“The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife was Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings…Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. 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, and hear the words of your maidservant…’” -1 Samuel 25:3,23-24
“Then David said to Abigail: ‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 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. For indeed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you have had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!’ 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.’” -1 Samuel 25: 32-35
Before we start, I urge you to read this entire chapter (1 Samuel 25) to get the full story of what’s happening here. But to summarize and fill in the blanks, here is a quick summary: This woman named Abigail was married to a no-good man. One day, David was passing by and asked the man to give him and his men some food because David had helped guard some of the man’s livestock. The man refused. Angry, David vowed to kill his entire family and household. Word of this got back to Abigail and she immediately sought to resolve the problem. She gathered up food, gifts, servants and headed after David’s caravan. And then she used her words and gifts to save her entire household – including her mean-spirited husband. (Spoiler alert: David ended up marrying her later on!)
When Abigail found out what her husband had done, she could have reacted in a dozen of different ways. She could have picked an argument with him: yelling and throwing things as she cast blame. She could have packed her things up and ran away to save her own life. Or she could have done nothing and awaited her fate. But, instead, she chose the courageous path and decided to mend the bridge her husband had just burnt in order to save herself AND her household. She relied on humility to appeal to David’s good side. She acted quickly and authoritatively.
Bad stuff happens to all of us. Loved ones die too quickly and people mess up often. Some of us may end up getting married to men who are lazy, mean-spirited or abusive. But it is how we react that speaks to the depth of our character. We could let our circumstances make us bitter. We could withdraw from reality and hide behind entertainment or destructive habits. We could play victim. Or we could remember that we are the daughters of the King of Kings. We could draw on our God-given intelligence and wisdom to react quickly and efficiently. We could be the problem-solvers full of grace and humility.
I’ll leave you with the words of Lottie Beth Hobbs in her book Daughters of Eve: “[Abigail} was of ‘good understanding’; that is, she had wisdom, common sense, and the ability to size up a situation and decide the proper course of cation. Blessed with both beauty and brains, Abigail also had a deep and abiding faith in God. What more could any woman ask? She had wealth, beauty, intelligence and godliness. She had everything – except a decent husband. She was married to a churlish, selfish, insulting drunkard who lacked even the common traits of courtesy and civility. In the midst of unpleasant and uncontrollable circumstances, she maintained a sweet and lovable disposition. Her words to David clearly indicate that 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.”