My biblical namesake was a real inspiration to me this past week. As a wife of King David, her story is not well known. So I thought that I'd share her heroic virtues with you.
1 Samuel 25: 3, 14-28, 30-35, 40-42
“The man was named Nabal, his wife, Abigail. The woman was intelligent and attractive, but Nabal himself, a Calebite, was harsh and ungenerous in his behavior.”
[King David sent servants to request donations of food from Nabal after his soldiers protected Nabal’s shepards earlier in the year. Nabal pretends that he doesn’t know who King David is and denies that he received any benefit from him. King David is outraged and about to lead 400 soldiers against Nabal & his family.]
But Nabal’s wife, Abigail was informed of this by one of the servants, who said “David sent messengers from the desert to greet our master, but he flew at them screaming. Yet these men were very good to us. . . Abigail quickly got together two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of pressed raisins, and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. She then said to her servants, “Go on ahead; I will follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
As she came down through a mountain pass riding on a donkey, David and his men were also coming down from the opposite direction. When she met them, David had just been saying ‘Indeed, it was in vain that I guarded all this man’s possessions in the desert, so that he missed nothing. He has repaid good with evil. May God do thus and so to David if by morning I leave a single male alive among all those who belong to him.” As soon as Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey and, falling prostrate on the ground before David did him homage. As she fell at his feet she said:
“My lord, let the blame be mine. Please let your handmaid speak to you, and listen to the words of your handmaid. Let not my lord pay attention to that worthless man Nabal, for he is just like his name. Fool is his name, and he acts the fool. I your handmaid, did not see the young men whom my lord sent. Now, therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as you live, it is the Lord who has kept you from shedding blood and from avenging yourself personally. May your enemies and those who seek to harm my lord become as Nabal! Accept this present, then, which your maidservant has brought for my lord, and let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the transgression of your handmaid, for the Lord shall certainly establish a lasting dynasty for my lord, because your lordship is fighting the battles of the Lord, and there is no evil to be found in you your whole life long. . . And when the Lord carries out for my lord the promise of success he has made concerning you and appoints you as commander over Israel, you shall not have this as a qualm or burden on your consciences, my lord for having shed innocent blood or for having avenged yourself personally. When the Lord confers this benefit on your lordship, remember your handmaid.
David said to Abigail: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today. Blessed be your good judgment and blessed be you yourself, who this day have prevented me form shedding blood and from avenging myself personally. Otherwise, as the Lord, the god of Israel, lives who has restrained me form harming you, if you had not come so promptly to meet me, by Naval would not have had a single man or boy left alive.” David then took from her what she had brought him and said to her “Go up to you home in peace! See, I have granted your request as a personal favor.”
[Nabal this is struck dead by the Lord for his sin]
“David then sent a proposal of marriage to Abigail. When David’s servants came to Abigail in Carmel, they said to her, “David has sent us to you that he may take you as his wife.” Rising and bowing to the ground, she answered, “Your handmaid would become a slave to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.”