hill.

The word for went down is yarad and means " to go or come down, to sink, to be prostrated.  And the word for cover is cether and means "covering, shelter, hiding place, secrecy.  She was discreet and under the shelter of her hiding place.  When she saw David, she hastened to dismount and took that same prostrate position, falling on her face and bowing to the ground.  She was most humble as she met her king, asking the iniquity of her husband to be on her and confessing her trespasses. Then she  asked if she could speak.   I love the words she spoke in verse 29, "but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling."  God's Word has such beauty and eloquence.  Notice especially the "pocket of a sling." Sound familiar?  She also recognized that the Lord was going to establish David as ruler over Israel.

We'll get to David's response in Part 2.  For now, let's look at verses 36-38: 'Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king.  And Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light.  So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone.  Then it happened, after about ten days, that the LORD struck Nabal, and he died.'

Abigail was in the wilderness of marriage that some of us find ourselves in.  There's not much talking that can be done when someone is in fool mode.  And especially if that someone is intoxicated.  Abigail knew when to keep her mouth shut. As women, sometimes we just want to be heard.  We want our spouse to recognize things, to hear us, to wake up, to see what they are blind to.  But we can't make them see; we can't wake them up.  Only God can.  What God wants us to do is bring it to Him and trust Him and His timing.  Tell Him everything you feel, all your hurts, your fears, and then leave it with Him.  Study what His Word says in 1 Peter 3 about our conduct saying more than words. And remember when it says "likewise" to see what the likewise is refering to.  Study what Proverbs says about answering a fool.  Then, if the occasion presents itself, as it did with Abigail the next morning, talk to your husband.

Dear One, let me say this... Don't take things into your own hands.  Leave this to the Lord.  And be very sure not to agree with the enemy about your spouse.  He may be acting the fool, but he's still your husband, and you are still to show him respect.  His actions don't give you license to disrespect, because it's his position that you are respecting, not the fact that he has earned it.

In Abigail's case, the Lord took Nabal out of her life by death.  Then He gave her her King as her husband.  Dear One, your King is your husband now.  Run to Him and hide there.  Abide in Him and trust Him.  Become very familiar with the few passages that instruct wives––Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3.  The reason there aren't many passages is because everything is covered in these. We are to respect.  Men need respect like women need love.  And our godly conduct speaks more than our words ever could.

It may be that the Lord delivers our husbands here on earth.  It may be that he delivers us from the marriage by death.  But how it plays out in this world is not the end of the story.  What He does in our lives through our sufferings to prepare is for His kingdom is what matters.  How He conforms us to Christ is what matters. Let us find our Hiding Place in Him and trust Him for whatever He allows.


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