In 1 Samuel 25:32–35, David was encouraged by Abigail’s words, responded with a threefold blessing, each element of which began with the word “blessed.”
- First, he declared “the Lord, the God of Israel” (1 Samuel 25:32) blessed for putting it in Abigail’s heart to come to David.
- Second he declared Abigail’s “discernment” (1 Samuel 25:33) which was so evident within her words, to be blessed.
- Finally he declared Abigail herself to be blessed (1 Samuel 25:33), since she deterred David “from bloodshed” and “avenging” himself with his “own hands.”
Abigail’s actions, though full of God’s wisdom were outrageous:
- She nullified her husband’s foolish intentions.
- She assumed moral culpability for actions in which she took no part,
- She gave away part of the family fortune as a gift to one of her husband’s enemies,
- She acted as a prophet and theologian—saved the day for everyone.
Having provided Abigail with a blessing, “David accepted from her hand what she had brought him” (1 Samuel 25:35). Then he confirmed orally the commitment to turn his armed force back and encouraged her to “go home in peace.”
In 1 Samuel 25:36–39a, when Abigail returned home in Carmel that evening, “Nabal was in the house holding a banquet” (1 Samuel 25:36) A banquet, such as this, was traditionally associated with the annual sheep shearing event. Thus, even though she had triumphant news for the clan, she was unable to share it because Nabal’s was “very drunk.”
Nabal’s judgment began the next morning when he “was sober” (1 Samuel 25:37) and Abigail told him about the recent events relating to David and his men. When he heard these words, “heart” “and he became like a stone.” In more contemporary medical terms, Nabal may have experienced a stroke that resulted in a coma.
Whatever the case, “ten days later” Nabal died (1 Samuel 25:38). But the writer was careful to note that the ultimate cause of Nabal’s death was not an unfortunate medical problem: “The Lord struck Nabal.” His death came as the direct result of personally administered divine judgment.
News of Nabal’s sudden death reached David. But he did not exult over his enemy’s death. Instead, the surprising reaction was a gracious prayer full of theological instruction. For the second time in this chapter (1 Samuel 25:32) David declared the Lord to be blessed. Here the Lord is declared blessed because of his actions as judge and pastor. In his role as arbiter of human disputes the Lord had vindicated David and punished Nabal. The Lord also was blessed because of his pastoral care for David’s soul; “he has kept his servant from doing wrong.”