Summary 1 Samuel 25:1-13:
Samuel died, and David moved to the Desert of Maon. There, a wealthy man named Nabal and his wife, Abigail, lived. His men were shearing sheep when David asked him to give him whatever he could. Nabal refused, so David prepared to fight.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 14, Day 2: 1 Samuel 25:1-13:
3) Part Personal Question. My answer: Nabal is “surly and mean in his dealings.” He is also greedy, ungenerous, and skeptical. I’m the same. I don’t believe people most of the time nor do I give out random things to people I don’t know. I bet Nabal got a lot of people begging from him, so he didn’t care who David was, the answer was no.
4) David immediately gets angry after a simple no. It seems David has gotten used to getting what he wants because of who he is since he identifies himself. He and his men put on their swords, seemingly with the intention to kill Nabal’s men and/or his livestock.
5) Personal Question. My answer: Those around me. Anger affects those closest to us. I need to be better when I don’t get my way. It all depends on what it is and how bad I want something. Still, we can’t have everything we want as David shows us here. We need to react calmly, not overreact, and move on with our lives.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 14, Day 2: 1 Samuel 25:1-13:
David does act impulsively, believing he is owed something by a man he had no agreement with. Maybe he and his men are starving. Still, that’s no reason to go and fight. It also seems like Samuel died unceremoniously. I’m sure he was remembered, but the writer here doesn’t care to go into it.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 14, Day 2: 1 Samuel 25:1-13:
Samuel seemed to be unappreciated by Israel during his life (1 Samuel 8:1-7) but at least he was honored in his death. 1 Chronicles 9:22 suggests he organized the Levites in the service of the sanctuary which was completed by David and Solomon. 1 Chronicles 26:27-28 says Samuel began collecting treasures for building the temple in Solomon’s day. 2 Chronicles 35:18 reports that Samuel remembered the Passover and kept Israel in remembrance of God’s great deliverance. Psalm 99:6 and Jeremiah 15:1 commemorate Samuel as a man of great intercession. Hebrews 11:33 puts Samuel among God’s “Heroes of Faith.”
What are the 4 kinds of riches?
- What you have
- What you do
- What you know
- What you are
Nabal only was wealthy in what he had.
This was the “harvest time” for a sheep rancher, which was a time of lavish hospitality towards others.
“Sheep-shearing was traditionally celebrated by feasting with enough to spare.” (Baldwin)
The name Nabal means fool. In ancient Israel, names were often connected with a person’s character. He was of the house of Caleb, which means dog. This was no compliment.
Why was Abigail with Nabal?
- We can understand it in that day of arranged marriages — a noble woman with a surly man. “It is remarkable how many Abigails get married to Nabals. God-fearing women, tender and gentle in the sensibilities, high-minded and noble in their ideals, become tied in an indissoluble union with men for whom they can have no true affinity, even if they have not an unconquerable repugnance.” (Meyer)
David believed because he protected Nabal’s sheep of his own accord that Nabal owed him compensation. How often do we do this?
Nabal had to have known who David was, because David was famous throughout all Israel (1 Samuel 18:5-7). Nabal said this as a direct insult to David – knowing who he was but refusing to recognize him. In our modern way of speaking, Nabal said, “Who does he think he is?”
Nabal looked at all of his material blessings as his instead of as God’s.
What do we learn by David’s overreaction?
This is not a high moment for David. He doesn’t respond the way God would have him respond to an insult. We are supposed to bear insults with love and kindness, returning their evil with our good. Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. (Matthew 5:38-39)
This is striking since we just saw in the previous chapter how David responds to Saul. David was able to be kind to Saul, but it seems to have been harder to do it towards someone he perceived as his equal or lower than himself. Often, this is true measure of our character – not how we treat our superiors, but how we treat our equals or those “beneath” us in some way or another.