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. 1 Samuel 25:1-3

What is a Calebite? Is that an important detail? What sort of application do we take from a character study from the Old Testament Bible? If we look at the Hebrew narrative style, we have some clues. We can notice how the writer characterizes them by the meaning of their name, actions rather than description, and roles they take. We can also listen to their dialogue. The amount of dialogue compared to the narration is insightful. The contrast between Abigail’s wise appeal, Nabal’s foolish talk and David’s vengeance-taking anger have aspects to which we can all relate.

David means “God’s beloved”. Abigail means “the Father’s (Abba) joy (Gail)”. Nabal’s name means “foolish”. The contrasts between this husband and wife’s actions and words are many. Abigail recognized God’s hand upon David as the future King of Israel, her husband Nabal saw himself as the master of all he owned. Abigail showed respect to God’s anointed king, Nabal insulted him. Abigail showed wisdom in her circumstances, Nabal ignored common courtesy and kindnesses. Abigail graciously gave gifts, Nabal indulged himself. Abigail acted respectfully, Nabal behaved badly. See if you can find more.

A Calebite was a descendant of Caleb who followed God wholeheartedly and whose name translates the same. Nabal acted in opposition to God and the King and serves as an opposite example of his namesake. Abigail was the Father’s joy. She brought him with her wherever she went. You can do the same. He wants you to see his hand at work in the world and join him in reaching it. How do you respond to the King Jesus and the plan he has for you? How do you show him respect? Impart his wisdom? Share his gifts? Abigail’s life has a great lesson for us. She was willing for God to work through her. She wisely saw the kingdom of God. She walked in the ways of God with a heart for God.

Here is a project on contrasts. The wise verses the foolish is a major theme in Scripture. Almost twice as many verses about the foolish are in the book of Proverbs than the entire New Testament. Take one chapter of Proverbs each day for a month (31) and keep a list of the verses on the wise and a list of the verses on the foolish. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

By Donna Burns