Study Notes

1Samuel 25:1-44

25:1 Samuel Dies

Samuel died. One thing we learn very quickly as we go through the Scriptures is that everybody dies. We all do the best we can to avoid it, but at best, we're just postponing it.

Hebr. 9:27 is appointed for men to die once and after this {comes} judgment

And in the church, we talk a lot about where you will be going after you die. But we don't often discuss what others will be saying after you're died. What kind of legacy will be left behind you? What kind of eulogy will be spoken over you? What kind of comments will be made about you?

In the book of Acts, we see an example of what our passing should bring.

Acts 9:36-39 Now in Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did. And it came about at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, entreating him, "Do not delay to come to us." And Peter arose and went with them. And when he had come, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them.

What an impact Tabitha had on the people around her! She was a disciple, abounding in deeds of kindness and charity. Making tunics and garments for people.

I also think of Jesus' obituary for Antipas. After he had died, Jesus said of him,

Rev. 2:13 ...Antipas, My witness, My faithful one...

Those are the kind of statements I want said about me when I die. For Samuel, an entire nation assembled together and mourned for him.

Afterwards, David went down to the wilderness of Paw-RAWN.

25:2-3 Nabal And Abigail

Naw-BAWL was a man who lived in Maw-OHN, and was extremely rich. Although his wife was pretty and smart, he was basically a creep. He must have been that way from childhood, for his parents named him, "fool."

He was a descendant of Caleb, who had proven to be faithful towards the Lord, and was one of only two old guys that God allowed into the promised land (Num. 32:12). The Word says of Caleb,

Josh. 14:14 ...he followed the LORD God of Israel fully.

This makes Naw-BAWL seem even more wicked worthless, when we see his ancestor Caleb being such a righteous man.

His business was in Carmel, and it was time to shear his 3,000 sheep. Sheep shearing was a special time in those days. Just as farmers celebrated the harvest, men that raised sheep celebrated the shearing seasons. It was typically a time of feasting and generosity. But Naw-BAWL's personality was more like Ebenezer Scrooge at Christmastime.

25:4-8 David's Request

David and his 600 men continue to hide in the wilderness, knowing that if they returned to the kingdom, Saul's schizophrenic reactions could result in their deaths. As a result, the generosity of a rich man with food would certainly be welcome.

Ask About Our Reputation

David sent ten men to greet Naw-BAWL and to let him know that David and his men had protected Naw-BAWL's shepherds from marauders in the wilderness. They got along wonderfully, and there had not even been a hint of theft from their camp.

David and his men had spotlessly maintained their reputations with their behavior. This is something that we must maintain in our lives as well. The Scriptures tell us,

Phil. 2:15 ...prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world

We must not do anything that would stain our reputations, because as ambassadors of Christ, we represent Christ. I'll never forget the first time my bubble was burst regarding Christians' reputations. I had just gotten a job at Living Epistles, a Christian t-shirt printing company. As I was taking the tour, meeting the people, and finding out what each person did, I met one man whose job it was to get people to pay their bills and send them to collections if they didn't. I was aghast! Christians were writing bad checks? Christian bookstores weren't paying their bills? That deeply affected me.

This is why the Scripture is so adamant about church leadership having a good reputation and being above reproach. The first deacons chosen were not just to be full of the Spirit and wisdom, but men of good reputation. An elders must be above reproach...

1Tim. 3:7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church...

We must live as ambassadors of Christ in this world.

David and his men had been above reproach, and during this festive time, David expected the Naw-BAWL would be thankful, and as a result, generous.

25:9-11 Nabal's Refusal

Naw-BAWL not only denied their request, but insulted David as well. He as much as accused David of being a runaway slave, having broken off from his master, King Saul. Of course, the truth was that David had run for his life from Saul's murderous insanity.

25:12-13 Gird On Your Sword

When David heard what Naw-BAWL had said, he immediately decided to retaliate. Like a typical red-head, his temper got the best of him, and he told 400 of his men to gird on their swords. He was going to kill not only Naw-BAWL, but every one of his men.

This at first seems surprising. I mean, after all, hadn't David been insulted and given a bad deal previously by King Saul? He had been accused of treachery and insubordination and had spears thrown at him at least three times! Yet all the while, David entrusted himself to the Lord, and refused to retaliate. Instead of taking the opportunities he'd had to kill Saul, he refused.

