XXV Samuel's death, ver. 1. The character of Nabal, ver. 2, 3. David's requests to him, ver. 4-9. His churlish answer, ver. 10-13. David's purpose to destroy him told to Abigail, ver. 13-17. She pacifies David, ver. 18-31. His answer, ver. 32-35. The death of Nabal, ver. 36-38. David marries Abigail and Ahinoam, ver. 39- 44.
Verse 1. Lamented him - Those have hard hearts, that can bury their faithful ministers with dryeyes, and are not sensible of the loss of them who have prayed for them, and taught them the way of the Lord.
Verse 2. Carmel - In some part of this wilderness Israel wandered, when they came out of Egypt. The place would bring to mind God's care concerning them, which David might now improve for his own encouragement.
Verse 3. Abigail - That is, the joy of his father: yet he could not promise himself much joy of her, when he married her to such an husband: it seems, in inquiring, (no unfrequent thing) more after his wealth, than after his wisdom. Caleb - This is added to aggravate his crime, that he was a degenerate branch of that noble stock of Caleb, and consequently of the tribe of Judah, as David was.
Verse 4. Shear sheep - Which times were celebrated with feasting.
Verse 6. Prosperity - By this expression David both congratulates Nabal's felicity, and tacitly minds him of the distress in which he and his men were.
Verse 7. We hurt not - This considering the licentiousness of soldiers, and the necessities David and his men were exposed to, was no small favour, which Nabal was bound both in justice, and gratitude, and prudence to requite.
Verse 8. A good day - That is, in a day of feasting and rejoicing; when men are most chearful and liberal; when thou mayst relieve us out of thy abundance without damage to thyself; when thou artreceiving the mercies of God, and therefore obliged to pity and relieve distressed and indigent persons.
Verse 17. Can not speak - But he flies into a passion.
Verse 18. Abigail took, &c. - This she did without his leave, because it was a case of apparent necessity, for the preservation of herself, and husband, and all the family from imminent ruin. And surely, that necessity which dispenseth with God's positive commands, might dispense with the husband's right, in this case. Bottles - Casks or rundlets.
Verse 22. Enemies of David - That is, unto David himself. But because it might seem ominous to curse himself, therefore instead of David, he mentions David's enemies. But is this the voice of David? Can he speak so unadvisedly with his lips? Has he been so long in the school of affliction, and learned no more patience therein? Lord, what is man? And what need have we to pray, lead us not into temptation.
Verse 24. And said, &c. - Impute Nabal's sin to me, and if thou pleasest, punish it in me, who here offer myself as a sacrifice to thy just indignation. This whole speech of Abigail shews great wisdom, by an absolute submitting to mercy, without any pretense of justification, of what was done, (but rather with aggravation of it) she endeavours to work upon David's generosity, to pardon it. And there is hardly any head of argument, whence the greatest orator might argue in this case, which she doth not manage to the best advantage.
Verse 25. Nabal is his name - Nabal signifies a fool.
Verse 26. As Nabal - Let them be as contemptible as Nabal is, and will be for this odious action; let them be as unable to do thee any hurt as he is; let them be forced to yield to thee, and implore thy pardon, as Nabal now doth by my mouth: let the vengeance thou didst design upon Nabal and his family fall upon their heads, who, by their inveterate malice against thee, do more deserve it than this fool for this miscarriage; and much more than all the rest of our family, who, as they are none of thine enemies, so they were in way guilty of this wicked action. And therefore spare these, and execute thy vengeance upon more proper objects.
Verse 27. Blessing - So a gift or present is called here, and elsewhere; not only because the matter of it comes from God's blessing; but also because it is given with a blessing, or with a good will. Unto the young men - As being unworthy of thine acceptance or use.
Verse 28. The trespass - That is, which I have taken upon myself, and which, if it be punished, the punishment will reach to me. Sure house - Will give the kingdom to thee, and to thy house for ever, as he hath promised thee. And therefore let God's kindness to thee, make thee gentle and merciful to others; do not sully thy approaching glory with the stain of innocent blood; but consider, that it is the glory of a king, to profit by offenses: and that it will be thy loss to cut off such as will shortly be thy subjects. The battles - For the Lord, and for the people of the Lord against their enemies; especially, the Philistines. And as this is thy proper work, and therein thou mayest expect God's blessing; so it is not thy work to draw thy sword in thy own private quarrel against any of the people of the Lord; and God will not bless thee in it. Evil hath not, &c. - Though thou hast been charged with many crimes by Saul and others; yet thy innocency is evident to all men: do not therefore by this cruel act, justify thine enemies reproaches, or blemish thy great and just reputation.
Verse 29. A man - Saul though no way injured. Thy soul - To take away thy life. Bundle of life - Or, in the bundle: that is, in the society, or congregation of the living; out of which, men are taken, and cut off by death. The phrase is taken from the common usage of men, who bind those things in bundles, which they are afraid to lose. The meaning is, God will preserve thy life; and therefore it becomes not thee, unnecessarily to take away the lives of any; especially of the people of thy God. With the Lord - That is, in the custody of God, who by his watchful providence, preserves this bundle, and all that are in it; and thee in a particular manner, as being thy God in a particular way, and specialcovenant. The Jews understand this. not only of the present life, but of that which is to come, even the happiness of departed souls, and therefore use it commonly, as an inscription on their grave-stones. "Here we have laid the body, trusting the soul is bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord." Sling out - God himself will cut them off suddenly, violently, and irresistibly; and cast them far away; both from his presence, and from thy neighbourhood, and from all capacity of doing thee hurt.
Verse 31. No grief - The mind and conscience will be free from all the torment which such an action would cause in thee. By which, she intimates, what a blemish this would be to his glory, what a disturbance to his peace, if he proceeded to execute his purpose: and withal implies, how comfortable it would be to him to remember, that he had for conscience to God, restrained his passions. Causeless - Which she signifies would be done if he should go on. For though Nabal had been guilty of abominable rudeness, and ingratitude; yet he had done nothing worthy of death, by the laws of God or of man. And whatsoever he had done, the rest of his family were innocent. Avenged - Which is directly contrary to God's law, Levit xix, 18 Deut. xxxii, 35. Then - When God shall make thee king, let me find grace in thy sight.
Verse 32. The Lord - Who by his gracious providence so disposed matters, that thou shouldst come to me: He rightly begins at the fountain of his deliverance; and then proceeds to the instruments.
Verse 33. From coming, &c. - Which I had sworn to do. Hereby it plainly appears, that oaths whereby men bind themselves to any sin, are null and void: and as it was a sin to make them; so it is adding sin to sin to perform them.
Verse 35. Accepted - That is, shewed my acceptance of thy person, by my grant of thy request.
Verse 36. A feast - As the manner was upon those solemn occasions. Sordid covetousness, and vain prodigality were met together in him. Told nothing - As he was then incapable of admonition, his reason and conscience being both asleep.
Verse 37. His heart died - He fainted away through the fear and horror of so great a mischief though it was past. As one, who having in the night galloped over a narrow plank, laid upon a broken bridge, over a deep river; when in the morning he came to review it, was struck dead with the horror of the danger he had been in.
Verse 38. Smote - God either inflicted some other stroke upon him, or increased his grief and fear to such an height, as killed him.
Verse 39. Blessed, &c. - This was another instance of human infirmity in David. David sent - But this doubtless was not done immediately after Nabal's death, but some time after it; though such circumstances be commonly omitted in the sacred history; which gives only the heads, and most important passages of things.