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Compatibility in Relationships: Lessons from the Marriage of Nabal and Abigail

Relationship lessons from the Marriage of Abigail and Nabal - Two Become One
Two Become One
Compatibility in relationships is necessary factor as it makes or mars every relationship.God understood this at creation and that is why He made the woman for Adam as he could not find a suitable mate amongst all that was already made.

According to 1st Samuel 25:2, there was a wealthy man named Nabal from Maon who owned property near the town of Carmel. His wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was crude and mean in all his dealings.
Relationship lessons from Abigail and Nabal

When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, he sent ten of his young men to Nabal asking him to share any provisions with them,considering the help his men had rendered to him previously. But Nabal refused and sneered to the young men asking “Who is this fellow David?”. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?”
So David’s young men returned and told him what Nabal had said. 13 “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. Then 400 men started off with David, and 200 remained behind to guard their equipment. Meanwhile, one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail and told her, “David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master, but he screamed insults at them. 15 These men have been very good to us, and we never suffered any harm from them. Nothing was stolen from us the whole time they were with us. 16 In fact, day and night they were like a wall of protection to us and the sheep. 17 You need to know this and figure out what to do, for there is going to be trouble for our master and his whole family. He’s so ill-tempered that no one can even talk to him!”

18 Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread, two wineskins full of wine, five sheep that had been slaughtered, nearly a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys 19 and said to her servants, “Go on ahead. I will follow you shortly.” But she didn’t tell her husband Nabal what she was doing.

20 As she was riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, she saw David and his men coming toward her. 21 David had just been saying, “A lot of good it did to help this fellow. We protected his flocks in the wilderness, and nothing he owned was lost or stolen. But he has repaid me evil for good. 22 May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!”

Abigail Intercedes for Nabal
23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed low before him. 24 She fell at his feet and said, “I accept all blame in this matter, my lord. Please listen to what I have to say. 25 I know Nabal is a wicked and ill-tempered man; please don’t pay any attention to him. He is a fool, just as his name suggests. But I never even saw the young men you sent.

26 “Now, my lord, as surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, since the Lord has kept you from murdering and taking vengeance into your own hands, let all your enemies and those who try to harm you be as cursed as Nabal is. 27 And here is a present that I, your servant, have brought to you and your young men. 28 Please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life.

29 “Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! 30 When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, 31 don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!”

32 David replied to Abigail, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! 33 Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. 34 For I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept me from hurting you, that if you had not hurried out to meet me, not one of Nabal’s men would still be alive tomorrow morning.” 35 Then David accepted her present and told her, “Return home in peace. I have heard what you said. We will not kill your husband.”

36 When Abigail arrived home, she found that Nabal was throwing a big party and was celebrating like a king. He was very drunk, so she didn’t tell him anything about her meeting with David until dawn the next day. 37 In the morning when Nabal was sober, his wife told him what had happened. As a result he had a stroke, and he lay paralyzed on his bed like a stone. 38 About ten days later, the Lord struck him, and he died.

David was very polite with his asking; I feel like if Nabal was very polite in rejecting his offer too, all that happened would have been avoided. "Yes, I have but I'm really sorry, I won't be able to give this time. This really doesn't mean I don't appreciate you." would have gone a long way.

2. I really still have a problem with Abigail talking about her husband that way. She could have skipped this "he is foolish as his name suggests" (i really would appreciate if anyone can explain why she had to do that). In the public, we shouldn't shame anyone not even our partners in such manner- it doesn't speak well of us.

3. In insulting Nabal, I feel like Abigail was either forced to marry him or she made a mistake in marrying him as their compatibility level is low.

These are the spot-ons for me in this passage.

Abigail was a saviour to David not directly to Nabel. This is because her words of eulogy to David made him refrain from sin that could lead to his end and Nabel was later killed by God.

