Abigail and David
(This link will take you to the first part of the article in this series. There you can read an introduction to Typology and a typological narrative from David and Goliath.)
The second event that has imbedded thematic typology is the obscure incident at the village of Carmel in 1 Samuel 25. The context had the king elect as a fugitive running from rabid Saul. By God’s sovereign intervention, David had just narrowly escaped capture in the caves of En Gedi (1 Sam 24). To add insult to injury, David’s only friend and ally, Samuel, had just passed and David was presumably unable to attend the funeral and honor his mentor (1 Sam 25:1). Now, while in the back hills of desert country, he does what he can for a people he was destined to rule. He provides security detail for the shepherd ranchers while their flocks grazed on unprotected hillsides—an open invitation for pillaging thieves (1 Sam 25:7–8a, 15–16). David and his men never took advantage of these helpless shepherds and Naboth’s ranching program directly received the benefits. Thus, on sheep shearing day, David’s protection had reaped a bunker crop of innumerable sheep available for profit. David sends messengers to simply request supplies from the excesses on Nabal’s day of celebration (1 Sam 25:8b).
Nabal, whose name means “fool,” shows his true colors by shamelessly disrespecting his future king. He questioned his royal status and accused him of being disloyal to King Saul as many a servant had done to their masters (1 Sam 25:10). Then, this arrogant man, claims that all that he possessed was manufactured by his own hand and he was not inclined to share it with someone who was an unknown rebel (1 Sam 25:11).
This indeed is a component in the overall story of salvation. Mankind has been enjoying the benefits of life, marriage, children, and success all because there is a God who is “kind to the unthankful and evil” (cf. Luke 6:35). God comes to a man or woman’s life and asks probing questions about their real accountability to be fully discussed in a coming day of judgement (cf. Rev 20:11–15). Just like foolish Nabal, a host of people scorn God in the same Nabal-esque way with indifference and irritation for invading their happy blessings with such unscheduled and uninvited inquiry. They, like Nabal, do not feel they have any reason to answer such impertinent questions from God or anyone else. David’s reaction of outright immediate anger is then both appropriate and deserved. The king-elect has come calling Mr. Nabal who has brushed him aside and suppressed the reality of David’s provisions, claiming that Nabal is the reason for his own success. David’s wrath springs into military retaliation intended to execute any living male (1 Sam 25:12–13, 21). Death is the only outcome equitable for such insolence.
Again, we have another ingredient in the salvation chronicle: God’s righteous wrath is justly due upon all unrighteousness for mankind has purposely ignored the general revelation of God to their consciousnesses (Rom 1:1–21). Such disregard and unthankfulness graffities the gracious righteousness of God with subsequent actions of ever increasing and evolving sin (Rom 1:21–32). Thus, God has every right and obligation to handle such impertinent audacity (Rom 3:5–6). As Nabal deserved death, so does humankind’s rudeness and rebellion demand the same equal punishment (Rom 6:23). When we see this scoundrel with his incredulous insults, we nearly hear ourselves utter, “he is getting what he deserves.” Yet, men and women today would never think such condemnation applies to them as they stand before a holy God who has the right to ask similar questions of accountability. Thus, we have another building block in the theme of salvation.
However, the most declarative feature in regard to the salvific metanarrative is what Abigail does next. She is the wife of this haughty husband. He has put the entire family in harm’s way and she no doubt has suffered from his personal selfishness too (1 Sam 25:3, 17). She, being a woman and culturally of less respect, does something to literally save the life of her husband and his entire business. Unbeknown to Nabal, she prepares the gift package he should have organized (1 Sam 25:18–19). This alone might have been enough to appease David’s vindication, but she does something more. Upon discretely meeting David under hill cover, she quickly dismounts from her donkey and pleads that Nabal’s offenses be regarded as her own: “On me, my lord, on me let this iniquity be!” and pleads then for forgiveness of her wrongdoings (1 Sam 25:24, 28). The words arrest David’s wrath and he drastically changes his plans of judgment to extensions of mercy (1 Sam 25:32–35). What a moment of glorious peace!
Does this not reverberate with harmonious tones within the grand plan of salvation’s substitution? Our Christ correspondingly pled with the Father to “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). As Abigail made herself the culprit, so Christ “became sin, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). This substitution of Christ satisfies the heavenly scales of judicial proceedings and God becomes contented, like David, with the intervention. With riveting typology, we have history serving as a painter’s palette to artistically draw a mural of the grand theme of substitution and the impact of such an action.
Dr. Price wears many hats including a doctor, husband, father of 9 children, elder, speaker, and writer. He is a core team member of Renew In Knowledge. You can follow some of his writings and life probing meditations on the blog Shepherdinghisflock.