Abigail: The Wife of a Fool

The Curse

On his best day, a husband is a night in shining armor. He sweeps you off your feet with flowers, dinner, and sweet talk about how you complete him. You end the night cuddling by candle light, so glad you married such a dear.

Then there are the not-so-good days. Like that time he gave you tips on loading the dishwasher–the one he loads twice a month while complaining. Or that time he played an extra nine holes when two of the kids had the flu and you were up to your eyeballs in tissues and snot. And then there was the time he built a deck with his buddy when he promised to take you to dinner.

Sometimes you are married to Romeo and sometimes you are married to Bozo. Abigail, the next brush stroke in our Portrait of a Godly Wife, was married to a full-time Bozo.

Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite. 1 Samuel 25:3

I do love a good name study. This one does not disappoint. Nabal’s name means “fool.” What mother names her kid “fool,” for goodness sake? Abigail must have had a happy childhood; her name means “my father is joy.” It is said that women marry men like their fathers. It seems as though the matchmaker missed the mark with this union!

The beauty and the beast make an appearance in David’s story during his time on the run from King Saul. Nabal is very wealthy. David and his men provide protection for Nabal’s property and, in return request food. Nabal’s foolish response:

Who is David? Shall I take my bread and my water, and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men who come from I do not know where? 1 Samuel 25:10-11.

David’s response is retaliation. He grabs his sword and is prepared to kill Nabal (1 Samuel 25:12-13).

This is the point at which Abigail saves the day. One of Nabal’s servants, perhaps fearful for his life tells Abigail what her foolish husband has done. She gives us a practical application of the Proverbs 31 wife: “Abigail lost no time”. She prepared a feast, loaded it on donkeys, and headed toward David and his men (1 Samuel 25:14-19).

She did all of this without telling Nabal what she was doing. Scripture does not advocate dishonesty or deceit (Jeremiah 9:5, Leviticus 6:2, Psalm 101:7). However, if your husband leads contrary to God’s word, you do not follow. We are to be his helper without being co-dependent. Wives cannot support or encourage sin in a husband’s life.

Abigail serves as Nabal’s intercessor. She demonstrates the chayil of Proverbs 31:10, a wife of noble character. Abigail places the blame on herself, “On me alone, my lord, be the guilt,” while speaking to Nabal’s fault, “Nabal is his name, and folly is with him” (1 Samuel 25:24-25). Abigail reasons with David, helping him to see that the Lord has protected him from both being murdered and committing murder. God plans for David to become king without this blood guilt on his hands.

David’s heart is turned. He gives the glory to God for sending Abigail. He acknowledges that, without her intervention, he would have ended the day with blood on his hands. Abigail plays a vital role in sparing her foolish husband of death and sparing a quick-tempered warrior from vengeance.

1 Samuel 25:33

Just like a good book, the plot thickens. Abigail returns home to her foolish husband. While Abigail has been out doing the work of the Lord, Nabal is home “holding a banquet like that of a king,” a.k.a. a keg party. He has just denied the future king a meal, while indulging himself, one so unworthy of the honor. Has your husband ever kicked back to relax while you work your fingers to the bone? Let us not dwell on that thought too long; we don’t want bitterness to take root! But, I do want us to identify with Abigail’s situation.

Abigail wisely waits until Nabal is sober to tell him what she did while he partied like a king. Timing is everything when communicating with our husbands. Pray before you go to him. Wait for the Lord’s timing to bring an issue or conflict before him. Just as Esther waited 3 days, it is often best for us to pray and wait at least 3 days. If you do it too early, you risk being overly emotional and speaking in the flesh. When you pray for your own attitude and your husband’s heart, you invite the Spirit to be a part of your conversation.

The goal must be his reconciliation to God, not justice for you. Humility is the opposite of harsh judgment and criticism. Bring his sin before him, according to Galatians 6:1-2, keeping the attitude of humility and gentleness. Trust God to do the work in his heart.

There are some things that can be overlooked (Proverbs 19:11). Not every mistake needs to be corrected. These kinds of confrontations are reserved for true foolishness and sin*. This is why the praying and the waiting are so important; it helps you discern what can be overlooked and what must be confronted.

