Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him
"And there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. 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 25:2-3).
David arrived with his men - all outlaws at this time running from the persecution of the new King Saul. The party arrive on a feast day (v8) and David sends a message to Nabal the own to the area they were in:
‘Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. I hear that you have shearers. Now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing all the time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your eyes, for we come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.’” (1 Samuel 25:6-8)
The answer from Nabal illuminates his character:
“Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. 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 25:11-12)
This echoes the words of Psalms 73:7-8:
Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
A Commandment for the Ages: Supporting those in Needs in Your Community
God had always encouraged those who where His people to provide support for the widow, fatherless, Levite and the stranger that were living among them, especially at the end of tithing, eg. Deuteronomy 26:11-23 and Nehemiah 8:10
“Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
The Faithful Wife of a Wicked Man
Nabal was married to Abigail, a faithful God focused woman. She followed God's footsteps with bravery and did the right thing regardless of her husband's bad behaviour. We should do likewise.
"Abigail made haste and took two hundred loaves and two skins of wine and five sheep already prepared and five seahs of parched grain and a hundred clusters of raisins and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on donkeys...
Please forgive the trespass of your servant. For the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live." (1 Samuel 25:18 &28)).