1 Samuel 25* Death of Samuel. (1) David's request; Nabal's churlishrefusal. (2-11) David's intention to destroy Nabal. (12-17)Abigail takes a present to David. (18-31) He is pacified, Nabaldies. (32-39) David takes Abigail to wife. (39-44)1 All Israel lamented Samuel, and they had reason. He prayeddaily for them. Those have hard hearts, who can bury faithfulministers without grief; who do not feel their loss of those whohave prayed for them, and taught them the way of the Lord. 2-11 We should not have heard of Nabal, if nothing had passedbetween him and David. Observe his name, Nabal, "A fool;" so itsignifies. Riches make men look great in the eye of the world;but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. Hehad no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, andill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a manthat cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting andsaving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of thisworld, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a manas David suffers want!, David pleaded the kindness Nabal'sshepherds had received. Considering that David's men were indistress and debt, and discontented, and the scarcity ofprovisions, it was by good management that they were kept fromplundering. Nabal went into a passion, as covetous men are aptto do, when asked for any thing, thinking thus to cover one sinwith another; and, by abusing the poor, to excuse themselvesfrom relieving them. But God will not thus be mocked. Let thishelp us to bear reproaches and misrepresentations with patienceand cheerfulness, and make us easy under them; it has often beenthe lot of the excellent ones of the earth. Nabal insists muchon the property he had in the provisions of his table. May henot do what he will with his own? We mistake, if we think we areabsolute lords of what we have, and may do what we please withit. 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 notwe be so? David determined to destroy Nabal, and all thatbelonged to him. Is this thy voice, O David? Has he been so longin the school of affliction, where he should have learnedpatience, and yet is so passionate? He at other times was calmand considerate, but is put into such a heat by a few hardwords, that he seeks to destroy a whole family. What are thebest of men, when God leaves them to themselves, that they mayknow what is in their hearts? What need to pray, Lord, lead usnot into temptation! 18-31 By a present Abigail atoned for Nabal's denial of David'srequest. Her behaviour was very submissive. Yielding pacifiesgreat offences. She puts herself in the place of a penitent, andof a petitioner. She could not excuse her husband's conduct. Shedepends not upon her own reasonings, but on God's grace, tosoften David, and expects that grace would work powerfully. Shesays that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak anddespicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him nokindness, so he could do him no hurt. She foretells the gloriousend of David's present troubles. God will preserve thy life;therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to takeaway the lives of any, especially of the people of thy God andSaviour. Abigail keeps this argument for the last, as verypowerful with so good a man; that the less he indulged hispassion, the more he consulted his peace and the repose of hisown conscience. Many have done that in a heat, which they have athousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge issoon turned into bitterness. When tempted to sin, we shouldconsider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards. 32-39 David gives God thanks for sending him this happy checkin a sinful way. Whoever meet us with counsel, direction,comfort, caution, or seasonable reproof, we must see God sendingthem. We ought to be very thankful for those happy providenceswhich are the means of keeping us from sinning. Most peoplethink it enough, if they take reproof patiently; but few willtake it thankfully, and commend those who give it, and accept itas a favour. The nearer we are to committing sin, the greater isthe mercy of a seasonable restraint. Sinners are often mostsecure when most in danger. He was very drunk. A sign he wasNabal, a fool, that could not use plenty without abusing it; whocould not be pleasant with his friends without making a beast ofhimself. There is not a surer sign that a man has but littlewisdom, nor a surer way to destroy the little he has, thandrinking to excess. Next morning, how he is changed! His heartovernight merry with wine, next morning heavy as a stone; sodeceitful are carnal pleasures, so soon passes the laughter ofthe 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 hehad been kept from killing Nabal. Worldly sorrow, mortifiedpride, and an affrighted conscience, sometimes end the joys ofthe sensualist, and separate the covetous man from his wealth;but, whatever the weapon, the Lord smites men with death when itpleases him. 39-44 Abigail believed that David would be king over Israel,and greatly esteemed his pious and excellent character. Shedeemed his proposal of marriage honourable, and advantageous toher, notwithstanding his present difficulties. With greathumility, and doubtless agreeably to the customs of those times,she consented, being willing to share his trails. Thus those whojoin themselves to Christ, must be willing now to suffer withhim, believing that hereafter they shall reign with him.
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