Saturday, May 7, 2016

Reflection - Abigail, Good in Discretion and Beautiful in Form - Woman of the Bible

Source Website: http://www.moshereiss.org/articles/22_david.htm
By Rabbi Moshe Reiss, moshereiss@moshereiss.org, Bible Commentator


Beautiful Abigail Who Acted With Discretion
PHOTO: Beautiful Abigail Who Acted With Discretion
 “Good in Discretion and Beautiful in Form
Abigail was altogether different from Nabal. Her name means “My Father Has Made Himself Joyful.” Many a father is proud to have a beautiful daughter, but a wise father is far happier to discern inner beauty in his child. All too often, a person blessed with outward beauty fails to see the need to develop such qualities as discretion, wisdom, courage, or faith. Not so with Abigail. The Bible praises her for her discretion as well as for her beauty (1 Samuel 25:3).
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Abigail is the wife of Nabal (whose name denotes a fool or glutton - it is difficult to believe this a real name), a wealthy landowner in the Hebron. She is noted as wise and beautiful (1 Samuel 25:3) especially in contrast to her husband.  Nabal asks ‘Who is this David and who is the son of Jesse? (1 Samuel 25:10-11). Everyone in Israel was familiar with David and his status as first a hero and then his rebellion against Saul. His question is rhetorical and foolish. His slaves tell his wife of their master’s foolishness and she decides to take matters into her own hands. Her wisdom and beauty are apposite his drunkenness and foolishness. [7] She has been compared to the wise woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 based on her these texts. The Talmud considered her the most important of David’s wives and the most beautiful, placing her next to Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel, the Matriarchs.



Nabal refused to even feed the hungry men that were with David.
PHOTO: Nabal refused to even feed the hungry men that were with David. All they had asked for a piece of bread. He ordered them off of his property. His slaves tell his wife of their master’s foolishness and she decides to take matters into her own hands. When Abigail heard what happened, she immediately went to David’s camp and apologized. Her wisdom and beauty are apposite his drunkenness and foolishness.
Posted by Martyn Ballestero on 12 April 2014 at 10:21 am
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https://mballestero.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/600-david-abigail25.jpg
https://martynballestero.com/2014/04/12/stupid-men-with-smart-wives/


When Nabal refuses David request for provisions for his army (in his war against Saul), David prepares to kill him. Abigail intercedes on her husband’s behalf and supplies David with the necessary provisions. She begs David in the name of the Lord who she notes will make him king not to shed her husband’s blood. David responds ‘Blessed be your discretion, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodguilt’ (1 Samuel 25:33).  She is the first person to declare David to be King though he is at the moment only a mere renegade. She prevents God’s chosen from murdering her husband. She then tells David that he will become King of Israel and asks to be remembered. This wealthy woman refers to herself four times in her brief talk as ‘your maidservant’ (1 Samuel 25:24,25,27,31).



Please, let your slave girl speak in your ears
PHOTO: Please, let your slave girl speak in your ears
She took responsibility for the problem and asked David to forgive her personally. She realistically acknowledged that her husband was as senseless as his name implied, perhaps suggesting that it would be beneath David’s dignity to chastise such a man. She expressed her trust in David as God’s representative, recognizing that he was fighting “the wars of God.” She also indicated that she knew of God’s promise regarding David and the kingship, for she said: “God . . . certainly will commission you as leader over Israel.” Further, she urged David not to take any action that might bring bloodguilt upon him or that might later become “a cause for staggering (deeply shock)” - evidently referring to a troubled conscience (1 Samuel 25:24-31). Kind, moving words!
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https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/true-faith/abigail-in-the-bible/



Abigail courageously told Nabal what she had done to save his life
PHOTO: Abigail courageously told Nabal what she had done to save his life
Again showing both courage and discretion, she waited until the next morning when the influence of the wine had ebbed. He would be sober enough to understand her, yet possibly more dangerous in his temper as well. Still, she approached and told him the whole story. No doubt she expected him to explode in fury, perhaps violence. Instead, he just sat there, not moving (1 Samuel 25:37).
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David listens carefully and blesses her. Her husband dies of ‘natural’ causes - he drinks himself to death as a reaction to Abigail having provided the needs for David army. The text also tells us that the Lord struck him down (1 Samuel 25:38). David subsequently marries her and inherits Nabal’s valuable estate. [8] Abigail is the only wife actively requested by David in marriage (1 Samuel 25:40). It is clear that David admired and perhaps even loved Abigail. They have a son, Kileab, but both mysteriously and surprisingly disappear rather quickly from David’s life.