As regards Abigail's insult to her husband, it is a very wrong action. The Bible makes it clear that wives should honour their husband and not a case that the wife should "honour who you love or who your soul is well pleased with". Also Scriptures commands believers to "honour all men". If Abigail never loved him or she did loved him but was disappointed at his act, she shouldn't have spoken abusive words about her husband. The insult she rendered as regarding to her husband's deeds did not pacify David.. It was her eulogies to David that did it.
Abigail was wise to save her home despite the husbands wrong and she saved David from doing something that would have destroyed his reputation.
Secondly she didn't do the right thing by talking ill of her husband publicly.
Matters of the home should be in the home and not to be displayed publicly.
She didn't honour her Man that way.
She was probably suppose to cover his weakness and not give him to the world to laugh at him
Nabal was a fool, a mean man who was crude in all his dealings and I believe everyone around him knew who he was already. David didn't as he was a stranger in the region having had to run away from Saul who was trying to kill him. David had taken care of Nabals sheeps, protecting them from harm and it was because of this those sheeps were available for shearing. Sheep shearing meant removing the wool from the sheeps to be used for other things. And it was a big thing at that time which called for celebration.

David asked that they join in the celebration and nabal in his foolishness replied without thinking. Now, it was this reply that annoyed David and made him want to kill everyone in his family... He was angry and he was ready for vengeance.

The Bible says Abigail had asked her servants to go ahead of her and it says that as she was going on her donkey, she met David. Remember David didn't know Nabal before so she had to tell David who nabal really was. Yes, it might be wrong to talk bad about ones partner, but Abigail had to led David know that that's who Nabal was before she started praying for him.. the Bible does not record if the servants were with her at that time but it records that earlier she had sent them ahead of her thus, even if her servants were there, they already knew the kind of master they had. And if she hadn't started like that, David might not have listened so much to what she had to say.
I believe she had to do that to make David realize that she knew the kind of man she married. There are different kinds of apology languages based on each person..

Some understand your apology when you say you're sorry, you wouldn't do it again, others accept it when you find a solution to make things better, others accept when they see that you know that something you did was wrong.

I believe the apology language Abigail used here was that she knew Nabal was an excuse for a man and even though that wasn't a good enough excuse, David shouldn't have bloodshed in his hands over such kind of person.. cos he wasn't worth it.

So I believe Abigail had to do that to first clear the air that she knew her husband was wrong but that was how he always behaved.

You can say she could have said it in a more polite way, but well, the way she said it worked.

3. Their compatibility level might have been low but Abigail's wisdom saved the whole of Nabals household.. Id love to see it in a different light.. as to the fact that where nabal was weak, Abigail was strong.

The Bible doesn't say much about Nabal but I believe he had a good side too.. so I'd like to see it as abigail was able to stand in place where Nabal failed thus, they were right for each other (in this context)...
It was both of them Abigail saved.. Nabal from immediate death maybe even giving a chance for him to repent (it was God that killed him - so to say at the end of the day) and she saved his household.. i.e. brothers, sisters, slaves, father, mother, etc..

And she saved David from committing sin.

2. I believe I have talked about this above. But I actually feel her beginning statement actually _did_ calm David down enough to listen to what she had to say.

David was angry, he wasn't most likely going to listen to a young woman who wouldn't admit that her husband had issues too...
Lessons to learn from Nabal and Abigail

1. The person you marry can either cut your life short or make you have a long fulfilled life. Nabal almost cut short the life of his whole household with his attitude.

2. There are behavioral signs that shouldn't be ignored in courtship. No one has the power to change the other if not Abigail might have been able to change Nabal therefore, relationships shouldn't be walked into with the notion of "changing" the other person. It most times doesn't work that way.

3. It is important to discover your partners weakness and pray that they become better.. also, your area of strength should be sharpened so that when needed, it would be used accordingly. No one is perfect but everyone can become better.

4. The wisest thing to do when problems arise is to confront the problem first after which grievances/feelings can be handled among the partners later on.. Abigail first settled the issue on ground before she faced Nabal.

5. The level of compatibility (ability to work and walk together without unnecessary issues and conflicts) in relationships is very important.. can both parties live in peace and harmony? Can one live with the other's weaknesses as they trust God to make each other better? Also, can they work together to achieve the reason why God created them?

These questions should be considered during relationships.

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