Where Can Wisdom Be Found? 

Can the beautiful also be wise?

First Samuel 25

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • February 1, In the year of our Lord, 2015

Scripture Reader and Reading: Gene Tomlinson – Job 28.12–20

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on Wisdom


  1. Solomon said,

    14 A gift in secret pacifies anger,
    And a bribe behind the back, strong wrath.
    (Pro 21.14)
  2. Let me show you a woman who knew the wisdom of 
    1. a gift in secret and
    2. a bribe behind the back, and
      1. who in so doing pacified anger and
      2. prevented the outpouring of strong wrath.


  1. First Samuel 25.1 – Samuel dies

    1 Then Samuel died; and the Israelites gathered together and lamented for him, and buried him at his home in Ramah. And David arose and went down to the Wilderness of Paran.
  2. First Samuel 25.2–3 – Nabal and Abigail

    2 Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 3 The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb.
  3. First Samuel 25.4–9 – David asks for assistance

    4 When David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep, 5 David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, “Go up to Carmel, go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. 6 And thus you shall say to him who lives in prosperity: ‘Peace be to you, peace to your house, and peace to all that you have! 7 Now I have heard that you have shearers. Your shepherds were with us, and we did not hurt them, nor was there anything missing from them all the while they were in Carmel. 8 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 comes to your hand to your servants and to your son David.’” 9 So when David’s young men came, they spoke to Nabal according to all these words in the name of David, and waited.
  4. First Samuel 25.10–11 – Nabal the miser

    10 Then Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. 11 Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers, and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?”
  5. First Samuel 25.12–13 – David’s anger

    12 So David’s young men turned on their heels and went back; and they came and told him all these words. 13 Then David said to his men, “Every man gird on his sword.” So every man girded on his sword, and David also girded on his sword. And about four hundred men went with David, and two hundred stayed with the supplies.
  6. First Samuel 25.14–17 – A young man intervenes

    14 Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, “Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he reviled them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep. 17 Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him.”
  7. First Samuel 25.18–20 – Abigail’s gift

    18 Then Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep already dressed, five seahs of roasted grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 So it was, as she rode on the donkey, that she went down under cover of the hill; and there were David and his men, coming down toward her, and she met them.
  8. First Samuel 25.20–22 – David’s anger

    21 Now David had said, “Surely in vain I have protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belongs to him. And he has repaid me evil for good. 22 May God do so, and more also, to the enemies of David, if I leave one male of all who belong to him by morning light.”
  9. First Samuel 25.23–31 – Abigail’s gift pacifies anger

    23 Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground. 24 So she fell at his feet and said: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be! And please let your maidservant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your maidservant. 25 Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal. For as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! But I, your maidservant, did not see the young men of my lord whom you sent. 26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, since the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hand, now then, let your enemies and those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal. 27 And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. 28 Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. For the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil is not found in you throughout your days. 29 Yet a man has risen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out, as from the pocket of a sling. 30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord has done for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler over Israel, 31 that this will be no grief to you, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself. But when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”
  10. First Samuel 25.32–34 – David blesses God, Abigail’s advice, and Abigail

    32 Then David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! 33 And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand. 34 For indeed, as the Lord God of Israel lives, who has kept me back from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, surely by morning light no males would have been left to Nabal!”
  11. First Samuel 25.35 – David accepts her gift and cools off

    35 So David received from her hand what she had brought him, and said to her, “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have heeded your voice and respected your person.”
  12. First Samuel 25.36–38 – The miser dies

    36 Now Abigail went to Nabal, and there he was, holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. And Nabal’s heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; therefore she told him nothing, little or much, until morning light. 37 So it was, in the morning, when the wine had gone from Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. 38 Then it happened, after about ten days, that the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
  13. First Samuel 25.39–40 – David blesses God again

    39 So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil! For the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.” And David sent and proposed to Abigail, to take her as his wife. 40 When the servants of David had come to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her saying, “David sent us to you, to ask you to become his wife.”
  14. First Samuel 25.41–44 – Abigail the humble

    41 Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, “Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” 42 So Abigail rose in haste and rode on a donkey, attended by five of her maidens; and she followed the messengers of David, and became his wife. 43 David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel, and so both of them were his wives. 44 But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim.
  15. First Samuel 25.1 – A Greater Than Samuel Came to the Earth 
    1. Do you know how great the man Samuel was?
      1. Listen to the Lord when He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet,

