Thinking of Abigail
I am thinking about Abigail. How often have abused women been instructed to look at Abigail and to rely on God to kill her terrible husband. Surely some have even questioned our faith, our devotion, our veracity when we tell others what goes on behind closed doors and for some reason God hasn’t seen fit to turn the abusers to a stone following a great feast and so on. Is that all there is to hope for? That he dies? Of course not. He could change if we would just get about the business of winning him without a word more effectively. Surely this is more evidence of our failures…
But that’s not what this post is really about. I am thinking about how the story is introduced in 1 Samuel 25:2-3 (ESV)
And there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite…
So Abigail was the very respected wife of a super rich guy. He was super mean and super rich. At the end of the story (vv. 36-42) we see
And Abigail came to Nabal, and behold, 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. So she told him nothing at all until the morning light. In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And about ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord who has avenged the insult I received at the hand of Nabal, and has kept back his servant from wrongdoing. The Lord has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and spoke to Abigail, to take her as his wife. When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.” And she rose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your handmaid is a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” And Abigail hurried and rose and mounted a donkey, and her five young women attended her. She followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
Oh yay! This is a Cinderella story right? Abigail is rescued and goes off to live with King David. Right? But wait he’s not King yet. He’s on the run from the evil King who wants to kill him. And he’s the leader of a merry band of men described as
. . . everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him. And he became commander over them. And there were with him about four hundred men . . . (1 Samuel 22:2)
So she went from being married to the richest mean guy in town and, I assume, the lifestyle of Mrs. Richest Guy in Town, to being married to Israel’s Most Wanted and, I assume, the lifestyle of Mrs. Israel’s Most Wanted. I don’t know about Abigail, but in my experience, going from living in the same zip code of very powerful people to living in the zip code of the people who mow their lawns, this life is better. My pastor reminded me that I couldn’t afford my old lifestyle. The cost to my dignity, the cost to my sanity, was too high. I agree.