Nabal was a very prosperous shepherd, and he had a beautiful wife named Abigail. David and his men were needing supplies and therefore sent ten servants to Nabal on a peace mission to ask for supplies. Nabal did not recognize who David was and rejected the men's request for bread, water, and meat.
When the servants reported to David what had happened, David became furious! He put on his sword and gathered four hundred of his men to go with him to kill Nabal. Abigail got word of what happened between her husband and David's messengers. A young man told her that David was coming with his men to kill her husband. Abigail also knew that her husband was stubborn and that no one could reason with him. Therefore, she decided to meet David herself and make an appeal to him for her husband's life.
First, she decided to meet the needs of David by preparing the supplies that he would desire (v. 18). Although this was done behind her husband's back, the principle of meeting the needs of the other person is valid. Second, she took the initiative by going out to meet David (vs. 20). She did not wait until David's arrival! Third, she submitted herself to the authority of David (vs. 23-24). In making an appeal, one should always show respect for those in authority, no matter how wrong they may be. Fourth, she was willing to accept responsibility for her own actions. There is always a certain amount of risk involved when making an appeal. Fifth, Abigail asked permission to speak (v. 24). Often people demand to be heard, but Abigail took on the role of a servant. Sixth, she explained her position. She was innocence in the previous confrontation that Nabal had with the servants of David (v. 25). Seventh, she acknowledged God's sovereign work in the life of David (v. 26). Eighth, she asked permission to bless David with the goods she had brought for him and his men (v. 27). Ninth, Abigail asked for forgiveness for her intrusion (v. 28). It is always good to have a clear conscience before making an appeal.
Tenth, she acknowledged the good intentions of David (vs. 28-29). This was very important! When making an appeal, it is critical to see from the other person's perspective. Eleventh, she also saw God's purpose in David's life (v. 30). David was to become ruler over all Israel. Twelfth, she came to ask for the life of her husband (v. 31). Abigail explained that when David would come to rule, he would not want this incident hanging over his head. Certainly, David would not want the people to think that he acted rashly in taking revenge on Nabal. An appeal communicates to the other person how the desired action on his part can be to his benefit as well as to ours. In conclusion, she asked David to remember her when he came into power.
What were the results of Abigail's appeal? David came to see that God had sent her to meet him and his men. David acknowledged her wise counsel and blessed her. He saw that she had stopped him from avenging himself by his own hands. He was to allow God to avenge him. He received the goods that Abigail had brought and sent her away in peace. Finally, he came to appreciate her as a person. Later, after the death of Nabal, David sent for Abigail to be his wife.