Here is your slave girl
PHOTO:Here is your slave girl,” she responded, “as a maidservant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.
Besides the release from a bad marriage, Abigail had another blessing in store. When he learned of the death of Nabal, David sent messengers to propose marriage. “Here is your slave girl,” she responded, “as a maidservant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.” Clearly, she was not changed by the prospect of  becoming David’s wife; she even offered to be a servant to his servants! Then we read again of her hastening, this time to ready herself to go to David (1 Samuel 25:39-42).
Texts posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of ennsylvania,
https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/true-faith/abigail-in-the-bible/
Picture bt Alan Ayers, posted by Diary of A-delina on 28 February 2015 at 19:14
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David through Nabal’s widow gained some legitimacy and rules the territory of Hebron.  Control of Hebron was a key to David’s success and reign. [9]

When the text tells us that David married Abigail it adds that he also married Ahinoam of Jezreel (1 Samuel 25:42-43).



Ahinoam, said to come from Jezreel, is King David’s wife and the mother of his eldest son, Amnon. All references to her occur with, or in close literary proximity to Abigail.
PHOTO: Ahinoam, said to come from Jezreel, is King David’s wife and the mother of his eldest son, Amnon. All references to her occur with, or in close literary proximity to Abigail.
Only one other character named Ahinoam appears in the Hebrew Bible (Saul’s wife; 1 Samuel 14:50). Because she is roughly a contemporary of David’s wife, it is possible that “Ahinoam of Jezreel” is Saul’s wife Ahinoam. Citing God’s words (via the prophet Nathan) to David, “I gave you … your master’s wives” (2 Samuel 12:8).
Texts by Linda Schearing, Jewish Women's Archive -  "Ahinoam: Bible"http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/ahinoam-bible
Picture posted by Peter T. Chattaway on 12 May 2015 - Kings and Prophets - Ahinoam (Simone Kessell)
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David and Abigail Met, and Later Got Married (1 Samuel 25)
PHOTO: David and Abigail Met, and Later Got Married (1 Samuel 25)
After Nabal’s refusal to provide food, David had planned on killing Nabal and his household, but he relented because of Abigail.  So Abigail saved her foolish husband and her household by her wisdom.

"Dear Lord, Thank You for letting us know that we don’t need to have an important position to make a difference. We need not have to carry a great deal of authority but yet able to play a supporting role to assist others behind the scenes. No one may know about it, but the service can make a BIG difference just like Abigail’s did. Amen!" [2]
Picture posted by Jesus Loves You Today Ministry
 

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By Rabbi Moshe Reiss, moshereiss@moshereiss.org, Bible Commentator



Reference

[1] David's Wives: Love, Lust and Power, By Rabbi Moshe Reiss, moshereiss@moshereiss.org, Bible Commentator, http://www.moshereiss.org/articles/22_david.htm

[2] Teaching Kids Key Life Learnings from 100 Biblical Characters: No. 44 – Abigail, Posted on 11 January 2016 by Liz Hagler, http://hookedonthebook.com/teaching-kids-key-life-learnings-from-100-biblical-characters-no-44-abigail/

[7] J.D. Levenson and B. Halpern, The Political Import of David’s Marriages, JBL, 99/4, 1980 and J.D. Levenson, I Samuel as Literature, CBQ, 40, 1978. pgs. 511-513.

[8] George Nicol, ‘David, Abigail and Bathsheba, Nabal and Uriah’, Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament, 1998, #1.

[9] According to the Book of Chronicles David has a sister named Abigail (1 Chronicles 2:13-16). But her husband is named Ithra (or Jether) (1 Chronicles 2:17). After Nabal’s death did David’s sister rule over Hebron? Were there two Abigail’s - one David’s third wife and one his sister, who were sisters-in-law? Or is possible that they are the same person? That implies that David married his sister after the death of his rival Nabal to inherit her estates. Could David marry his sister - it was not unheard of in the ancient mid-east. Levenson, CBQ, pg. 27.

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1 Chronicles 2:13-16 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Chronicles+2%3A13-16&version=NIV

1 Chronicles 2:17 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Chronicles+2%3A17&version=NIV


1 Samuel 14:50 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+14%3A50&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:3 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A3&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:10-11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A10-11&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:24,25,27,31 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A24%2C25%2C27%2C31&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:24-31 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A24-31&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:33 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A33&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:37 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A37&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:38 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A38&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:39-42 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A39-42&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:40 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A40&version=NIV

1 Samuel 25:42-43 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25%3A42-43&version=NIV

2 Samuel 12:8 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Samuel+12%3A8&version=NIV

Proverbs 31:10-31 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+31%3A10-31&version=NIV