1 Samuel 25
I am rich.
I have three thousand sheep, a thousand goats.
That sets me well apart from other people.
My money lets me buy and get myself out of any problems.
What I think and do is all that matters,
- and that includes anything concerning my wife, the beautiful Abigail.
She loves me, as is her due, and I deserve no less.
I love him for his good qualities.
And I love him because he is my husband.
Sometimes, nay, too often, he fulfils the attributes of his name.
But he needs my wisdom to counteract his foolishness.
I will be loyal to his goodness, the tenderness he occasionally shows.
But I shall have respect to my virtues
And seek to instil them in my man because I love him.
A band of ten young men have sought my presence.
As something to do, I deign see them, these servants of this David.
I have heard of him, but I shall nevertheless demean him in their eyes,
Make him out as nothing, a nobody, and them therefore as worthless knaves.
They seek to share my riches! Let them grovel with their empty request.
The custom of hospitality is for fools.
I shunt them away with my words.
One of my servants dares approach to speak on their behalf. I know his face but not his name. He is a slave, nothing more. I wave him away with a flick of my hand and snap my fingers for my wine cup to be filled.
The insult enrages David.
Four hundred men get themselves armed
Gath’ring their pace towards Nabal
For he and all his will be harmed.
One of our servants, Shammah, comes running to me, bows and begs my attention.
His words run through me like a sword. Oh Nabal! Nabal!
We are all in peril for our lives.
There is no time to lose.
I order a feast of supplies, done quickly, sent on before me.
There is no time or wisdom to tell Nabal. The servants leave. I follow.
An angry David leads his men
Their swords are drawn and blood-ready
But laden asses cross his path:
Abigail’s resolve holds steady.
Gifts from our best produce mellow his wrath.
I meet the proud David, falling at his feet, beseeching him.
I take upon me full responsibility for all that has made him angry,
Offering my life to spare the foolish life of Nabal.
I appeal to his reason, to his innate sense of justice and mercy.
I see in him what I would see in my own husband, despite my admission of his folly Nabal name.
An underlying strength of purpose born of love for both men flows out from my heart,
Gives me a power that seems divine and omnipresent.
It lends eloquence to my words, and a surety that he will respond truly.
Like melting mist his anger gone
Replaced as warmth of rising sun
He blesses me with generous word
And thanks me for a deed well done.
I return back to Nabal, quite oblivious of what has passed, and find him feasting to glut.
He is beyond reason, senses dulled to nothingness in the excess of self-gratification.
I will tell him when he is sober what has come to pass, for it is right that he knows and understands.
And in the morning, when the sun’s rays lifted the dark, I told him everything.
As I spoke the light of Truth shone steadfastly through my words and the error of his ways touched me no more.
His heart turned to stone in the cold realization of all he had done,
And for ten long days I nursed him as one would a newborn babe.
Ten days of utter dependence, enforced humility, his wealth irrelevant, my love all.
On the tenth day I wiped a tear from his eye, and he passed from my company.
I knelt once again before God and He comforted me
So Abigail was left alone.
Days followed, and the news soon spread:
It reached to David, now contrite,
That churlish Nabal he was dead.
I prayed for my departed husband, and I also prayed for myself.
God rewarded my prayer, for this David sought me as his wife, not in conquest but in love.
I found a richness in living that surpassed the empty richness of wealth,
In humility I was led to grandeur, and gave all I had.
So in love was tender blessing,
No more held by what was wrong
Both were blessed by love’s new caring
In deep respect, their marriage strong
So the evil that was deadly
Overcome by action fast.
She did quickly what was righteous.
Good did win. And good will last.
© Kenneth G Cooper 2011