Bible Topics
in the Christian Library
Personalities Of The Old Testament
ABIGAIL – Soothing The Savages
1 Samuel 25

 1. What thoughts are associated when the name “Abigail” is mentioned?

 2. Our lesson focuses upon the power of womanhood. Throughout Scripture there is a powerful lesson regarding the potential of women – Within the realm of womanhood resides the power to impact society for either good or evil. God has placed women in a position of great influence. 

 “One hair of a woman draws more than a bell-rope” (German Proverb).

  a. Some women utilize this God-given power for evil. They sow discord; encourage bitterness; slash and wound with slanderous tongues; encourage opposition and undermine God’s authority. These women are well described in Scripture and face a torturous eternity! (Cf. 1 Ki 21:25; 1 Ti 5:13-15). How tragic that some women are immediately associated with the term “contentious” (cf Pr 21:19; 27:15).

  b. Some women utilize their God-given power for good. They are able to calm the tempests of life; reconcile opponents; bring peace to irritations. These use their tongues with extreme care. They honor God’s Word above all other concerns in life! (Cf. Pr 31:26).

  c. Among the wonderful ladies utilizing their God-given powers to soothe and bring tranquility is the lovely Abigail.

 3. Historical data regarding Abigail is brief. The Scriptures tell us nothing about her parents or her genealogy. Evidentially she had been brought up under godly influences and was well acquainted with Jehovah and possessed a beautiful piety. From the record in 1 Samuel we learn these facts about Abigail:

  a. Her name meant “cause of joy” and seems to express her general outlook and impact upon others.

  b. She was married to an awful man. This marriage was probably not of her choice but was the product of the Oriental customs compelling a woman to marry whomever her father chose.

  c. She was “intelligent and beautiful” (25:3). Such a combination is overlooked today by women who choose to focus only on the outward. Only three other women are called “beautiful” in the Bible (Sarah, Vashti, and Bathsheba). In Abigail we see physical beauty enhanced with goodness and grace (cf Ps 45:13).

  d. She becomes one of David’s eight wives (1 Sa 18:27; 2 Sa 3:2-5; 12:24). Of these eight, probably Abigail was the source of the greatest good in David’s life. 

  e. “She is one of the lost admirably gentle and lovely women portrayed in the Bible, filling an important chapter in the life of David” (Jim Bill McInteer, 108).

 4. Abigail’s intervention between Nabal and David provides us with a tremendous lesson on how Christians ought to conduct themselves so they will bring peace and harmony into this world (cf 1 Sa 25).

  a. The story occurs in an episode that is filled with tragic emotions: ungratefulness, arrogance, stubbornness, hate, bitterness, anger, and foolish words.

  b. Because of King Saul’s persecution, David’s death was sought. During this period, David took 600 men and wandered in the wilderness of Paran. During this time they befriended the shepherds who worked for Nabal and protected them from robbers. This was a generous service which had been rendered without pay. At the time of harvest it was reasonable for David to expect Nabal to offer payment. This was the customary practice and was understood by all.

  c. When David’s request came, Nabal hurled a great insult in response to the kindness he had received (25:3). This was a public humiliation and it instantly stirred David’s anger (25:22). There was inevitable war and Nabal’s house was to be killed. David took 400  armed men and marched toward Nabal. 

  d. A servant saw the insult and knew what was to happen. He went to Abigail and informed her of every thing. She took steps to appease David (25:18ff). She offered David a generous gift and humble apology. She persuaded David to give up his desire for revenge. She then returned home to Nabal. She continued with the man to whom she had sworn faithfulness even though he was a worthless man. Following Nabal’s death, David proposed to Abigail (25:39). Abigail entered into the happy life as David’s wife and mother of David’s son (cf 2 Sa 3:3; 1 Chron 3:1).

 5. We discover a marvelous lady – “In the midst of unpleasant and uncontrollable circumstances, she maintained a sweet and lovable disposition. Her words to David clearly indicate that she had not allowed her own disappointments to make her cynical, bitter, or harsh. Rather, she held an unwavering faith in God and the principles of right and justice” (McInteer, 110).  Contemplating Abigail’s attitudes highlights the wonderful potential that women have to soothe the troublesome times of life; to bring peace rather than stir strife; to engender affection rather than bitterness!

 Think of the wonderful things Abigail’s presence would do? Are we as diligent to pursue peace and stifle bitterness as Abigail?

 6. This wonderful peaceable character of Abigail can be seen in our lives. Look at the qualities that made Abigail able to soothe the savage hearts.

 a. She was respected (25:17).
  The servants knew Abigail would know how to handle the crisis over Nabal’s insult. They respected her reason and judgment (25:35).

 b. She properly reacted to anger (25:33, 35).
  In all probability this was not the first time she had to apologize for Nabal’s rudeness. She used tact and wisdom to quiet David’s rage.

