A Wise Wife

What I like about the story of Abigail is how a wise and selfless wife is rewarded by God.  In ancient times and in many countries today marriages were arranged.  A woman needed to come to peace with her circumstances and accept her lot in life.  I learned a lot about arranged marriages from living in Pakistan.  I saw how both spouses learned to make a marriage work by loving each other in action rather than starting with a warm emotion.  A wise wife can make the most of a bad lot.

however, in love-marriages where a man and a woman freely choose each other, they are not gauranteed to have chosen well.  Sometimes faults are hidden during dating and sometimes infatuation clouds the mind.  The Lord hates divorce, but a selfless and wise person finds a way to survive.  In the case of Abigail it is easy to see how a woman worked to protect her husband and show the family in the most positive light inspite of his foolishness.  Others saw how wise and selfless she was so that in the end she is set free to marry the king of Israel.  Would it have been different if she hadn’t shown wise and faithful obedience in her current situation?

1 Samuel 25

1 Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah. Then David moved down into the Desert of Paran.[a]

 2 A certain man in Maon, who had property there at Carmel, was very wealthy. He had a thousand goats and three thousand sheep, which he was shearing in Carmel. 3His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.

 4 While David was in the wilderness, he heard that Nabal was shearing sheep. 5 So he sent ten young men and said to them, “Go up to Nabal at Carmel and greet him in my name. 6Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!

 7 “‘Now I hear that it is sheep-shearing time. When your shepherds were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing. 8Ask your own servants and they will tell you. Therefore be favorable toward my men, since we come at a festive time. Please give your servants and your son David whatever you can find for them.’”

 9When David’s men arrived, they gave Nabal this message in David’s name. Then they waited.

 10 Nabal answered David’s servants, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. 11Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”

 12 David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word. 13David said to his men, “Each of you strap on your sword!” So they did, and David strapped his on as well. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies.

 14 One of the servants told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them. 15 Yet these men were very good to us. They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. 16 Night and day they were a wall around us the whole time we were herding our sheep near them. 17Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.”

 18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs[b] of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

 20 As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21 David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. 22 May God deal with David,[c]be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!”

 23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And now, my lord, as surely as the LORD your God lives and as you live, since the LORD has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.

 28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. 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. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the LORD has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the LORD your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.”

 32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”

 35Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”

 36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone. 38About ten days later, the LORD struck Nabal and he died.

 39When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Praise be to the LORD, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.”

   Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife. 40His servants went to Carmel and said to Abigail, “David has sent us to you to take you to become his wife.”

 41 She bowed down with her face to the ground and said, “I am your servant and am ready to serve you and wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” 42 Abigail quickly got on a donkey and, attended by her five female servants, went with David’s messengers and became his wife. 43 David had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both were his wives. 44 But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Paltiel[d] son of Laish, who was from Gallim.


  1. How does a man almost get his family killed?
  2. How does Abigail save her family?
  3. How is David’s attitude changed?
  4. How can you be wise and obedient in your relationships with the opposite sex?
  5. Why does God sometimes allow wise people to be ‘wasted’ in marriages with cruel or foolish people?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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12 Responses to A Wise Wife

  1. HeeJin,Choi says:

    1.How does a man almost get his family killed?
    – Nabal paid David back by providing no food for David’s protection over his household in the field. and that provoked David’s fury.
    2.How does Abigail save her family?
    – She paid honor and asked David for forgiveness for Nabal’s folly, bringing enough supplies for his troop
    3.How is David’s attitude changed?
    -He accepted Abigail’s indication,wise attitude, and then soothed his rage.
    4.How can you be wise and obedient in your relationships with the opposite sex?
    – being slow to anger but trying to think logically and act according to what would be pleasing God’s eye.
    5.Why does God sometimes allow wise people to be ‘wasted’ in marriages with cruel or foolish people?
    – to let them know that they are not perfectly wise at all times.

  2. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. Nabal refused to share with David and his men. Also, he treated them with contempt.
    1. Abigail gave gift to David and his men and asked David for forgiveness.
    3. He accepted the gift and decided not to do any killing.
    4. respect the other person and know your boundaries.
    5. God could be using the wise person to be Christ to the other person.

  3. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. Nabal almost gets his family killed by refusing to respect David by giving him and his servants whatever he had on hand.
    2. Abigail saves her family by going and making her plea to David, and bringing him gifts including two hundred loaves of bread and two skins of wine and five sheep, and much more.
    3. David’s attitude has changed as he goes from being so livid because of Nabal’s disrespect, to being very grateful towards Abigail’s plea for mercy, as it saves him from killing Nabal.
    4. I can be wise and obedient in my relationships with the opposite sex, by first having a level of respect for them. We can also bring humility into those relationships and a willingness to serve the other person.
    5. God may allow wise people to be “wasted” in marriage with a foolish person, because their wisdom is by no means wasted, rather it takes a very wise person to handle a fool, and their wisdom may be a light to their foolish spouse or at least to those who witness their marriage.

