Wives of King David: Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel


Abigail was a woman of noble character

Abigail was a woman of noble character

   We first meet Abigail in connection with her first husband, Nabal of Carmel.

Nabal is described in 1 Samuel 25 as surly and mean in his dealing.

In contrast, Abigail is described as “an intelligent and beautiful woman.”  From what little we’re told about her in scripture, she seems to live up to the meaning of her name “my father’s joy.”

David was living in the wilderness and sent a messenger to approach Nabal regarding sheep-shearing time.  Nabal was arrogant and refused to provide meat for the shearers.  Nabal acts as if he does not know who David is, but more than likely during this time he had probably heard tales of David and his warriors.

A servant explained the situation to Abigail who thought quickly.  Without telling her husband, she gathered supplies and took them to David and his men.  Even the servants describe Nabal with “He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”

David makes it clear that there may have been some former interaction when he says, “It’s been useless—all my

Nabal was a wicked man

Nabal was a wicked man

watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good.”

Abigail saves her family, servants and land from David’s proclamation of revenge.  She greets David by saying, “The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live.”  This tells us that she is a believer of the Lord God and has heard of David.

Zondervan’s commentary says, “It is to the credit of this noble woman that she did not leave her godless husband or seek divorce from him, but remained a loyal wife and the protector of her worthless partner. She had taken him for better or for worse, and life for her was worse than the worst….  But the hour of deliverance came ten days after her return home, when by a divine stroke, Nabal’s worthless life ended.”


Abigail appeared before David on behalf of her husband

Abigail appeared before David on behalf of her husband

When Abigail returns home her husband is holding “a banquet of a king.”  She waits until the next morning to explain her actions.  Immediately “his heart fails him and he becomes like stone.”  Ten days later he dies.

Upon news of Nabal’s death, David praises God and sends for Abigail to become his wife.  She is always listed second to David’s wife Ahinoam of Jezreel.

Matthew Henry says “Abigail married David in faith, not questioning but that, though now he had not a house of his own, yet God’s promise to him would at length be fulfilled.” Abigail brought to David not only “a fortune in herself,” but much wealth so useful to David in the meeting of his manifold obligations.”

Ahinoam and Abigail are with David when he seeks refuge in Philistine territory, is captured by the Amalekites and carried off with the other women and children, rescued by David, settles in Hebron and witnesses David become King of Judah and seven years later King of Israel.

The last information we’re given about this noble woman is found in scripture which tells us that Abigail was the mother of David’s son, Daniel {also known as Chileab}.

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