The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 25

1Sa 25:1

The ones who wished to reject Samuel's leadership in favor of a king now sorrow at his removal.

DESERT OF MAON: Further away from Saul. With the death of Samuel, the last poss restraint to Saul's conduct is gone.

1Sa 25:2

1Sa 25: After great overcomings re Saul, David is in danger of succumbing to vengeance in a relatively minor matter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (Mat 26:41). The "little foxes" spoil the vines (Song 2:15). Our reactions to the lesser irritations of life most reveal our characters. Peter was bold before soldiers in the garden, but soon after was fearful of a servant girl.

CARMEL: A city of Judah, in the uplands near Hebron, named with Maon and Ziph (Jos 15:55). Not the more famous Carmel of the northwestern seacoast.

1Sa 25:3

ABIGAIL: Repr the ecclesia, a parable: yoked to an evil lord (cp Col 2:14), and barren (cp Rom 7:1-4).

A CALEBITE: The degenerate shoot of a once-noble vine.

1Sa 25:4

NABAL WAS SHEARING SHEEP: Nabal would need to hire extra men and provide more food, etc at this time. So David might expect his request to be heeded now. Shearing -- a time for feasting and celebration (2Sa 13:23; Gen 38:13). "There was an unwritten law of the wilderness -- that shepherds should pay nomadic tribesmen for immunity [and/or protection] from attack" (Tes 31:252).

1Sa 25:10

Nabal has an opportunity to show kindness to Yahweh's Anointed -- but he does not take it. "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me" (Mat 25:45, AV).

WHO IS THIS DAVID?: "I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' " (Pro 30:9a).

WHO IS THIS SON OF JESSE?: Showing that Nabal did know something of this David after all!

1Sa 25:11

And so the ecclesia might say, 'Shall we take the bread and the wine and all the blessings of our fellowship and share them with others whom we don't even know?' But... is the bread and wine and word of God OURS, or God's?

Such a refusal is contrary to Deu 15:7-11.

"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice" (Pro 12:15).

1Sa 25:12

SO DAVID'S MEN TURNED AROUND AND WENT BACK: Admirably restraining themselves.

WHEN THEY ARRIVED, THEY REPORTED EVERY WORD: When reviled, they did not revile in return (1Pe 2:23), but went to tell David (the "beloved").

1Sa 25:13

No prayer, no reflection, only the seeking of revenge.

1Sa 25:14

ABIGAIL: Her name sig "a father's joy". Abigail: joy of a father, wife of a fool, servant of a king!

1Sa 25:15

Abigail sym the ecclesia: a "messenger" tells her of the goodness of the "Beloved".

1Sa 25:17

Nabal's servant is activated by the sheer desire for self-preservation. Note the tools God uses in His providence.

1Sa 25:18

"It sometimes happens that the husband is overbearing, and forgets the conditions which engender a loving and ready service on the part of his wife. He neglects the working out of his pattern, and takes to admonishing his wife about some flaw in her attitude, instead of acting the part that would remove the flaw. Paul nowhere enjoins upon the husband to assert his headship over his wife; but exhorts him to meet his wife's loving and spontaneous subjection by following the example of Christ, with the great love with which he loved the ecclesia. However, to follow this, would lead me out of my province. I must leave him to think it up for himself, hoping he may, as the result, approve the more excellent way. I direct my thoughts and counsel to the sister-wife who finds herself mated with such a one. Her task will be a difficult one, but let her not quail before it. Let her by all means endeavour to fulfil in a becoming manner the duties and responsibilities of her position. Let the dignity and patience of her meek and quiet spirit, be the means of heaping coals of fire upon the head of her faulty companion, if such she have. Let her remember that a 'soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger' [Pro 15:1]. If she has a Nabal to deal with, she can at least, like Abigail of old, show herself to be a woman of good understanding; and her wisdom may, like her, avert much evil that would otherwise come upon her household" (Jane Roberts).

Allegory: (1) Tidings of impending doom call forth action; (2) Gifts are brought to the King.

1Sa 25:21

It may be that God withdraws all guidance from time to time, so that we may be reminded what is naturally in our hearts!

1Sa 25:22

MAY GOD DEAL WITH DAVID, BE IT EVER SO SEVERELY, IF...; See Lesson, Covenant-victim, the.

