There are many things that are within 1 Samuel. The information is confined and in an order that is understandable. However, why was chapter 25 included by the author? Does it have a significant meaning other than David falling in love? Could it apply to us in today’s society as well? What does it mean that Nabal’s “heart heart dies within him, and he became as stone”? I plan to clarify these questions in this blog.
This chapter starts out as very clear. We find out really quickly that Nabal is more than likely bipolar. We also find out that Abigail is “discerning and beautiful.” The Bible, according to, http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/0925.htm, only calls two other women, Rachel and Ester, wise and beautiful. Being considered a wise woman in the Old Testament is defiantly something to be proud of.
According to http://www.sheknows.com/baby-names/name/abigail , the name Abigail in Hebrew means “The name Abigail is a Biblical baby name. In Biblical the meaning of the name Abigail is:The father’s joy.” Since this chapter in 1 Samuel shows us she is aware of God’s presence with David, “Father’s Joy” could be referring to the Hebrew’s father, God.
Now, back to the “harsh and badly behaved” man we know as, Nabal. According to, http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/nabal/ , Nabal means “foolish” in Hebrew. Chapter 25 shows us how foolish he can be. The ancient Hebrew’s often reffered to how a person acts by certain names. So, if you are ever called a “Nabal”, I would take some sort of offense to it. http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/0925.htm . According to, http://www.behindthename.com/name/david , the Hebrew meaning of David is, “beloved”.
So, why is chapter 25 necessary? Well, I am sure there is a plethora of reasons why this chapter is included. However, knowing some of the ancient Hebrew background, one can determine it is to see how NOT to act. According to an article by Matthew Henry, http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?b=9&c=25&com=mhc :
“We should not have heard of Nabal, if nothing had passed between him and David. Observe his name, Nabal, “A fool;” so it signifies. Riches make men look great in the eye of the world; but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He had no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, and ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a man that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a man as David suffers want!”
We can see here that, yes, Nabal would have been just another person living in ancient times, if David did not cross paths with him. But, this does not answer the question. Why was this chapter included? We know David falls in love, but that is not a good enough reason to devote a whole chapter to a dysfunctional previous marriage. The Hebrew’s were wanting the people reading this not to make the mistake that David almost did. Matthew Henry, http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?b=9&c=25&com=mhc , brings up great points further into his article. “Why was David so determined to destroy Nabal?” We see that God comes through for David and he is awarded, not only Abigail as a wife, but two others as well. The lesson here that the ancient writers are wanting the people to never forget is, God will take care of you and matters should never be taken into your own hands.
What is the significant meaning of:
“And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, 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. So she told him nothing at all until the morning light. In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And about ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.”— 1 Samuel 25: 36-38
According to an article by Doug Ward, http://www.godward.org/archives/Special%20Articles/bf%20nabal—the%20ultimate%20fool2.htm , that the actual meaning of his death is nothing but a mere heart attack that later killed him. “God” striking Nabal could be how the Hebrew’s see natural freak accidents. We learn that he drank often and ate a lot due to his wealth. His lifestyles could have finally caught up with him.
Or, also according to Doug Ward, http://www.godward.org/archives/Special%20Articles/bf%20nabal—the%20ultimate%20fool2.htm , he brings up the Pharaoh of Exodus and how anyone who goes against the servant of God end up with harden hearts and then die. It is a form of their “harden spiritual conditions”. Regardless of his cause of death, the Hebrew’s wanted it to be known, that if you go against God, you will not survive.
Now, to my final point; why Abigail?
Abigail also shows the trait of bravery. According to an article online, http://newlife.id.au/christian-living/abigail-1-samuel-25/ , Abigail shows us many forms of her bravery. Not only does she secretly deliver food for David and his men, but she knows that she might have to face certain punishments for not submitting to her husband. It is very possible Abigail could have been a victim of abuse. Also according to this artcile, the writer states: “God used Abigail to help David and encourage him with her prophetic words.”
Trying to decide why chapter 25 was added to the book of 1 Samuel can be tricky, but by breaking down the names and actions, the significance is very clear. Abigail was a remarkable woman, who did a remarkable task. Even though is is not a war heroine like some of the women in the previous chapters of the Bible, she is a heroine for the Hebrew people in keeping peace and showing bravery.