The Woman of Great Wisdom

By on August 2, 2014

By Carole Towriss –

Abigail accepted more rounds of freshly baked bread from her servant. She quickly counted—there were now close to 500. She moved through the busy courtyard directing her servants as they prepared enormous amounts of food. At one table raisin cakes were being prepared, at another cakes of figs. At yet another roasted mutton, its tangy herbed scent filling the air. The annual shearing would conclude today, and the feasting would last all night. She smiled as she glanced around. Everything would be ready soon.

A breathless servant ran in from the fields. He dropped to his knees before her until she touched his shoulder. “Benjamin, what is it?”

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He rose, his face ashen. “My lady Abigail, David sent messengers from the wilderness.”

Shudders ran though her. “David? The king’s son-in-law? What’s he doing here? Isn’t the king trying to kill him?”

“Yes, my lady. He’s built a small army and spends his time in the wilderness running from Saul. He sent his men to give master Nabal greetings, and also asked for whatever supplies Nabal could spare for him and his men. Instead of listening to him, Nabal insulted them.”

She gasped. Her husband was rude, crass and often callous, but rarely stupid. “He did?”

“Yes. David’s men have guarded us the whole of shearing season, protecting us from the marauding bandits. They were as a wall around us.”

Abigail shook her head. “Then why was Nabal so surly to them? Were they rude to you? Did they steal from you?”

“No! Never! They didn’t mistreat us and nothing was missing.” Benjamin lowered his voice and leaned nearer. “My lady, I beg you, see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over this whole household. David will be furious. We surely would have lost many lambs and probably men as well. Nabal knows this and so does David. There is no telling what he will do.”

“How many men does David have?”

“Five, six hundred.”

“Wait here.” Abigail quickly calculated in her head the amount of food necessary to feed 600 men. “Mariah, Elizabeth, come quickly. I want two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, the meat of five sheep, five measures of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes and two hundred fig cakes. Quickly, please!”

She returned to Benjamin. “Get me ten donkeys and four servants.”

When Benjamin returned with the animals, they loaded the food and wine on four donkeys. Abigail gestured to the wilderness and spoke to one of the servants. “Go on ahead; I’ll follow behind.”

“Shall I tell your husband?”

She shook her head. “No, Benjamin, you’re coming with me.”

Benjamin’s eyes grew wide, but he mounted the last donkey.

Hours later, Abigail descended into a mountain ravine. She held on tight to the donkey’s mane as it picked its way down the rocks. When she looked up, there waited David and his men. She quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before him. “Forgive me, my lord, and let me speak to you. Please pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him.”

David raged. “It’s been useless—all my watching over his men and animals.” He drew his sword. “He has paid me back evil for good. May God punish me if by morning I do not avenge myself!”

Abigail clasped her hands at her chest. “But my lord, I did not see the men you sent! Please let these gifts I have brought be given to your men.”

David’s gaze scanned the loads of the four animals. He looked back at her a long moment, then sheathed his blade and nodded to one of his men, who distributed the food and wine to his very appreciative soldiers.

Abigail smiled. “I know the Lord will make a dynasty of your house. And when He has appointed you ruler over Israel, you will not have on your conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed, since today He has kept you from avenging yourself with your own hands. And when the Lord has brought you success, remember me.”

David looked over the gifts Abigail had bestowed upon his men once more. “You are a wise woman. And praise God, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day. Otherwise, as surely as the Lord lives, not one male would have been left alive by daybreak.” David smiled. “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”


Abigail was a wise woman married to a wealthy, powerful, but foolish man. David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and flocks a long time, and now that Nabal had made his money at shearing time, David asked for compensation. This was a common and accepted practice of the time. But Nabal refused to pay David for his services. Knowing David had hundreds of hungry, armed men at his disposal, Abigail shrewdly stepped in to protect her household. Her quick thinking saved everyone from certain death.

1 Samuel 25 also tells us she waited until her husband had finished feasting, quieted from his anger and sobered from his drinking before informing him of her actions. Upon hearing what she had done, he had a heart attack and died ten days later.

Abigail obviously ruled her house with grace and the respect of all the servants, since they came to her once Nabal had refused David. They knew she would be able to rectify this dangerous situation. She was able to gather enough food for David and his men, and still prepare more to feed the shearers. They apparently trusted her a great deal, and were willing to work hard for her.

The Lord rewarded Abigail’s faith. After Nabal died, David sent for Abigail and asked her to marry him. She became a queen of Israel

About Carole Towriss

Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, watches chick flicks, and waits for summertime to return to the beach. You can find out more about her Biblical fiction novels at

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The Woman of Great Wisdom