A Fool in His Folly
Author: F. Duane Lindsey
Week of January 25, 2015
1 Samuel 25:1-44
After the death of Samuel (1 Sam. 25:1), David protected the flocks of Nabal, a wealthy herdsman of Maon. When David sent men to collect their wages, Nabal (whose name means “fool”) lived up to his name by refusing payment, even denying that he knew David.
David took 400 men to collect his just wages from Nabal, but he was met on the way by Abigail, Nabal’s wise, intelligent, and beautiful wife. Acting to spare bloodshed, she said, “Nabal. . .is just like his name his name is Fool, and folly goes with him” (v. 25). Abigail confessed Nabal’s wrong action and made restitution to David. She affirmed that “the Lord will certainly make a lasting dynasty” for David “because he fights the Lord’s battles” (v. 28). Using two comparisons (binding valuables in a protective bundle, and hurling a stone from a sling), Abigail affirmed David’s destiny—“the life of [David] will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God. But the lives of your enemies He will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling” (v. 29).
David praised her good judgment and accepted her request and her payment. He told her to “go home in peace” (v. 35). There she found Nabal in a drunken stupor. Later, when she told him all she had done, he apparently became so angry that he had a stroke from which he died ten days later.
David responded to Nabal’s death by ascribing to the Lord the bringing of “Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head” (v. 39). Also he asked Abigail to become his wife, a request to which she responded without delay.
Think it over: An instructive lesson for us is attached to each person in this story. Nabal demonstrated the hardening effect of a morally foolish life. Abigail, by contrast, showed the healing effect of wise and righteous action. And David became the object of God’s loving care by being providentially prevented from taking vengeance on Nabal. We should learn repentance, faith, and patience in adversity from this story.