        1 Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth (Jer 15.1).
      2. The Lord put Samuel in the same category as Moses,
        1. making the point that Judah had become so exceedingly sinful
        2. that not even the great men Moses and Samuel
          1. could turn the wrath of God from His people,
          2. meaning that they often could do that, but
            1. not in this case.
      3. Yet, as great as was Samuel,
        1. look at all the Bible says about his death:
          1. He died,
          2. The Israelites gathered together and mourned for him,
          3. They buried him at his home in Ramah.
        2. That is it!
      4. Contrast that with what the Bible says about the death of Jesus:
        1. Prophesying of His death in the Hebrew Scriptures,
        2. giving four accounts of His death, and
        3. being the foundation of all New Testament preaching.
    2. David risked his life to go to a public gathering, but
      1. to him it was worth it, because
      2. the first time David met the man,
        1. he anointed him as the second king of Israel, and
        2. David went to him later as Saul persecuted David.
  16. First Samuel 25.2–3 – Wisdom, Wealth, and Beauty, You Have Them All 
    1. Nabal was very rich.
      1. His wealth consisted of 3,000 sheep and a 1,000 goats, totally 4,000.
      2. If the Bible called him “very rich,” for that many livestock,
        1. then what about Job, who had
        2. 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 oxen, and 500 donkeys, totally 11000?
          1. The Bible says he “was the greatest of all the people of the East.”
          2. If the Bible says he was the greatest in the East,
            1. then what about the people of whom this can be said?

              21b For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1Co 3.21–23).
            2. You think Nabal was rich?
            3. What about us according to First Corinthians 3?
    2. The text also speaks of his beautiful wife.
      1. As his wife, she also was very rich.
      2. Yet, she was a woman of good understanding and
        1. not harsh and evil in her doings.
        2. She was beautiful on the outside, but more beautiful on the inside.
  17. First Samuel 25.4–9 – Work for Others 
    1. David granted peace to Nabal.
    2. David guarded the sheep of Nabal.
    3. David wanted grace from Nabal.
  18. First Samuel 25.10–11 – Stinginess Kills 
    1. More than a miser, Nabal was stingy.
    2. If he truly wanted to know whether it was David,
      1. all Nabal had to do was ask his workers.
    3. However, he had no intention of giving anything to David.
      1. Nabal was a taker, not a giver.
      2. Nabal took blessings, and did not give them.
  19. First Samuel 25.12–13 – Anger Kills 
    1. Why David responded with rage toward Nabal,
      1. when David had not responded with rage toward Saul,
      2. I do not know.
    2. As you can see, David intended on wiping out Nabal and all that was his.
    3. That can happen when we have done someone good,
      1. even when they have not asked for it, and
        1. they do not appreciate it, or
        2. they even despise us.
      2. You did what you were supposed to do, but
        1. make sure that you do not let their harsh and evil ways
        2. make you do something that you are not supposed to do.
  20. First Samuel 25.14–17 – The Unknown Save the Day 
    1. This unnamed young man saved the day.
      1. He saved Abigail and all who were good in her household.
      2. He saved David from sin.
        1. We do not know this young man’s name,
        2. nor do we know what became of him, but
          1. God knows.
          2. God shall bless that young man.
    2. The young man revealed to Abigail
      1. what David did, but
      2. how Nabal treated David’s messengers, and
      3. the young man told her to know and consider what to do, because
        1. he could see that harm was headed their way, and
        2. he spoke freely to Abigail about her scoundrel of a husband and
          1. the difficulty of speaking to him.
          2. She seemed to take no offense at what the young man said.
            1. She knew enough that the young man spoke the truth, and
            2. Nabal’s harsh treatment of the messengers did not shock her.
  21. First Samuel 25.18–20 – Give in Secret 
    1. Here is the true beauty of Abigail.
    2. Here is where she lived the Proverb of one of David’s future sons,

      14 A gift in secret pacifies anger,
      And a bribe behind the back, strong wrath.
      (Pro 21.14)
    3. What did she think when she saw David and 400 soldiers with him?
      1. She could have run,
      2. leaving her husband and for David to take action against him.
        1. However, she could not pacify her husband, but
        2. she might be able to pacify David and
          1. save herself and her household in the process, and
          2. keep David from sinning.
  22. First Samuel 25.20–22 – Your Work Is Not in Vain 
    1. David believed his efforts had been in vain.
      1. Were David’s efforts of good toward this man in vain?
      2. I do not believe so, because
        1. God knew what David had done, and
        2. if Nabal would not help David,
          1. then the Lord would help David some other way.
          2. The Lord notices all the good that we do and repays it,

            42 “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matt 10.42).

