I have a question for the counselors/Bible students out there: Was Abby okay? Does this seem like a happy ending to you?
Who's Abby? Abigail. 1 Samuel 25. Abigail's incredible gut instincts and courage saved her and her household from a potential mass murder at the hands of yet-to-be king David.
(David and 600 of his mercenaries were hungry and wandering as far as they could from the wrath of king Saul. The band took to entrepreneurial security detail: they kept the sheep and shepherds of wealthy land owners safe.
They asked for a monetary "thank you" at sheep shearing time, from a particular owner of a whole lotta sheep named Nabal.
Nabal basically flipped off David ("Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse?" = fighting words) and then went home to get drunk.
David said, "Hell naw! You 400, come with me. We ridin' out tonight!" This is why people need to make decisions after they eat.)
Abigail had an unhappy marriage to Nabal. We know this because the Bible refers to her husband as "Fool" like it's his name...because it was. Nabal means "fool."
I mean, everyone knew Nabal was just useless. In 1 Samuel 25:17, one of his servants said to Abigail (apparently without any fear of reprisal or correction):
"Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him."
No side-eye from Abby. She just acted on the truth the servant shared. She cooked. She scraped. She bowed. She went above and beyond what her husband should have done to show gratitude and hospitality to the men who contributed to their good fortune.
Nabal was a punk, so as soon as he sobered up and heard that he was thisclose to a pogrom, he stroked out and died--without a word of gratitude on his dying lips. Worthless.
Abby was fierce. I mean, she spoke the language of slings to the giant-slayer:
"Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling (25:29)."
WHAAAATTTTT?!?! SHE GOT THE GIFT OF GAAAAABBBB! (And, ahem, notice the answer to Nabal's question: THIS is who David, the son of Jesse is.)
So how could Abigail, at the end of the chapter, go out like a...a...sister wife? Another trophy? Ugggghhh.
When the servants of David came to Abigail at Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, “David has sent us to you to take you as his wife.” She arose and bowed with her face to the ground and said, “Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet of my lord’s servants.” Then Abigail quickly arose, and rode on a donkey, with her five maidens who attended her; and she followed the messengers of David and became his wife.
David had also taken Ahinoam of Jezreel, and they both became his wives.
Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was from Gallim. (25:40-44)
Ahinoam plus Abigail plus/minus Michal. Are we keeping up with the math? David wasn't king yet, but had already started mounting his wife collection--a practice that would be "perfected" by his son, Solomon.
Abby, the courageous woman who considered what she should do and did it. Abby, who prepped a feast for 600 in a hurry. Abby, who by herself was willing to show up, bow, and speak boldly in the presence of hundreds of lean and hungry soldiers bent on murder. Abby, with her humility--to the point of referring to herself as a maidservant willing to wash the busted, crusty feet of 600 soldiers--immediately faded into the historical background, as soon as she accepted David's proposal.
I know some people interpret this immediate marriage to David as a romantic love story.
I see her as someone who lived with an unpredictable addict and had to learn how to survive and protect her household by anticipating and neutralizing potential threats. Reaction was her reflex.
She saw the potential for freedom with David, but, from his track record, I'm thinking she was just as neglected and taken for granted in her relationship with him. I mean, she was Generic Wife Number Three to David, while the text paints her as a woman of value and valor.
It's almost as if the text ends with Kermit sipping tea: "...and David already had these women as wives but decided to add this amazing woman like she was just a trophy...but that's none of my business." A foreshadowing of David's horrible proclivities. His inability to see women as whole beings made in the image of God.
With a woman like Abigail, why would David take Bathsheba? When he had seen God judging, protecting, and freeing in his interaction with Abigail, why would he later choose to abuse Bathsheba and contract for her husband's murder? I submit that it's because David never really listened to Abigail. Never was content with the woman--women--he had.
Practitioners and students: what do you see?