God certainly took care of Nabal’s heart. When Abigail shared the news of all she had done, his heart became “like a stone” and he died 10 days later (1 Samuel 25:37-38). David heard the news and sent for Abigail. She became his wife. She moved from the tent of a fool to the palace of a king.

Your husband is the leader of your home. Because of the fall, we often want to take charge. There are times when the husband is sinful and making poor decisions. These are difficult times for a wife who desires to live a godly life. Remember our wise sister, Abigail. While it seems she is destined to live with a fool all of her days, this marriage is part of God’s well-orchestrated plan. It is through this marriage of opposites that God guides David and brings glory to himself. A difficult beginning yielded a happy ending.

Is there an offense that needs to be addressed in your husband’s life? Will you commit to prayer the next 3 days in order to allow the Holy Spirit to guide your approach?

*This is intended for a typical marriage with typical issues. If you are in an extreme situation of dysfunction or danger, please remove yourself and your children from danger and seek help from a trusted counselor, pastor, or friend. 

Recommended Resources

She Reads Truth Dear sisters, we are created to be vessels of the Gospel—to serve, to speak life, to see others as dearly beloved children of God. From Abigail, part of the Women of the Word series found at She Reads Truth.

5 Comments

  1. I see no comments on this article. Am I the only wife married to a fool? I may have googled the right thing to stumble upon this article and it brought great relief to read it. Thank you. I never knew Abigail was the Proverbs 31 woman and i don’t know how she did it. I feel the light of CHRIST INSIDE me has died after being married to my beloved fool of a husband for 5 months. Our house is constant chaos because of deep rooted pride and ego. It’s as if I have tasted a peace of hell. I’m american and he is Lebanese and we are living in Lebanon. we are both “Christians” at least I know I’m saved by Jesus’ blood. Please pray for me that I do not end up with mental health issues 🙁 I truly was not shown this side until after the marriage day. Thank you, anointed author and sister

    • Dearest Ana, I am so sorry marriage has turned sour on you. I can imagine the cultural differences have been so difficult. Generational issues can affect so many of us. I will pray for you to find hope and peace in God’s Word and through the Holy Spirit. My favorite book on this kind of lop-sided marriage is Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas. It won’t fix everything, but it might give you a little bit of hope to hold onto. Hold on to Jesus, friend! Let me know how I can encourage and help you!

    • Dear Ana, you are not alone. I have been married to one for 20 years. He was lovely, caring and supportive. He gradually became foolish in the last 5 years. I am still trying to understand why but I have to tell you. You have a choice, you can leave or stay. Whatever you do, get closer to God it is the greatest gift we have on earth. Learn to love God more by being in his presence, then there is no room for mental health problems. You are precious to God so is your husband. You can pray for him that the spirit of foolishness will be bound and loose the spirit of wisdom upon his life. Don’t let the situation rob you of your Joy.

  2. I have been with my husband for 8 years, married for almost 1.5 years. When we met, I was so in love with Jesus and had a servant’s heart in everything I did. Now, 8 years later, I have been come resentful and empty inside from all of the junk that has taken place. There has been an issue with drugs, alcohol, pornography, lies, mental abuse, and the list goes on. How do I get my joy back after all of this foolishness??? We have tried counseling with a Christian therapist, didn’t work. We tried counseling with our Pastor, he went to one session and wouldn’t go back. I know my husband loves me in the only way I think he is capable of, but this has taken a serious toll on me, my 2 daughters, my relationship with my mom, and my relationship with God. My faith used to be the kind that others would be envious of (not that I want anyone to be envious…), but now I have lost it after years of praying for God to make my husband into a man after His own heart. I continue to read the word, participate in church/christian community activities… but I just don’t have any joy or trust that God is really listening and/or working things out here. I know you can’t fix this for me, but encouragement would be greatly appreciate… maybe even some prayer for a miracle.

    • Jessica, thank you for trusting us with your tender heart. I sent you an email tonight to share a few thoughts. I’m praying for you and your family!

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