The death of Samuel is described in three words, perhaps indicating that all he had to do when the time came was to die. Perhaps he was disappointed to see the youth he crowned as king not come to the throne. But then who does see all the outcomes of their activities for the Lord? It is inevitable that God’s servants die with some of their longings about other people unfulfilled.
As far as David was concerned, he was still on the move. He was now the leader of a disciplined group of men, evident from the fact that they had not behaved inappropriately when they reached the area in which Nabal and his men were living and working – indeed David’s men had guarded them from any threats. So he asked Nabal for some food, since he was holding a feast for his workers.
Nabal’s refusal was delivered in an insulting tone, which when David heard about it made him angry and he set off with 400 armed men to deal with Nabal. Fortunately for Nabal, he had a wise wife Abigail, who took it into her own hands to solve the situation, which she did by providing food for David and his men.
When she met David, she revealed that she understood the role that David had in the plan of God, and that she was sure he would reach the throne. Yet she informed David that he would not want to reach there with regrets at having slain innocent blood, as he might have done if she had not intervened.
David recognised that the Lord had sent her to prevent him from committing a great wrong. How often the Lord does this for us! We may imagine that an intended course of action is a correct response, then someone intervenes or something crosses our path and causes us to think again.
What had motivated David to engage in a wrong response was a wish to defend his own reputation. Nabal had insulted him. Yet the situation was that no one would have paid any heed to Nabal’s opinion, which means that David did not need to defend his reputation. Yet if he had persisted in his desire to defend it, he himself would have done lasting damage to it. How good God was to send Abigail to intervene!
Abigail did not keep her actions secret from her husband – she would have been wrong to do so. He became afraid of what might have happened if she had not intervened. Yet he showed no repentance for his wrong words against the man God had chosen, and ten days later God struck him down.
When David heard what had happened to Nabal, he praised God for keeping him from sinning in such a foolish way. David had learned a valuable lesson in leaving things with God for him to sort out.
God also provided David with a godly wife in Abigail to replace Michal whom Saul had ‘divorced’ from David. Exactly how Saul could do this is not clear, and his plan did not work because later on David insisted on having her back (2 Sam. 3:13-14). But David seemed to be determined to build a royal house, which probably explains why he had more than one wife. Or maybe he had not waited for God to give the one of his choice, and so ended up with two wives.