            10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister (Heb 6.10).

    2. David’s rage not only would have nullified all his good, but
      1. he then would have been guilty of sin, and
      2. been in trouble with the Lord.
  23. First Samuel 25.23–31 – Speak Words of Wisdom 
    1. This very rich woman fell on her face before the young man David.
      1. He became king when he was 30.
      2. Therefore, he must have been in his 20s during this episode of his life.
    2. Learn from the words of Abigail.
      1. She pleaded for an audience with David.
      2. She acknowledged the foolishness of her husband.
      3. She revealed that she had not seen the messengers.
      4. She acknowledged that the Lord had spared David from sinning.
      5. She presented the secret gift, the bribe behind the back.
      6. She pled for forgiveness.
      7. She revealed what she knew of David,
        1. his troubles, and
        2. how the Lord supported David, because
        3. he was innocent.
      8. She showed that she was thinking of David’s future,
        1. so that a grievous mistake in his youth
        2. would not haunt him while king.
      9. Then the last thing she did was request to be remembered by David.
  24. First Samuel 25.32–34 – Bless, Bless, and Bless Again 
    1. Did you see David’s triple blessing?
      1. He blessed God for sending Abigail to meet him.
      2. He blessed Abigail for her advice.
      3. He blessed Abigail
        1. for keeping him back from bloodshed, and
        2. for not avenging himself.
    2. He let her know that he was on the way to wiping all the males.
  25. First Samuel 25.35 – Let Your Anger Cool Off 
    1. Abigail succeeded in
      1. pacifying the anger of David and
      2. of pacifying strong wrath in the future king.
    2. He listened to her and respected her.
      1. He did not reject her because she was a woman.
      2. He did not reject her since she was the wife of Nabal.
  26. First Samuel 25.36–38 – Silence Slays the Stingy 
    1. Abigail timed her message perfectly.
    2. There is a time to hold back information,

      23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth,
      And a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
      (Pro 15.23)

      7b A time to keep silence,
      And a time to speak
      (Ecc 3.7)

      1. Remember Esther keeping silent about being a Jew.
      2. Remember Jesus at His trials.
  27. First Samuel 25.39–40 – Bless God for Removing the Wicked 
    1. David blessed the Lord for carrying out vengeance.
    2. We want all people to repent, but
      1. some people will never repent, and
      2. they make themselves unpleasant to society.
        1. Therefore, it is better that they are gone.
        2. This also opened up the life of Abigail
          1. that she might have a better life
          2. as the wife of the future most powerful man in Israel.
  28. First Samuel 25.41–44 – Are You Wealthy? Humble Yourself 
    1. This very rich woman
      1. was ready to do the job of the lowest servant.
      2. She had the spirit of Jesus and did not even know Him.
    2. Abigail became David’s second wife, and
      1. David also gained a third wife, Ahinoam, but
      2. Saul gave David’s first wife away to another man.


  1. Where can wisdom be found? 
    1. Can the beautiful also be wise?
    2. We have these images of wisdom and of an outwardly beautiful person, and
      1. we think the two cannot go together, but
      2. Abigail proves us wrong.
  2. The Bible first introduces Abigail to us as a woman 
    1. of understanding and
    2. of beautiful appearance, but then
      1. the story quickly turned to her understanding and wisdom.
      2. She may have been beautiful on the outside, but
        1. she was more beautiful on the inside,
        2. where it truly counts.
  3. Jesus came to remake you on the inside, 
    1. not on the outside.
    2. If He came to remake us on the outside,
      1. then there is not a person on the Earth
      2. who belongs to Him.
        1. Truly, what we are on the inside
        2. can have positive benefits on the outside,
          1. even so, the outside eventually grows old and dies.
          2. Let Jesus save your soul,
            1. then He gives you the hope of resurrecting your body,
            2. which He will turn into a spiritual body.