1 Samuel 25:1 recorded the death of Samuel. While David was in the southern regions of Judah, his elderly friend and spiritual mentor, Samuel, died. The prophet’s death meant the loss of a national treasure and marked the end of an era in Israelite history. Appropriately, “all Israel”—perhaps including David and his men—“assembled and mourned for him.” Samuel was given an honorable burial in his house “in Ramah.”
Then in 1 Samuel 25:2–44, we read about an odd story how the the Lord sent a very wise woman to interrupt David from committing a grievous sin against a wealthy fool named Nabal.
In 1 Samuel 25:2–8, we see dwelling in the region of Maon was Nabal, a “very wealthy” (v. 2) Calebite. As the incident opened, he had his animals moved about a mile north of Maon to Carmel, a site previously mentioned in connection with a monument Saul built to himself (cf. 15:12). There he was shearing his sheep, a process that may be carried out twice annually, in the spring and early fall.
Nabal, whose name means “foolish,” was a member of the Calebite clan. A Calebite was an esteemed family in Judah that was apparently responsible for the founding of David’s hometown of Bethlehem. Nabal was certainly one of David’s kinsmen. David an his men worked for Nabal and had not been compensated.
However, Nabal was not an honorable man, being “hard and evil in his dealings.” Nabal’s wife was Abigail, one who was both “intelligent and beautiful.”