Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: 1 Samuel
Book: 1 Samuel
Chapter: 25

Death of Samuel. (1) David's request; Nabal's churlish
refusal. (2-11) David's intention to destroy Nabal. (12-17)
Abigail takes a present to David. (18-31) He is pacified, Nabal
dies. (32-39) David takes Abigail to Wife. (39-44)

1 All Israel lamented Samuel, and they had reason. He prayed
daily for them. Those have hard hearts, who can bury Faithful
ministers without grief; who do not feel their loss of those who
have prayed for them, and taught them the way of the Lord.

2-11 We should not have heard of Nabal, if nothing had passed
between him and David. Observe his name, Nabal, "A fool;" So it
signifies. Riches make men look great in the Eye of the world;
but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He
had No honour or honesty; he was churlish, Cross, and
ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a Man
that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and
saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this
world, when So great a Churl as Nabal abounds, and So good a Man
as David suffers want!, David pleaded the kindness Nabal's
shepherds had received. Considering that David's men were in
distress and Debt, and discontented, and the scarcity of
provisions, it was By good management that they were kept from
plundering. Nabal went into a Passion, as covetous men are apt
to do, when asked for any thing, thinking thus to cover one Sin
with another; and, By abusing the Poor, to excuse themselves
from relieving them. But God will not thus be mocked. Let this
help us to Bear reproaches and misrepresentations with patience
and cheerfulness, and make us easy under them; it has often been
the Lot of the excellent ones of the Earth. Nabal insists much
On the property he had in the provisions of his table. May he
not do what he will with his own? We mistake, if we think we are
absolute lords of what we have, and may do what we please with
it. No; we are but stewards, and must use it as we are directed,
remembering it is not our own, but His who intrusted us with it.

12-17 God is kind to the evil and unthankful, and why may not
we be So? David determined to destroy Nabal, and all that
belonged to him. Is this thy voice, O David? Has he been So long
in the school of affliction, where he should have learned
patience, and yet is So passionate? He at other times was calm
and considerate, but is Put into such a heat By a few hard
words, that he seeks to destroy a whole family. What are the
best of men, when God leaves them to themselves, that they may
know what is in their hearts? What need to pray, Lord, lead us
not into Temptation!

18-31 By a present Abigail atoned for Nabal's denial of David's
request. Her behaviour was very submissive. Yielding pacifies
great offences. She puts herself in the place of a penitent, and
of a petitioner. She could not excuse her Husband's conduct. She
depends not upon her own reasonings, but On God's Grace, to
soften David, and expects that Grace would work powerfully. She
says that it was below him to take vengeance On So weak and
despicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him No
kindness, So he could do him No hurt. She foretells the glorious
End of David's present troubles. God will preserve thy Life;
therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take
away the lives of any, especially of the people of thy God and
Saviour. Abigail keeps this argument for the last, as very
powerful with So good a Man; that the less he indulged his
Passion, the more he consulted his peace and the repose of his
own Conscience. Many have done that in a heat, which they have a
thousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge is
soon turned into bitterness. When tempted to Sin, we should
consider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards.

32-39 David gives God thanks for sending him this happy check
in a sinful way. Whoever meet us with counsel, direction,
comfort, caution, or seasonable reproof, we must see God sending
them. We ought to be very thankful for those happy providences
which are the means of keeping us from sinning. Most people
think it enough, if they take reproof patiently; but few will
take it thankfully, and commend those who give it, and accept it
as a favour. The nearer we are to committing Sin, the greater is
the Mercy of a seasonable restraint. Sinners are often most
secure when most in danger. He was very Drunk. A sign he was
Nabal, a fool, that could not use plenty without abusing it; who
could not be pleasant with his friends without making a Beast of
himself. There is not a surer sign that a Man has but little
Wisdom, nor a surer way to destroy the little he has, than
drinking to excess. Next morning, how he is changed! His Heart
overnight merry with Wine, next morning heavy as a Stone; So
deceitful are Carnal pleasures, So soon passes the laughter of
the fool; the End of that mirth is heaviness. Drunkards are sad,
when they reflect upon their own folly. About ten days after,
the Lord smote Nabal, that he died. David blessed God that he
had been kept from killing Nabal. Worldly sorrow, mortified
pride, and an affrighted Conscience, sometimes End the joys of
the sensualist, and separate the covetous Man from his wealth;
but, whatever the weapon, the Lord smites men with Death when it
pleases him.

39-44 Abigail believed that David would be King over Israel,
and greatly esteemed his pious and excellent character. She
deemed his proposal of Marriage honourable, and advantageous to
her, notwithstanding his present difficulties. With great
Humility, and doubtless agreeably to the customs of those times,
she consented, being willing to share his trails. Thus those who
join themselves to Christ, must be willing now to suffer with
him, believing that hereafter they shall reign with him.