BIBLE: I Samuel Chapter 25 – Headline “There’s No Fool Like a Nabal Fool” []

Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

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I Samuel 25

Death of Samuel

I Samuel 25:1 Then Samuel died; and the Israelites gathered together and lamented for him, and buried him at his home in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the Wilderness of Paran (Maon).
  • The Wilderness of Paran is located in the Sinai Peninsula between Egypt and Israel. It is part of the Israelites wandering in the desert, it is where Sarai sent Hagar and Ishmael into the desert,

David and the Wife of Nabal

I Samuel 25:Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.
 I Samuel 25:The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb.
I Samuel 25:When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep,
I Samuel 25:David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name.
I Samuel 25:And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have!
I Samuel 25:Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel.
I Samuel 25:Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes (be gracious to the young men), for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.’ ”
  • Which feast day was it? We only know it was the season when they were shearing sheep.
I Samuel 25:So when David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David, and waited.
I Samuel 25:10 Then Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master.
I Samuel 25:11 Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed (Lit. slaughter) for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?”
I Samuel 25:12 So David’s young men turned on their heels and went back; and they came and told him all these words.
I Samuel 25:13 Then David said to his men, “Every man gird on his sword.” So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword. And about four hundred men went with David, and two hundred stayed with the supplies.
I Samuel 25:14 Now one of the young men (who worked for Nabal) told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he reviled (scolded or scorned at) them.
I Samuel 25:15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields.
I Samuel 25:16 They were a (protective) wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep.
I Samuel 25:17 Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel (Lit. son of Belial) that one cannot speak to him.”
  • “Belial” is a Hebrew word “used to characterize the wicked or worthless.” The etymology of the word is often understood as “lacking worth”, from two common words: beli- (“without”) and ya’al- (“to be of value”).
  • Belial later became personified as the devil in Jewish and Christian texts.  Alternate spellings include Baalial, Balial, Belhor, Beliall, Beliar, Berial, Beliel, and Beliya’al.
I Samuel 25:18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys.
I Samuel 25:19 And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
I Samuel 25:20 So it was, as she rode on the donkey, that she went down under cover of the hill; and there were David and his men, coming down toward her, and she met them.
  • Although it makes perfect sense for Abigail to ride on a donkey; however, it wasn’t necessary to mentioned it in this scripture, being that scripture is the most expensive real estate in the universe, indicating perhaps the root meaning for the word “donkey” is “to boil”. Donkeys are often mentioned prior to or during a time of trouble.
I Samuel 25:21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good.
I Samuel 25:22 May God (‘ĕlōhîm) do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light.”
  • The word translated “male” in Hebrew is “shathan qiyr” or “any that pisses against the wall”.
I Samuel 25:23 Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground.
I Samuel 25:24 So she fell at his feet and said: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears (speak to you), and hear the words of your maidservant.
I Samuel 25:25 Please, let not my lord regard (pay attention to) this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal (Lit. Fool) is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent.
I Samuel 25:26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging  yourself (Lit. saving yourself) with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal.
I Samuel 25:27 And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.
I Samuel 25:28 Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ), and evil is not found in you throughout your days.
I Samuel 25:29 Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) your God (‘ĕlōhîm); and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling.
I Samuel 25:30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel,
  • Abigail is prophesying that David will become King over Israel.
I Samuel 25:31 that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ) has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”
  • Remember her, she urges David, when he becomes king.
I Samuel 25:32 Then David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the Lord God (Yᵊhōvâ ĕlōhîm) of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!
I Samuel 25:33 And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.
I Samuel 25:34 For indeed, as the Lord God (Yᵊhōvâ ĕlōhîm) of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!”
  • The word translated “male” in Hebrew is “shathan qiyr” or “any that pisses against the wall”.
  • “Beelzebub” means “Lord of the Flies” and is the god of those who piss against the wall. Therefore; to “piss against the wall” has a meaning which goes further than just a male, but a male who resists authority, just as Satan resisted and rebelled against God’s authority.
I Samuel 25:35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person.”
I Samuel 25:36 Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there 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; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light.
I Samuel 25:37 So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone.
  • Nabal – turned to stone (being dead to yourself)
    • In Job 41 Satan the sea monster (leviathan/large serpent), who lives in the sea of people, his heart is as hard as the millstone, even the lower millstone.
I Samuel 25:38 Then it happened, after about ten days, that the Lord struck Nabal (Fool!), and he died.
  • Nabal’s name literally means Fool.
    • Nabal is symbolic of the body.
    • Abigail is symbolic of the spirit.
  • Ten – again – is the number for Accountability. Ten is a symbol of the authority of God, His government on earth and man’s responsibility to God.
  • God held Nabal the fool accountable for his actions. Likewise, all men will have a day of accountability.
I Samuel 25:39 So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ ), who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ ) has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.”
  • Deuteronomy 32:35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.’
  • Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
  • Hebrews 10:30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”
And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife.
  • She was righteous, beautiful, loyal, wise, and wealthy.
I Samuel 25:40 When the servants of David had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying, “David sent us to you, to ask you to become his wife.”
I Samuel 25:41 Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, “Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.”
  • This was prior to David becoming King of Judah.
I Samuel 25:42 So Abigail rose in haste and rode on a donkey, attended by five of her maidens (Lit. with five of her maidens at her feet); and she followed the messengers of David, and became his wife.
  • Women in scripture represent the spirit of a man while men represent the physical body. The story of Abigail first marrying Nabal, which means “fool” and then marrying David who is a representation of Jesus and righteousness, is a pattern of the redemption of mankind. From Fools to Righteousness.
    • This has a ring to Jesus’ parable concerning the five wise virgins entering the marriage hall with the King. If so, Abigail would be a metaphor for the city of Jerusalem.
  • Abigail is again riding a donkey, this time to her marriage to David. There is no hint of trouble … except that a darkened tone immediately follows:
I Samuel 25:43 David also took (or had taken?) Ahinoam of Jezreel, and so both of them were his wives.
  • Ahinoam is always mentioned before Abigail and that she bears David a son before Abigail does, and concludes from this that “she was already married to David when the conflict with Nabal erupted.”
    Jon D. Levenson, “1 Samuel 25 as Literature and History,” CBQ 40 [1978] 27.
  • When David had fled from Saul and dwelt with Achish, king of Gath, he had his two wives …
I Samuel 25:44 But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti (Paltiel, in 2 Sam. 3:15) the son of Laish, who was from Gallim.
  • Michal, King Saul’s daughter, was David’s first wife whom he was forced to leave behind.

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