Wisdom (pt. 1) (#169)

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1 Samuel 25:2-38

Episode Handout

1 Samuel 25:2-38

1 Samuel 25:2 – 38 (NLT)

2There was a wealthy man from Maon who owned property near the town of Carmel. He had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats, and it was sheep-shearing time.

3This man’s name was Nabal, and his wife, Abigail, was a sensible and beautiful woman. But Nabal, a descendant of Caleb, was crude and mean in all his dealings.

4When David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep,

5he sent ten of his young men to Carmel with this message for Nabal:

6“Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own!

7I am told that it is sheep-shearing time. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them.

8Ask your own men, and they will tell you this is true. So would you be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please share any provisions you might have on hand with us and with your friend David.”

9David’s young men gave this message to Nabal in David’s name, and they waited for a reply.

10“Who is this fellow David?” Nabal sneered to the young men. “Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters.

11Should 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?”

  • The character of Nabal is described as “churlish and evil” (1 Sam. 25:3), which the NIV translates “surly and mean” and the NLT “mean and dishonest in all his dealings.” (Did he become rich by being dishonest?)
  • When you note all the personal pronouns in verse 11, you immediately recognize his pride and self-importance. He didn’t even give God credit for making him wealthy! (Deut. 8:17-18; Luke 12:15-21)

12So 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.

14Meanwhile, 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.

15These 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.

16In fact, day and night they were like a wall of protection to us and the sheep.

17You 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!”

  • KJV: who is nabal…..

17 Now 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.

One of his own servants and his own wife both called him “a son of Belial—a worthless fellow” (vv. 17, 25). The Hebrew word beliya’al means “worthlessness” and in the Old Testament refers to evil people who deliberately broke the law and despised what was good. In the New Testament, the word refers also to Satan (2 Cor. 6:15).