BibleAsk Team

Who was Nabal in the Old Testament?

Topic: Bible


Nabal is mentioned in the book of first Samuel chapter 25. Nabal of the house of Caleb lived in Maon. He was a very rich man that owned three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. His business was shearing sheep in Carmel (verse 2). But he was a harsh and evil man whereas his wife Abigail was a wise and beautiful woman (verse 3).

When David and his army were running from King Saul, they reached Nabal’s land during the shearing season. And, David sent ten of his men to Nabal requesting some supplies for exchange of the protection that they offered him (1 Samuel 25: 4-8). But Nabal refused to help David and reviled him saying, “Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?” (verse 10). So, David ordered his four hundred men saying, “Each of you strap on your sword!” (1 Samuel 25:13) to attack Nabal.

But the servants of Nabal informed Abigail his wife how David’s men were very good to them, and guarded them and their sheep while they were in the fields. And they added that because of Nabal’s response they will now all face danger (1 Samuel 25:14-16). So, Abigail quickly 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 to give to David and loaded them on donkeys (verse 18).

And when Abigail went to David, she said: “Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal… And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant. … 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” (1 Samuel 25:25-30)

Then, David said to Abigail: “Blessed is the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! And blessed is your advice… because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand” (1 Samuel 25: 32-33). David thanked God for saving him from a rash deed.

At this time, Nabal was holding a kingly feast in his house and he was very drunk. But when he got sober the next day, his wife told him what she did and how she saved the whole family. And his heart was stricken with fear and he got paralyzed. After ten days, the LORD struck this man, and he died (1 Samuel 25:37-38). Nabal had his opportunity to be a source of blessing to God’s anointed future king of Israel who was in need. But he refused and thus he lost his right of God’s protection over his life.

And when David heard of the death of Nabal, he sent a word to Abigail, asking her to become his wife.  And she accepted his proposal saying, “Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord“ (1 Samuel 25: 41). Abigail’s wisdom, humility and prudence saved her family and also saved David, and his army from shedding blood.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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