July 16th, 2019
1 SAMUEL 25:1-22
Sustained by God’s Word of Promise
1 Samuel 25:1-22: Following the death of Samuel, David and his men go to the wilderness of Paran. A man named Nabal refuses to extend hospitality to them, even though David had protected Nabal’s property. David seeks revenge, but Nabal’s wife, Abigail, prepares to intervene.
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: 1 SAMUEL 25:6B
“David sends you greetings, my friend, with his best wishes for you, your family, and all that is yours.”
THE DEATH OF SAMUEL
1Samuel died, and all the Israelites came together and mourned for him. Then they buried him at his home in Ramah.
DAVID AND ABIGAIL
After this, David went to the wilderness of Paran.2-3There was a man of the clan of Caleb named Nabal, who was from the town of Maon, and who owned land near the town of Carmel. He was a very rich man, the owner of three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. His wife Abigail was beautiful and intelligent, but he was a mean, bad-tempered man.
Nabal was shearing his sheep in Carmel,4and David, who was in the wilderness, heard about it,5so he sent ten young men with orders to go to Carmel, find Nabal, and give him his greetings.6He instructed them to say to Nabal: “David sends you greetings, my friend, with his best wishes for you, your family, and all that is yours.7He heard that you were shearing your sheep, and he wants you to know that your shepherds have been with us and we did not harm them. Nothing that belonged to them was stolen all the time they were at Carmel.8Just ask them, and they will tell you. We have come on a feast day, and David asks you to receive us kindly. Please give what you can to us your servants and to your dear friend David.”
9David’s men delivered this message to Nabal in David’s name. Then they waited there,10and Nabal finally answered, “David? Who is he? I’ve never heard of him! The country is full of runaway slaves nowadays!11I’m not going to take my bread and water, and the animals I have butchered for my sheepshearers, and give them to people who come from I don’t know where!”
12David’s men went back to him and told him what Nabal had said.13“Buckle on your swords!” he ordered, and they all did. David also buckled on his sword and left with about four hundred of his men, leaving two hundred behind with the supplies.
14One of Nabal’s servants said to Nabal’s wife Abigail, “Have you heard? David sent some messengers from the wilderness with greetings for our master, but he insulted them.15Yet they were very good to us; they never bothered us, and all the time we were with them in the fields, nothing that belonged to us was stolen.16They protected us day and night the whole time we were with them looking after our flocks.17Please think this over and decide what to do. This could be disastrous for our master and all his family. He is so mean that he won’t listen to anybody!”
18Abigail quickly gathered two hundred loaves of bread, two leather bags full of wine, five roasted sheep, two bushels of roasted grain, a hundred bunches of raisins, and two hundred cakes of dried figs, and loaded them on donkeys.19Then she said to the servants, “You go on ahead and I will follow you.” But she said nothing to her husband.
20She was riding her donkey around a bend on a hillside when suddenly she met David and his men coming toward her.21David had been thinking, “Why did I ever protect that fellow’s property out here in the wilderness? Not a thing that belonged to him was stolen, and this is how he pays me back for the help I gave him!22May God strike me dead if I don’t kill every last one of those men before morning!”
In the ancient Near East, where many people wandered from place to place, if strangers were not a threat, the host was expected to welcome them as guests. Why does Nabal refuse to extend hospitality to David? What does David decide to do? What action does Abigail take?
Loving God, guard my lips from speaking hurtful words and order my steps this day. May my words and actions bring honor and glory to you. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Mediators for parties involved in legal disputes
1 Samuel 25:23-44: Abigail dissuades David from seeking revenge.