Abigail is an outstanding example of a beautiful, intelligent, God-fearing woman and wife who remained
loyal to her husband for better or worse.
Summer traditionally is a time for weddings, joyous in their circumstance and hopeful in their outlook. But soon the reality of sin surfaces, even to the point of comment, “Oh, the people some people marry!”
Perhaps Abigail had that said of her. Her husband’s name was Nabal, and what an evil character he was: proud, harsh, unthankful, and even a drunken lout. But what a woman he had married! Scripture describes her as “. . . a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance. . . ” (I Samuel 25:3). Husband and wife seemed like polar opposites. “Oh, the people . . .”
Things reached crisis mode in their lives (1 Samuel 25) when David asked Nabal for “some consideration.” David at the time was sort of an outlaw-king, chosen by God to replace Saul, but on Saul’s Ten Most Wanted List. Together with his six hundred men, David was living in the wilderness of southern Judah. His neighbor was wealthy Nabal, who owned a thousand goats and three thousand sheep. Part of the service David and his men provided for the locals was protection against thieves and marauders. Nabal had so benefited. But when David asked for a “consideration,” Nabal refused and even insulted David.
With his blood boiling in outrage over this disrespect, David took four hundred of his men—girded with swords—to teach Nabal a lesson. But when Abigail heard what was about to unfold, she took immediate action to intervene, to placate David and so save her husband. In short order she gathered enough food to feed David’s hungry men. What a loyal wife she was! What a quick-witted, resourceful woman!
Abigail also displayed her humility when she sought to take the blame for the debacle. She commiserated with David’s problems, reminding him that as a man of God he would not want his conscience burdened with a vengeful killing. Abigail was successful in her plea, for David relented of his anger, and thanked God for sending her, who in her wisdom kept him from doing something he surely would have regretted. What a godly peacemaker!
When drunken Nabal heard what his wife had done without his knowledge, he suffered a heart attack and died ten days later. After Nabal’s funeral David asked Abigail to be his wife, which proposal she accepted.
We will not assume Abigail’s life suddenly became idyllic. For one thing, she also became a fugitive. But surely she proved herself a child of God, using her wisdom and abilities to save her husband, remaining faithful to her marriage vows until God Himself “put asunder” their union through Nabal’s death.
Very few women, even Christians, have perfect marriages. All have less-than-perfect husbands, perhaps some as outwardly evil as Nabal. Abigail is an outstanding example of a beautiful, intelligent, God-fearing woman and wife who remained loyal to her husband for better or worse. A better example is hard to imagine.
The fact that she was wed by a king also instructs and encourages us. For David was a type of his greater Son—our Lord Jesus Christ. In Holy Scripture, our Savior is pictured as the Bridegroom and His people the bride. For His bride, the Bridegroom-King gave Himself on the cross, that He might redeem her, forgive her, and so present her “. . . to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27).
No doubt all God’s married people experience at least some marriage problems on earth. But we know a better life is coming, and are exhorted to remain steadfast, loyal and faithful. Abigail surely did. What a woman, what a wife! And by her faith in the Messiah, what a glorious, eternal bride! By our faith we have great hopes of joining her. Oh, the people the gracious King has married!
David Fuerstenau is pastor of Holy Truth Lutheran Church in Ketchikan, Alaska.