Who was Abigail in the Bible?

King David had a complicated family life with multiple wives and many children. David's third wife was named Abigail. Her story is found in 1 Samuel 25.

In the later years of king Saul's reign of Israel, he fought continuously with David and his army. While David was camped in the wilderness of Paran he and his men helped protect local shepherds. One day he reached out to the wealthy landowner the shepherds served, named Nabal, for food and supplies. Nabal was a mean and selfish man and refused David. David was angry and planned to take revenge by killing all the men of the household of Nabal. However, Nabal's wife, Abigail, found out what happened and went out to meet David. She brought him gifts and apologized for her husband's foolish behavior. Then she pleaded that David would turn from his wrath and praised him for the work he was doing in God's name. Swayed by her actions, David decided to not seek revenge. When Abigail returned home, she found Nabal hosting a feast and very drunk. In the morning, Abigail told Nabal what happened and his heart failed him. Ten days later, God struck Nabal dead. Upon hearing this David praised God for avenging him and took Abigail as his wife.

Abigail was kind and intelligent. A godly woman, she understood the will of God and submitted to it. She recognized God's intentions to remove Saul from power and put David on the throne. She was discerning in confronting David and kept him out of sin. David thanked her for this and repented of his desire to seek revenge. As a result, God avenged David by taking Nabal's life. Likewise, Abigail protected her foolish husband and did for David what Nabal should have done in the first place. Abigail is a profound example of a strong woman. She respected the men in her life rather than belittle them. Her goal was not to be better than them, but rather to bring the best out of them. She embodied the godly woman described in Proverbs 31:10–31.

Even though she lived long before Jesus was born, Abigail demonstrates several of His characteristics. Her actions were motivated not by self-preservation, but by a duty to do the right thing. She lived in a difficult environment with a difficult husband, but never used that as an excuse to be disobedient to God or disrespectful to her husband. Ultimately, she was willing to sacrifice her well-being in order to protect her household.

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