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Abigails Sensible Advice

Then 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.

Next: Making The Best Of Trouble

Previous: A Soldier Who Spared His Enemy

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