(Portions of this manuscript appear in Evangelism, the SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2, Adventist Home, and several Manuscript Releases.)
[Ephesians 5:22-27, quoted.]
The Lord would have the wife render respect unto her husband, but always as it is fit in the Lord. In the character of Abigail, the wife of Nabal, we have an illustration of womanhood after the order of Christ, while her husband illustrates what a man may become who yields himself to the control of Satan. When David was a fugitive from the face of Saul, he had camped near the possessions of Nabal and had protected the flocks and the shepherds of this man from all depredation while in Carmel.
In a time of need David sent messengers to Nabal with a courteous message, asking for food for himself and his men, and Nabal answered with insolence, returning evil for good, and refusing to share his abundance with his neighbors. No message could have been more respectful than that which David sent to this man, but Nabal accused David and his men falsely in order to justify himself in his selfishness, and represented David and his followers as runaway slaves. When the messenger returned with this insolent taunt, David’s indignation was aroused, and he determined to have speedy revenge.
One of the young men in the employ of Nabal, fearing that evil results would follow Nabal’s insolence, came and stated the case to Nabal’s wife, knowing that she had a different spirit from her husband, and was a woman of great discretion. He set forth the true character of Nabal as he presented the difficulties to her, saying, “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” [1 Samuel 25:17].
Abigail saw that something must be done to avert the result of Nabal’s fault, and that she must take the responsibility of acting immediately without the counsel of her husband. She knew that it would be useless to speak to him, for he would only receive her proposition with abuse and contempt. He would remind her that he was the lord of his household, that she was his wife and therefore in subjection to him, and must do as he should dictate.
She knew that the evil message must be counteracted immediately, and, without his consent, she