1 Samuel 25

* Death of Samuel. (1) David's request; Nabal's churlish

refusal. (2-11) David's intention to destroy Nabal. (12-17)

Abigail takes a present to David. (18-31) He is pacified, Nabal

dies. (32-39) David takes Abigail to wife. (39-44)

1 All Israel lamented Samuel, and they had reason. He prayed

daily for them. Those have hard hearts, who can bury faithful

ministers without grief; who do not feel their loss of those who

have prayed for them, and taught them the way of the Lord.
2-11 We should not have heard of Nabal, if nothing had passed

between him and David. Observe his name, Nabal, "A fool;" so it

signifies. Riches make men look great in the eye of the world;

but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He

had no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, and

ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a man

that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and

saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this

world, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a man

as David suffers want!, David pleaded the kindness Nabal's

shepherds had received. Considering that David's men were in

distress and debt, and discontented, and the scarcity of

provisions, it was by good management that they were kept from

plundering. Nabal went into a passion, as covetous men are apt

to do, when asked for any thing, thinking thus to cover one sin

with another; and, by abusing the poor, to excuse themselves

from relieving them. But God will not thus be mocked. Let this

help us to bear reproaches and misrepresentations with patience

and cheerfulness, and make us easy under them; it has often been

the lot of the excellent ones of the earth. Nabal insists much

on the property he had in the provisions of his table. May he

not do what he will with his own? We mistake, if we think we are

absolute lords of what we have, and may do what we please with

it. No; we are but stewards, and must use it as we are directed,

remembering it is not our own, but His who intrusted us with it.
12-17 God is kind to the evil and unthankful, and why may not

we be so? David determined to destroy Nabal, and all that

belonged to him. Is this thy voice, O David? Has he been so long

in the school of affliction, where he should have learned

patience, and yet is so passionate? He at other times was calm

and considerate, but is put into such a heat by a few hard

words, that he seeks to destroy a whole family. What are the

best of men, when God leaves them to themselves, that they may

know what is in their hearts? What need to pray, Lord, lead us

not into temptation!
18-31 By a present Abigail atoned for Nabal's denial of David's

request. Her behaviour was very submissive. Yielding pacifies

great offences. She puts herself in the place of a penitent, and

of a petitioner. She could not excuse her husband's conduct. She

depends not upon her own reasonings, but on God's grace, to

soften David, and expects that grace would work powerfully. She

says that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and

despicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him no

kindness, so he could do him no hurt. She foretells the glorious

end of David's present troubles. God will preserve thy life;

therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take

away the lives of any, especially of the people of thy God and

Saviour. Abigail keeps this argument for the last, as very

powerful with so good a man; that the less he indulged his

passion, the more he consulted his peace and the repose of his

own conscience. Many have done that in a heat, which they have a

thousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge is

soon turned into bitterness. When tempted to sin, we should

consider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards.
32-39 David gives God thanks for sending him this happy check

in a sinful way. Whoever meet us with counsel, direction,

comfort, caution, or seasonable reproof, we must see God sending

them. We ought to be very thankful for those happy providences

which are the means of keeping us from sinning. Most people

think it enough, if they take reproof patiently; but few will

take it thankfully, and commend those who give it, and accept it

as a favour. The nearer we are to committing sin, the greater is

the mercy of a seasonable restraint. Sinners are often most

secure when most in danger. He was very drunk. A sign he was

Nabal, a fool, that could not use plenty without abusing it; who

could not be pleasant with his friends without making a beast of

himself. There is not a surer sign that a man has but little

wisdom, nor a surer way to destroy the little he has, than

drinking to excess. Next morning, how he is changed! His heart

overnight merry with wine, next morning heavy as a stone; so

deceitful are carnal pleasures, so soon passes the laughter of

the fool; the end of that mirth is heaviness. Drunkards are sad,

when they reflect upon their own folly. About ten days after,

the Lord smote Nabal, that he died. David blessed God that he

had been kept from killing Nabal. Worldly sorrow, mortified

pride, and an affrighted conscience, sometimes end the joys of

the sensualist, and separate the covetous man from his wealth;

but, whatever the weapon, the Lord smites men with death when it

pleases him.
39-44 Abigail believed that David would be king over Israel,

and greatly esteemed his pious and excellent character. She

deemed his proposal of marriage honourable, and advantageous to

her, notwithstanding his present difficulties. With great

humility, and doubtless agreeably to the customs of those times,

she consented, being willing to share his trails. Thus those who

join themselves to Christ, must be willing now to suffer with

him, believing that hereafter they shall reign with him.

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