1Sa 25:23

BOWED DOWN BEFORE DAVID: Faith's acknowledgment of Yahweh's Anointed One.

1Sa 25:24

Allegory: confession of "iniquity".

1Sa 25:25

"A word aptly spoken" (Pro 25:11).

1Sa 25:26


1Sa 25:28

THE LORD WILL CERTAINLY MAKE A LASTING DYNASTY FOR MY MASTER: A reference to future, to draw David's mind away from present vengeance.

HE FIGHTS THE LORD'S BATTLES: And not his own personal vendettas!

1Sa 25:29

SOMEONE: "A man" (AV): ref to Saul. Note that she does not call Saul the king! (Cp idea, Paul's words: "I did not realize that he was the high priest": Act 23:5.)

THE BUNDLE OF THE LIVING: Abigail's words to David use a beautiful illustration: the "bundle of life", or "the bundle of the living".

The "bundle" (Heb 'tserowr') was a pouch where precious possessions were kept: the same Heb word occurs in Gen 42:35 (the money pouches); Pro 7:20 (the purse filled with money); and Hag 1:6 (purse).

"It is a very beautiful expression, especially when you consider what the word bundle would mean in those times. Nowadays we do not usually associate anything precious with a bundle. It is rather the other way. If a household were removing, for instance, it would be the odds and ends, the things of little value, that would likely be put into a bundle for convenience of removal. The precious things of the household would be secured in some safer way than by being simply huddled together in a bundle. A commercial traveller, in journeying by rail, would have his big bundles in the van, but anything particularly valuable would be carried by himself in pocket book or hand bag securely fastened. But in those primitive days they had not such elaborate means of securing safety. In shifting their tents to pastures new, any things of special value would simply be bound up in a bundle, and the husband or wife would see to it that that bundle was well looked after on the journey. It would be with them on their camel, or somewhere where they could always see it. Note, however, in passing, that other metaphor Abigail makes use of with regard to the enemies of David: 'The souls of thine enemies, them shall He sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.' It is a very forcible way of putting it. It just means emphatically the opposite of the care and attention connected with the bundle. What could be thought more lightly of than the stone slung out of a sling? So, the bundle implies that which is particularly valuable, whereas the stone slung out of a sling suggests that which is worthless, not worth taking any trouble or concern about" (BI).

The ultimate, and most beautiful, picture illustrating this concept is Mal 3:16,17 -- although the same Hebrew word is not used here, the idea is very relevant: "Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. 'They will be mine,' says the LORD Almighty, 'in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.' "

What a "picture" of redemption: to be taken by the loving hand of an Omnipotent Father, and "bound up" in the bundle of His special and treasured possessions, to be kept safe and secure close by Him, through all travels and trials, until the final destination is reached.

1Sa 25:31

'Let your coming glory regulate your present actions!' Don't throw away those great and precious promises on a trivial grudge!

Rom 12:18-21.

REMEMBER YOUR SERVANT: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luk 23:42).

1Sa 25:32

Vv 32,33: Blessed be (1) Yahweh, (2) you, and (3) your good judgment

"Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is a wise man's [or woman's!] rebuke to a listening ear" (Pro 25:12).

Wise men listen to advice, even from subordinates.

1Sa 25:33

Oaths (ie v 22) must not bind us to do that which is wrong.

1Sa 25:36

HE WAS IN THE HOUSE HOLDING A BANQUET LIKE THAT OF A KING: "A king is called to nobleness of character, and not merely to wealth and fine clothes" (Log 44:373). Nabal had the opportunity to invite a king to his feast, and he did not! "Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!" (Isa 22:13; 1Co 5:32; Jam 5:5).

1Sa 25:37

"Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief" (Pro 14:13).

1Sa 25:38

"If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!" (Pro 11:31). Cp parable of rich fool: Luk 16:15-21. "She who lives in pleasure... dead while alive" (1Ti 5:6).

Allegory: The old "husband" is removed out of the way (cp Rom 7). "Vengeance is mine" (Rom 12:19).

1Sa 25:41

Great modesty and humility of a now-wealthy woman toward a fugitive and a beggar.

1Sa 25:42

She forsakes a comfortable position to share his trials and hardships. "If we suffer, we shall reign with him" (2Ti 2:12). Abigail's wealth and her servants were now added to the service of David, the king in exile!

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