When Wisdom Soothed Wrath—Lessons from Abigail

David, had been encamped for some time near Nabal’s lands. While there, he protected Nabal’s flocks and servants and ensured that they didn’t lack anything. But circumstances changed, and now he was in need. So, he sent messengers to Nabal asking for food.

But Nabal refused to share from his abundance and replied with disdain: “Who is this David? How will I give my bread and water to men I don’t even know?” (1 Samuel 25:10)

Indignant, David mobilized 400 of his armed men to take revenge on Nabal. Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s servants who had witnessed the entire situation ran to tell Abigail, Nabal’s wife, what had happened. And this is when Abigail’s wisdom comes into play.

Abigail was a kind mistress

Abigail’s servants trusted her with their lives. They knew their harsh master and trusted, instead, in their wise mistress. After he had shared the details, the servant said, “Know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against us” (1 Samuel 25:14-17).

She was a decided woman

Abigail wasted no time discussing the why’s with her foolish husband or questioning herself on what the appropriate response would be. She acted instantly. Calling on the trust she had earned from her servants, she immediately mobilized her own response to the situation. They gathered bread, wine, and plenty more food, and set out to meet David.

She knew the importance of tact

After the rush to reach David and his men before they reached her, Abigail kept calm and levelheaded. She knew tact was key to dissolve the conflict. When she approached David, she bowed before him. Instead of making excuses for her husband, she took the blame for the whole situation, addressing David reverently as if she were talking to a crowned king.

Who knows, maybe Solomon was reflecting on that meet-cute when he wrote: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

She was humble

Abigail could have been proud of herself for saving her entire household from ruin, yet, she didn’t take credit for her idea. Instead, she recognized that her actions were inspired from above and honored and praised God (1 Samuel 25:26).

“From this history, we can see that there are circumstances under which it is proper for a woman to act promptly and independently, moving with decision in the way she knows to be the way of the Lord.”

Daughters of God, p. 43

She was a wise wife

God made men and women different in many ways; together, they should complement each other. The husband is to be the leader of the household, but for this to happen the way God intended, he must submit to God and seek wisdom from above, inspiring confidence so that his wife and children can find pleasure in being submissive to his counsel. The wife’s respect for her husband must be earned, not through servitude, but through love.

Abigail had the misfortune of marrying a selfish, evil man. This could have made her a bitter woman, willing to let her husband and his entire household suffer the consequences of his actions. But she had mercy on her staff and her own husband. With wisdom, she deflected tragedy and secured peace.

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