  ASK – What did Abigail do right in responding to David’s anger? What did she do that we ought to do when faced with someone who is angry.

 c. She had great faith in God (25:26ff).
  She is presented as a woman familiar with God. Her confident trust in God allowed her to remain a saint even though she was in a miserable marriage. Her words to David reveal that her faith was very practical in her life (25:26, 27). 

  ASK – What is there about Abigail’s practical faith in God that can help us to endure miserable situations and never lose hope?

 d. She was assertive and decisive (25:18ff).
  The situation was urgent and Abigail moved in a decisive way to prevent harm. She knew what needed to be done and did it the best she could. She approached David in the customs of the day but she made sure the task was done (25:24). She did not hesitate to tell David that his desire for revenge was wrong. Later she confronted Nabal and told him how foolish he was (25:37).

  ASK – How can one be a soothing force but be assertive? In what way does confronting one with error allow you to become a peacemaker?

 e. She cared for the safety of her household (25:31).
  Abigail’s first priority was the safety of her home. She did whatever was necessary to assure that her family honored God and was safe.

 f. She was humble and meek (25:41, 44).
  As she approached David, she demonstrated humility. Humility characterized her entire conversation. What would have resulted had Abigail confronted David’s army with angry accusations?

  ASK – The power of women to soothe the savage heart is found in this attitude. How does 1 Pt 3:2-4 comment on this attitude? What is the likely result when one fails to demonstrate this attitude?

 g. She was a blessing to all (25:32).
  From her first meeting with David it seems that his entire life took on a new meaning and purpose. Whoever had the opportunity of meeting and knowing Abigail was blessed.

  ASK – Think of the impact you have on those who are upset and angry. How should you respond so that you will be a blessing to them? Is there ever a time when you should confront an angry person so you will be a blessing to them? If so, how should this confrontation work?

 h. She was a gracious and hospitable host (25:4).
  The sheep shearing festivals were marked with great joy. The preparations for such times were hard, but Abigail accepted the chore.

 NOTE: these are the qualities that made Abigail such a beautiful lady. These are the qualities which allowed her to soothe the savage hearts. Can you imagine what a wonderful lady she was and how many sought to be in her company. Her wonderful humility would draw many in contrast to the few who would want to be in the company of a contentious woman!

 7. Abigail illustrates the steps that are necessary for us to become adept in the art of persuading the savage heart to become quiet. Here is the pattern that all Christians should emulate so they will become as beautiful as Abigail.

 a. She was humble (25:23, 24).
  A spirit of arrogance or superiority only brings resentment and invites harsher words. Arrogant words will never persuade. Abigail approached David with humility. Abigail’s humility appealed with David to hold himself aloof from the base evils of bitterness and revenge. Humility never seeks vengeance (Ro 12:19).

 b. She appealed to God’s goodness (25:30).
  Abigail trusted God and she urged David to trust God as well. Her trust in God was the cause for her humility. She spoke of God’s goodness but reminded David that God’s goodness does not erase man’s accountability. Even though Abigail’s words were humble they spoke firmly about God’s punishment awaiting the disobedient. Those who look to God’s goodness will turn from evil ways (Ro 11:22; Pr 16:6).

 c. She appealed to David’s self interests (25:28).
  She reminded David that he would one day rule over Israel and that his actions in the present would have bearing on the future. She called for David to think about the future – “What will happen in the future if you do such a thing?” Such contemplation of the future should prevent many from doing stupid things in the present! 

8. This godly lady challenges Christians today . . .

  a. Possess the disposition that brings a blessing to all you meet.
  Abigail’s name meant “cause of joy,” and it was a fitting commentary on the impact she had upon others. She was a sunny, glad-bringing, winsome personality. When she walked into the room all would change for the better! She was a blessing because she helped soothe the angry and irritated (1 Sa 25:33; Zech 8:19; 1 Pt 3:11; Pr 12:20; 25:11). She was a blessing as she helped others follow God’s will in life. She helped David remember that he was God’s anointed and the object of God’s love (1 Sa 25:28, 30).

 b. Possess a steadfast faith in life!
  One factor enhanced the natural beauty of Abigail – her faith in God. Meekness, generosity, concern, sympathy, grace, and charm all sprang from her faith in God (25:26-31).

 c. Possess joy in God so life’s adversities will not triumph!
  Abigail’s home life and marriage were terrible. There was no joy or peace but only the darkness that comes from living with a “churlish” spouse! She had to put up with a drunkard who was godless and insensitive. She was constantly explaining and apologizing for his evil ways. However she possessed a great joy in life because of her faith in God.

 9. Abigail was beautiful, not only in a physical sense but more importantly because of her character and faith. She retained poise in the face of great challenges; she soothed a raging heart and rebuked an irate drunk. She was a strong lady and her strength came from one source – her faith in the Lord God! 

Copyright 1999 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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