Does the Bible character Abigail sound familiar to you? She is mentioned for the first time in the Bible in the book of First Samuel. One of the things about Abigail’s life which many Bible students recall is that she had “a loser” for a husband, an Israelite by the name of Nabal. Following his death, “Abigail the Carmelitess” married David and later gave birth to David’s second son, Daniel (1 Chronicles 3:1).
But what about Abigail’s character traits? We learn a number of things about her from the divine record found in 1 Samuel 25. Let us take a look at some different aspects of her mentality, speech, and conduct which we see in this passage.
Abigail was humble, as she showed when she encountered David for the first time. What did she do in that instance? “Now when Abigail saw David, she dismounted quickly from the donkey, fell on her face before David, and bowed down to the ground” (1 Samuel 25:23). Is humility a lost trait in our time? The following two truths are relevant in every period of history: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).
Abigail was honest in her evaluation of her husband when she saw that he treated David rudely. She referred to him as “this scoundrel Nabal,” saying, “For as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him! . . .” (1 Samuel 25:25). Nabal conducted himself foolishly, and Abigail refused to support such behavior.
She was generous, as she brought a considerable amount of provisions to feed David and those men who accompanied him (1 Samuel 25:18,27). Would it not be wonderful if all of God’s people graciously shared their substance without expecting any type of payback? Having a spirit of hospitality is a quality that should characterize each Christian (Romans 12:13).
Abigail also was God-revering, using her tongue to speak with respect and honor about Jehovah (1 Samuel 25:28-31). Would it not be wonderful if all modern-day females and males alike would do the same?! So many people of our day flippantly and disrespectfully refer to the Creator. Among God’s children, this should never happen. Instead, we ought to speak and “serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28).
The woman Abigail was perceptive, as she
understood that it was God’s will for David to reign over Israel. She knew that God had spoken something concerning David’s future on the throne, telling David, “. . . when the LORD . . . has appointed you ruler over Israel” (1 Samuel 25:30).
For me personally, the one aspect of Abigail’s character which stands out more than anything else is this: this wise woman had the heart of a servant. In ancient times, in most cases who was it that had the responsibility of washing the feet of guests and dignitaries? It was the lowest of the servants, right?
Listen to what the Bible tells us about what Abigail did and said when she came before David: “Then she arose, bowed her face to the earth, and said, ‘Here is your maidservant, a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord’” (1 Samuel 25:41). Abigail basically said, “I will wash the feet of the foot-washers. Count me as the lowest servant.” In an age when people have “gone nuts,” so to speak, spreading selfies (a photo one takes of him/herself) and self-exalting statements on social media or in any forum where they can get some “Likes” to stroke their egos, it seems to me that we could use a whole lot more hearts like Abigail’s — the heart of a humble servant. Jesus, the Master, came to serve others (Mark 10:45), and He plainly proclaimed, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35).
What we read in the Bible about Abigail reminds us that one does not have to be well- known in order to make an impression on and influence others. Though she would not be categorized as a “major” character in Bible history, and although she lived about three thousand years ago, she continues to send a message to you and me by her attitude, words, and behavior, much like Abel by his faith speaks to us (Hebrews 11:4).
Abigail was not a perfect person. She did, however, manifest some admirable qualities: she was humble, honest, generous, God-revering, perceptive, and possessed a servant’s heart. In every generation, people of both genders, young ones and older ones, too, can learn from her. The Old Testament was recorded and preserved for our learning (Romans 15:4). We are blessed to have its record about Abigail. Let us be thankful for it.
— Roger D. Campbell