Saturday, February 18, 2017

Abigail


Women In The Days Of The Kings
Abigail

Abigail: The Woman With Beauty and Brains.

Key Scripture: 1 Samuel 25:1-42; 2 Samuel 3:3

Her Name Means: "Whose father is joy."

Her Character: Generous, wise, and of a beautiful countenance. She was meek and quiet spirit.

Her Strengths: Abigail’s wisdom and common sense turned a potentially explosive situation around.

Her Sorrow: To have been mismatched in marriage to her first husband.

Her Joy: That God used her to save lives, eventually making her the wife of David.

Pre-Story: Abigail's story begins during the time that David was running from the mad and murderous King Saul. Abigail was the second of five children and she was song of her father’s heart.

Her Story: She became the wife of a man named Nabal, a rich fool. Her marriage gave her considerable social standing, judging by the fact that she had five maidservants. They lived in a town called Maon. The difference in personality between Nabal and his wife are pronounced. She is both beautiful and intelligent. Her husband is "surly and mean." Coincidentally, the name Nabal means ("fool"). More than likely their marriage was the result of an arranged marriage.

Because of Saul’s hatred, David was an outlaw and lived in the strongholds of the hills with his loyal band of followers. Having often helped Nabal’s herdsmen out, David sends 10 men to greet him and request provisions. "And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David?" (1 Samuel 25:10). His question "Who is this David?" provides an immediate insult. Nabal's response infuriates David who immediately orders two-thirds of his army to strap on their swords and prepare for battle.

One of the young men inform Abigail of the events, and she understands this is a crisis. Immediately she mounts an effort to avoid an unnecessary catastrophe. "Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys." (1 Samuel 25:18). "And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal." (1 Samuel 25:19).

Recognizing who David is, Abigail immediately dismounts from her donkey and offers the bow of greatest humility, prostrates herself at David's feet. She ask David to disregard the words and actions of her husband. Abigail follows with a blessing on David, which is a condemnation of all enemies in the future. "And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;" (1 Samuel 25:30). So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, "Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person." (1 Samuel 25:35).

The next morning, once Nabal regains his sobriety, Abigail recounts the events of the previous day. Apparently, the stress of his foolishness, which nearly brought death to him at the hand of David, becomes too great. The description of his heart failing and becoming like a stone is probably what we would call a heart attack or stroke. He lingers for 10 days, and then dies.

Wasting no time, David begins the negotiations for Abigail to become his wife. Following the custom of sending an intermediary, David sends his servants. However, they aren't really asking; she is expected to accept. She does, with great humility. Abigail doesn't delay in going to David. There appears to be no lengthy time of putting the household in order or taking care of business. With her five maids, Abigail became David's third wife.

By David, she had a son named Chileab, or Daniel. We do not know the rest of the story. Becoming David's wife definitely provides a change. Instead of living in an established home in one location, Abigail now becomes part of a group who move from place to place avoiding the forces of Saul. She protected both her current husband and the man who later would become her husband. Abigail seized the information given, understood what needed to be done, and then did it.

Her Place in God's Divine Plan: Abigail shares an understanding of God's purpose and future status of David. By following God’s known will, God used her actions to accomplish His purposes. Abigail stopped David from making a disastrous decision that would have altered the course of his life. The throne of David, descendant of Judah, will come to the Messiah (Jesus).

Her Challenges Along the Way: Being married to one whose ways were very evil.

Her Victories: Abigail was truly a wise woman. By her quick actions and her humble spirit in speaking to David, she was able to avert tragedy for her household.

Lesson We Can Learn from Her Legacy: Abigail's example points to the importance of the words chosen when speaking in tense situations. Will we respond to the angry person positively or negatively? Harsh, loud words may become the catalyst to an unnecessary explosion. They may drive individuals to actions which will be regretted later. In contrast we see how calm, carefully calculated words can lead to a peaceful parting or solution. This lesson's golden text deserves careful attention: "A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger" (Proverbs 15:1). When we use a soft answer, wrath is turned away, anger is silenced. These negative emotions or attitudes cannot burn without fuel to feed them.

Genealogy:
Born: 1039 BC
Spouse: Nabal · David
Children: Chileab (Son)


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