  4. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. He refuses to help David and his men by feeding them eventhough they had protected his servants and flocks.
    2. Abigail saves her family by going to David and asking him to pardon her husband for his foolishness. She also provides the food that they need.
    3. His attitude changes from one of revenge and anger to one of forgiveness.
    4. It starts with respecting that person and seeing them as the Lord sees them. It is also knowing how to serve them in a way that is sometimes hard for you but that will be uplifting or beneficial to them.
    5. They are able to show others around them that God is still at work despite the fact that their situation is hard. They can also be an encouragement to the fool as they see what it looks like to be wise.

  5. Cassie Clark says:

    1.Nabal refuses to repay kindness
    2.She steps in for her family and intercedes with kind words and gifts
    3.He saw that she was right; he did not want blood on his hands. He decides to act in kindness.
    4.It is important to not lead them on. Also, to treat them as a fellow image-bearer.
    5.How can I answer this? Perhaps to teach them something or to strengthen their own faith.

  6. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. A man almost gets his family killed by being rude to David’s servants and treating them badly after they had treated him well.
    2. Abigail saves her family by confronting David before he can get to her family, and by convincing David that God will avenge Nabal, and that David doesn’t have to, and that he shouldn’t.
    3. David’s attitude is changed because he realizes that it is not his place to avenge himself, and he realizes that God will avenge him, so he has mercy on Abigail and her family.
    5. God sometimes allows wise people to be ‘wasted’ in marriages with cruel or foolish people to save the foolish people or to protect them from their own foolishness.

  7. Rebecca Langer says:

    1. How does a man almost get his family killed?
    Laban almost gets his family killed because while David protected Laban’s possessions, Laban would not treat David right as a guest. So David was very offended and was going to kill Laban.
    2. How does Abigail save her family?
    She acts quickly, brings David a good amount of gifts and begs for forgiveness for her husband.
    3. How is David’s attitude changed?
    He realizes that he should take revenge on everyone just because one man was wicked. He also respects Abigail and wants to do her well.
    4. How can you be wise and obedient in your relationships with the opposite sex?
    I can be wise and obedient in my relations with the opposite sex by treating them with kindness and respect and by not taking advantage of them.
    5. Why does God sometimes allow wise people to be ‘wasted’ in marriages with cruel or foolish people?
    I am not sure. Perhaps it is to teach the cruel person something, or to refine the wise person. Sometimes we just cannot understand God’s workings and we just have to trust.

  8. aaron wright says:

    1. Nabal refused to aid David’s men
    2. She asks forgiveness and makes up the aid
    3. He forgave, accepted the gift and held back his fury
    4. I can follow God’s leading in the relationship instead of relying on my emotions.
    5. Its all in God’s providence and its just another way for him to be glorified through faithful followers. Its just tuff to do

  9. Moon Jung Kim[ED 2203;Mon 6:00pm class] says:

    1.How does a man almost get his family killed? Nabal almost killed his family since he treated David badly and refuged his request
    2.How does Abigail save her family? She brought food and met David. She wisely spoke to David about her husband’s foolishness and asked forgiveness. and also she spoke about David’s circumstances and as God had helped and protected David from bloodshed, she asked him to give mercy on her and her house and keep them from bloodshed.
    3.How is David’s attitude changed? David accepted her gifts and changed not to revenge Nabal’s household.
    4.How can you be wise and obedient in your relationships with the opposite sex?
    5.Why does God sometimes allow wise people to be ‘wasted’ in marriages with cruel or foolish people?
    ah.. sometimes we have trials which God can train us stronger and also see our faith.

  10. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) Nabal didn’t offer to give anything to david and his men, and almost got himself and his family killed.
    2) She offers the men food.
    3) When he sees Abigails kindness, his attitiude changes, and he promises to spare her family.
    4) I can learn to be content single and wait on God’s timing.
    5) I don’t really know, but probabaly to teach them to rely more on God.

  11. Kristen Patush says:

    1.How does a man almost get his family killed?

    Nabal refuses David’s request.

    2.How does Abigail save her family?

    She offers them food.

    3.How is David’s attitude changed?

    He promises to spare her family.

    4.How can you be wise and obedient in your relationships with the opposite sex?

    Offering those relationships up to God, relying on His leading and Word for direction.

    5.Why does God sometimes allow wise people to be ‘wasted’ in marriages with cruel or foolish people?

    To show his strength through those wise people.

  12. Grace Yoo says:

    1. Nabal almost got his family killed by treating David’s servants badly and denying David’s request.

    2. Abigail saves her family by offering the men food.

    3. David’s attitude changes because he sees how generous Abigail is and decides not to kill them.

    4. I can be wise and obedient in the relationships with the opposite sex by having Christ be the center.

    5. I think God sometimes allows wise people to be ‘wasted’ in marriages with cruel or foolish people because they might go through trial and it will help them to trust God more.

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