Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 25

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel, Nathan, & Gad 
Date Penned: (931-975 BC)
Overview: Samuel, Israel's Last Judge (c 1-31)
Theme: Saul and David (c 16-31)
Message: Nabal's Rudeness Angers David (v 1-44)

1 Samuel 25 Commentary

(25-1) Samuel Dies - Saul was king, but Samuel had been the nation's spiritual leader. Throughout his whole life, Samuel was careful to listen to (3:10; 9:14-17) and obey (3:21; 10:1) the Lord. With Samuel gone, Israel would be without this spiritual leadership until David became king. 

(25:2-11) Nabal is Rude to David - Nabal rudely refused David's request to feed his 600 men. If we sympathize with Nabal, it is because our customs are so different today from those practiced at the time of this story. First, in David's time, simple hospitality demanded that travelers -any number of them--be fed. Nabal was very rich and could have easily afforded to meet David's request. Second, David wasn't asking for a handout. He and his men had been protecting Nabal's workers, and part of Nabal's prosperity was due to David's vigilance. We should be generous with those who look out for us and help us, even if we are not obligated to do so by law or custom.

(25:18-31) Abigail Has a Plan -  David was in no mood to listen when he set out for Nabal's property (2513, 22). Nevertheless, he stopped to hear what Abigail had to say. She came forward with a brilliant plan and made a great speech to appease David. If he had ignored her, he would have been guilty of taking vengeance into his own hands. No matter how right we think we are, we must always be careful to stop and listen to others. The extra time and effort can save us pain and trouble in the long run.

(25:30) Saul Admits that David will Succeed Him - How would Abigail know that David was going to become king of Israel? He had been anointed by Samuel in secret (16:12-13), though his brothers were witnesses. One possibility is that they could have begun spreading the news. David then rose through the ranks of Saul's army and became Israel's greatest military commander, which led the crowds to see his leadership potential and revere him more than Saul (18:7). Then David married the king's daughter, putting him even closer to the throne (18:27). When David had to flee from King Saul and escape to Philistine territory, the enemy king recognized David as a great military leader--one even greater than Saul himself (21:10-11). In addition, Saul's own son Jonathan, who was the rightful heir to the throne, clearly recognized that David would be the next king (23:17). Finally, Saul himself, in front of his own soldiers, publicly admitted that there was no doubt David would succeed him (24:20). Abigail had likely heard of some of these events. She was a wise and godly woman who discerned that it was David, not Saul, who was actually acting as a leader anointed by God. David would soon marry Abigail, and he was probably grateful to be married to someone with such wisdom and insight.

(25:36-38) The Desire to be a King - When Abigail returned home, she found her husband throwing a big party and celebrating like a king. Nabal had rejected God's appointed king, David, and instead he was acting as though he himself were a king. Looking at the story from our perspective, we can see that Nabal was a fool, and it cost him his life. But people today make the same mistake. When we reject God's rule over our lives, we make ourselves "king" and indulge our own desires without thinking about the consequences. Are you trying to be king of your life? Submit to God's authority, and then you'll have real cause for celebration.

(25:36) Abigail Waits to Tell Nabal - Because Nabal was drunk, Abigail waited until morning to tell him what she had done. Abigail knew that Nabal, in his drunkenness, may not have understood her or may have reacted foolishly. When discussing difficult matters with people, especially family members, timing is very important. Ask God for wisdom to know the best time for confrontation and for bringing up touchy subjects.

(25:44) David And Michal - The story of David and Michal does not end here. (See 2 Samuel 3:12-16 for the next episode.)


Dave Burnette's Life Application

An Ungrateful Heart


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1st Samuel with Chapter 25. In our text, we see Samuel passing away and Nabal's rudeness towards David. Fortunately, Nabal has a Godly wife, Abigail, who interceded for him. Nabal does not appreciate his wife and dies, and we see David wedding Abigail. In making an application, we know the principle of not enjoying the blessings of God. David protects Nabal and allows him to be prosperous. Nabal has an ungrateful heart, denies David's men, and does not love or appreciate his wife. Many today have ungrateful hearts. They take advantage of the blessings of God, and as a result, they tend to lose everything. I have had an ungrateful heart at times to see the Lord remove his hand from the blessings of my life. I hope I have learned my lesson and now take every day as a blessing of the Lord. How about you? Do you have an ungrateful heart? Let us learn from our text today and the example that Nabal set before us, and don't have his ungrateful heart lest we, too, lose it all.


1 Samuel 25

1 Samuel 25

 1And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

 2And there was a man in Maon, whose possessions were in Carmel; and the man was very great, and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats: and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel.

 3Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.

 4And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.

 5And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:

 6And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, Peace be both to thee, and peace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.

 7And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.

 8Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.

 9And when David's young men came, they spake to Nabal according to all those words in the name of David, and ceased.

 10And Nabal answered David's servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.

 11Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?

 12So David's young men turned their way, and went again, and came and told him all those sayings.

 13And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.

 14But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, saying, Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he railed on them.

 15But the men were very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing, as long as we were conversant with them, when we were in the fields:

 16They were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.

 17Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him.

 18Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.

 19And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.

 20And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert on the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.

 21Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.

 22So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

 23And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,

 24And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.

 25Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.

 26Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.

 27And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.

 28I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.

 29Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.

 30And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;

 31That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

 32And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:

 33And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.

 34For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

 35So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.

 36And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: wherefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light.

 37But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine was gone out of Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.

 38And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died.

 39And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to him to wife.

 40And when the servants of David were come to Abigail to Carmel, they spake unto her, saying, David sent us unto thee, to take thee to him to wife.

 41And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thine handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.

 42And Abigail hasted, and arose and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.

 43David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives.

 44But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim.