Nabel Rejects David’s Message of Protection

There was a man that had the reputation for always being able to catch fish. Regardless of the time of the year it was, or whether anybody else was catching fish, this man was always managed to come back with a boat load of fish. His brother-in-law, who happened to be a Game Ward … More


Samuel, the spiritual leader of Israel for many years, dies and is buried with honors in Ramah, the place where he was born. Historians say that the prophet was in his nineties when he died. Without Samuel, the spiritual leadership of Israel is gone until David becomes King.

The scene shifts to Nabal and his wife, Abigail, who are rich with this worlds goods and live in Carmel (v. 2). He had 1,000 goats and 3,000 sheep, which must have required a considerable amount of pasture land and would have given him virtual monopoly over the smaller farmers of the area.

On the basis of kindness and protection, David sends a ten-person delegation asking for food for his people. His request was legitimate in light of the favors he and his men had done for Nabal. Nabal, with utter contempt, scoffed at this request and refused to give anything. David’s men had no option but to return empty-handed. This so angered David that he decided to take 400 men and take forcibly from Nabal what he wanted.

David’s attitude in this situation is in marked contrast to what it had been when he spared Saul’s life.  With Saul, he had been controlled by spiritual principles and now he was intent on personal revenge.  Perhaps this was at least partially due to the fact that the council of his dear friend and confidant, Samuel, was now gone.


I should never allow the action of people govern our attitudes and reactions toward them but seek to apply the principles of God’s word in each situation.

I Samuel 25:1-17 (English Standard Version)

Now Samuel died. And all Israel assembled and mourned for him, and they buried him in his house at Ramah. Then David rose and went down to the wilderness of Paran. And there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite. David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. So David sent ten young men. And David said to the young men, "Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal and greet him in my name. And thus you shall greet him: 'Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.'" When David's young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David, and then they waited. And Nabal answered David's servants, "Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where?" So David's young men turned away and came back and told him all this. And David said to his men, "Every man strap on his sword!" And every man of them strapped on his sword. David also strapped on his sword. And about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage. But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, "Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them. Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is such a worthless man that one cannot speak to him."

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