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Vignettes of Women of the Bible


My name is Abigail.  You might not remember me.  I lived what might have been called a "happily ever after" life; but it certainly didn't start out that way.  I became King David's second wife, but the first to bear him children.  When we met, I was married to another man.   But wait, let me tell you the story.

In those times, arranged marriages were common.   It was thought that a girl's father was more capable of deciding the future of his daughters than they were.  Sometimes it didn't matter whether the man was kind or considerate, as long as he was rich.  Financial security was no less a concern then, than it is now.  That's what I got with my first husband.  My husband, Nabal, was neither kind nor considerate.  In fact, with great kindness, one could have called him a bully and a brute;  but he was a wealthy brute.  He had inherited land, houses and livestock from his father and my father wanted me secure.

After we were married, I was to discover just what kind of a man he truly was.  When he was sober, he was unpleasant.  Not infrequently, he was drunk and his temper was worse when he drank.  Most of the time, everyone tried to stay away from him.  Life was safer that way--even mine.  Mind you, in those days a woman kept her place in the house and was obedient to her husband unless circumstances were such that danger threatened the household.  Nabal's temper was so bad that those circumstances came one after another; and I was constantly put into the position of finding creative ways to mend relationships with the neighbors.   Truthfully, everyone was afraid of him, and to keep the peace, I had to be as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove. 

Nabal would fight over anything and everything, and he would always have to be right.  It didn't matter how trivial the matter was, he had to be right.  He had a closed mind and an open mouth, and that is a very dangerous combination.  For example, he was an avid supporter of Saul and when conversation turned to the topics of the day, he stated flatly that David was an outlaw and a thief who should have been executed; and he thought that same thing should be for anyone who supported him. So, what with one thing or another, my household was always in turmoil.  Actually, David was our protector.  As he and his men rode throughout the countryside they kept the villages safe from bandits or worse.

 Why did I stay?  Where was I to go?   Back to my father's house?  Not so, I was a married woman.  Nabal didn't know it, but he needed me. The servants knew that they needed me.  Many times he caused enough trouble that his neighbors, not his enemies, to swear they would kill him and everyone else in his house and burn the place down!   What his enemies wanted to do, I dared not even think;  and he had enough enemies to build an army! 

Then came the day that was to change my life forever.  One of the servants from the field came to the house with a message.   David had run out of provisions for his men and they were hungry, thirsty and tired.  They asked for some food, water and a place to rest for the night.  You know what Nabal did, of course you do.  He sent back word that he would in no way make provision for an outlaw and thief. 

 When I heard what had happened, I could guess at David's reaction.  They had been our protectors and had been refused what was, for us, a small request.  Knowing that he was tired and hungry, I could only imagine what was going through David's mind.  It was not a good thing to be an enemy of David's, and because of Nabal's wisdom and tact, that's exactly what we had become.  I began to plan even as I moved through the house. 

 "Quickly now, someone.  Go, prepare a sheep or two and some lambs.  Sarah, go into the garden and gather and clean as many fresh vegetables as you can.  Martha, go to the orchard and get enough fruit to fill a couple of baskets.  Rachel, pack all the bread we have in the pantry.  We have some baking in the ovens, so we can do that.  Mary, go into the cellar and get wine, get the best from last year, and hurry!"   

 It took some time, but working together we got all of the provisions gathered and loaded on the animals.  Once again, we were desperately working towards saving ourselves.  Once the donkeys were loaded, I slipped away from the house and took a circular way around the property to David's camp.  The last thing I wanted was to have Nabal catch me giving aid to his "enemy."  When I got to the camp, I was taken to David and I fell on my face at his feet.  In trying to secure our safety, there was no room for pride. 

 He took my hand and raised me up.  I spoke to him with humility, "Please sir, please accept these provisions from our household.   Let them be as a token of peace.  My husband is an ungrateful fool and a brute.  Please don't let his stupidity be cause for an attack against our home."    We were in no position for me to bargain or to say anything other than the truth.

 He looked over to the small caravan that I had brought to him and appraised it.  Then he lookedd back to me.  David had an eye for beauty;  and with my dark hair and eyes, I could see that he was looking at me with favor.

 "What is your name?"  It was with curiosity and gentleness that he asked.

 "Abigail, sir."  I had heard that he was fair to look upon, but the rumor missed the truth.  He was incredibly handsome.  Something was happening on the inside of my heart as he spoke kindly to me.  That had rarely happened in my life, especially since my marriage.

 "Well, Abigail, it seems that you are brave, as well as extremely wise.  I am a man who sometimes makes decisions in haste, and not all of them made with wisdom.  I had not expected your husband's ingratitude. I had determined, because of his rudeness, that I was going to destroy everything on the property.  This changes things.  Your offering is accepted, and with it you have saved your home.  Go back to your husband in peace and continue to serve him well."

 My return home was not noticed, for if it had been, there would have been serious trouble for me.  Nabal was not above striking women, even me, his wife.  Yet again, if it had not been for me, he and all the rest of us would have been killed.  We continued on with life as before, and my husband's blustering about David's cowardice in the face of opposition and so on and so on.

 Ten days later, just ten days, Nabal died of a stroke.  Was this a blessing from God or the judgment of a man who had never needed Him?  Perhaps it was both.  I'll never know.  In his own mind, Nabal had needed no one but himself.  His meanness and selfishness had caused too much grief and too much misery in too many lives, especially in those of whom lived close to him.   He loved no one.  Even so, I had never been unfaithful to the man my father had chosen for me.  He had not been a husband in the truest sense of the word, for in fact, he had put our lives in mortal danger many, many times; leaving me to come to our own defenses.  Two of the saddest facts about Nabal's life were that nobody loved him while he lived and nobody grieved for him when he died.  No one.  

David heard about my being widowed and came to get me, with a priest.  We were married in a small ceremony, attended only by his men and the members of my household.  Since there were no children of the marriage, I inherited Nabal's property.  My dowry, which is what my inheritance came to be, was put to good use.  With this support, David was able to continue with his defense from Saul. 

I had no pretensions concerning David.   For all I knew, he would be an old man before he would come into his inheritance from the Lord. I did know, however, that he was a kind man, a good man who loved God with all of his heart; a man who would be obedient to the Lord to his own death.  I was prepared to live in a tent for the rest of my life and to go to the ends of the earth with him, if that was what God had called him to do.  That was not necessary.  In time, God moved on David's behalf and he was crowned as the second and greatest King that Israel ever had. 

Truly, in both of our lives, the wealth of the wicked had been gathered up to give to the righteous.

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