There is a story in the Old Testament of a woman who was an expert at dealing with angry people. Abigail is described in 1 Samuel as beautiful, approachable and intelligent. On the other hand, her wealthy husband, Nabal, was an angry, mean, wicked man. Nabal was a descendant of Caleb, whose name means Ďdog.í Nabalís own name means Ďfoolí so we begin to get an idea of his character.
In the times of arranged marriages, often the best women were taken by wealthy, but not always good, men. Itís interesting that the same kind of mismatched marriages often happen today, when we marry by choice.
The future king David camped near Nabalís land. He was in need of food so he sent ten of his men to request Nabalís assistance. David and his men had been kind and protected Nabalís shepherds in the past and relied on Nabal to return the favor. However, after bringing greetings from David, the men were turned away with nothing but insults ringing in their ears. Nabal went back to his festivities unaware that he had just angered a mighty warrior in charge of 600 fighting men. David was a good man who could sometimes act recklessly if provoked. In his anger he set off with 400 of his men, intent on killing Nabal and every man who worked for him.
When Nabalís servants heard of Davidís plan, they ran first to Abigail, probably having watched her repair her husbandís blunders before. Abigail took immediate action and went out to meet David with gifts of food and persuasion. Undeterred by the army armed for attack, she humbly, reminded David of his great destiny and what a burden it would be to shed blood needlessly. This godly woman was respectful and straight-forward in her approach and she won David's favor without making use of her beauty and feminine charms.
After having single-handedly turned back an avenging army, Abigail returned home to find her husband blissfully unaware and very drunk. Iím sure she was the one to become angry this time, but she calmly waited until morning to tell a sober Nabal what had almost become of him. The shock must have been too much for him, because he suffered a heart attack and ten days later he died.
This story has a happy ending. When David heard of Nabalís death, he praised God for keeping him from revenge, and he remembered the woman who was so wise in handling his anger.
Then David sent word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.
Abigail knew that
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
David found out that
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. Proverbs 15:3
Read about Abigail in 1 Samuel chapter 25.
Something to think about:
- Whether you are married or unmarried, what character traits in a spouse are important to you? Financial success? Power? Goodness? Godly judgment?
- When faced with an avenging army or an angry coworker, are you likely to turn away in fear, react with similar anger, or to stand your ground and use humility and wise judgment in reasoning with them?