But now, here is this insignificant man Naw-BAWL, who refuses generosity and casts an insult at David, and David is ready to kill! This surprised me until I began to look at my own Christian life. After all, I have been very godly and magnanimous to many people. They insult me, I pray for them. I obey the commandment of Christ,

Luke 6:35-36 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

But do I always do that? When someone cuts me off on the street, sometimes I'd just as soon pummel them as pray for them. If we look honestly at our Christian lives, David's behavior won't seem odd, it will seem very familiar.

Of course, this in no way excuses David's behavior (or ours for that matter). The Scriptures say,

Prov. 26:4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.

At this point, the devil was having the victory. David was operating completely in the flesh.

25:14-23 Abigail's Discovery

When Naw-BAWL's wife Abigail found out what her husband had said and done when this request was made of him, she knew that she had to make peace.

She gathered a large gift of provisions and met David on the way.

25:24-31 Abigail's Intercession

Naw-BAWL didn't deserve any mercy - he was a worthless man. But Abigail was standing in the gap between Naw-BAWL and David. She was making intercession for him, making atonement for his sin against David.

This is a great reminder to us about what Jesus Christ does. You see, we are each like Naw-BAWL. Selfish, self-centered, and self-serving. Wicked and worthless. But in spite of that, God loved us and interceded for us.

Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus stood between me and my death sentence. Although I was no better than Naw-BAWL, he came to my rescue, just as Abigail did for him.

25:32-35 David's Response

David's wrath was appeased, and he resolved not to kill Naw-BAWL for his transgression.

25:36-38 Nabal Dies

When Naw-BAWL found out what his wife had done, he was enraged. Rather than repenting for his wickedness, he embittered himself against her for her interference in the matter. His wickedness and bitterness immediately consumed him, and he had a heart attack or a stroke. Then days later, he died.

If we follow the example of Abigail interceding for Naw-BAWL like Christ has interceded for sinners, then we see that it is up to us, after hearing the message of Christ, to repent of our wickedness. To be sorrowful over our sin. To turn our hearts around. If not, they become as stones and we will die.

The Bible says several times,


Naw-BAWL refused to receive the blessing of Abigail's intercession, refused to repent. The result was a hardened heart and his subsequent death.

25:39 The Lord Has Returned The Evildoing

If you're not at a point in your Christian life where you realize that God's will is for you to intercede for your enemies, then at least realize this:

Rom. 12:17-19 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath {of God,} for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.

It's never up to us to exact vengeance. It's never in my own hands to take revenge. God is very good at working those things out on His own. I don't need to - I'm not even allowed to - do it myself.

25:40-44 David's Wives

Abigail became David's third wife. First, he had married Me-KAWL, King Saul's daughter. But after David had fled the kingdom and Me-KAWL told her father that he'd threatened to kill her if she hadn't helped him escape, Saul gave his daughter to Pal-TEE, the son of LAH-yish, from Gal-LEEM in marriage.

Then, during his time in the wilderness, David married Akh-ee-NO-am of Yiz-reh-ALE. Now he is marrying his third wife, one of two that are still with him. It seems that a lot of guys in the Bible had more than one wife at a time. Does this mean that polygamy is right in God's eyes?

In Matthew 19 we read,

Matt. 19:3-6 And {some} Pharisees came to Him, testing Him, and saying, "Is it lawful {for a man} to divorce his wife for any cause at all?" And He answered and said, "Have you not read, that He who created {them} from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

Notice the numbers Jesus used. A man. His wife. Two becoming one. Polygamy is not justified. Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 7:2 ...Let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.

Again, singular nouns there.

But polygamy isn't really an issue these days. How can we apply this principle to our spiritual lives? As we read the New Testament, we discover that the marriage bond is actually a picture that God created to demonstrate to the world the relationship between Christ and the church. Paul said,

Eph. 5:31-32 FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

If we look at marriage in this light, then we must ask ourselves again: are we polygamists? Are we wholeheartedly committed to and in love with Jesus Christ, or is He just one of our many loves? Jesus said,

Matt. 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Do you love money too? Do you love this world too? If so, you're practicing spiritual polygamy. Jesus told the Church at Ephesus,

Rev. 2:4-5 "...I have {this} against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first..."

May we love Jesus Christ as the greatest commandment teaches us to:


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