The Story of Abigail in the Bible: 8 Powerful Lessons

The story of Abigail in the Bible is an inspiring story of courage, humility, and faith. Her action-packed story is filled with so many rich lessons from all the characters in the story. 

So, who was Abigail in the Bible? She was initially Nabal’s wife who heard of her husband’s wrongdoing and quickly took action to save her household. Her actions prevented an attack by David and his men.

The meaning of Abigail in the Bible is “cause of joy” or “father’s joy” in Hebrew.

While Abigail may be one of the lesser-known women of the Old Testament, her traits and personality were remarkable and stand out. She won David’s heart because she managed to combine her wisdom with her wealth to save her entire household and secure her future in Israel’s history. 

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young woman in Bible time robes leading several donkeys laden with bags of food

The Story of Abigail in the Bible Summary

Where is the story of Abigail in the Bible? We read of Abigail in 1 Samuel 25 when Prophet Samuel had just died and was buried, and the nation of Israel mourned for him. David, the son of Jesse, then moved to the wilderness of Paran.

At this point David was the future king of Israel but was a fugitive, running away from King Saul who wanted to murder him because he was jealous and threatened by David’s popularity and military success. 

We are introduced to a very wealthy man with plenty of livestock. The name of the man was Nabal, and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but Nabal was evil and harsh. 

It was sheep-shearing time, and David decided to send his servants to Nabal in peace, wishing him long life and good health. David instructed his men to ask Nabal for food for their group, since it was a festive time of plenty for Nabal. When David’s servants did as he instructed, Nabal refused and replied by insulting David. 

And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?

1 Samuel 25:10-11

When David’s men gave this report to him, he became angry and made a plan to go with four hundred of his six hundred men to destroy Nabal and all his household. In the meantime, Nabal’s own servants told Abigail all that had happened. They explained that David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and their sheep the whole time they were in the desert and had not stolen anything from them. 

Abigail quickly arose, loaded her household donkeys with food, and rode on her donkey into a mountain ravine where she met David and his men on their way to her home. She humbled herself, fell on the ground, and asked him to have forgiveness and mercy for her husband’s actions. She asked David not to take vengeance, but to instead allow the Lord to take vengeance. 

David respected and thanked her for her intervention and accepted the food she brought. The next morning, she told her husband what had happened, and “his heart died within him and he became as a stone”. (1 Samuel 25:37)

David’s messengers then came and told Abigail that David wanted to marry her. She agreed and took her female servants and went to him. Abigail became David’s second wife, since he had also married Ahinoam of Jezreel. 

How Did Abigail Stop David From Taking Revenge?

Abigail took skins of wine, two hundred loaves of bread, cakes of raisins, readily prepared sheep and gave David and his men the food they had initially asked for. Then she humbled herself before David and knelt as she addressed him. 

Abigail admitted that her husband was careless and foolish and should not have acted the way he did. She asked for forgiveness and mercy. 

Unlike her evil husband, she acknowledged the name of David and his position as the future king of Israel, the one who would have a lasting kingdom. She knew that he fought the Lord’s battles, and so the Lord would fight for him. She asked that David would have no cause of grief or pangs of conscience because of the staggering burden of needless bloodshed to avenge himself. 

Knowing that David would have success and rule Israel, Abigail humbly asked that he would remember her actions and kindness. 

What Happened to Abigail’s Husband in the Bible?

So, how did Nabal die? When Abigail returned from her meeting with David and his men, she came back to find Nabal drunk and rejoicing. She waited until morning to tell the wicked man Nabal what had happened. 

Upon hearing what transpired, Nabal fell ill. We are told “that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone.” We can’t be sure what exactly that means. It could mean that he had a heart attack, or that he had a stroke, or that he just lost all heart and will to live out of fear of David. After ten days, God’s wrath was revealed, and He “smote Nabal, that he died.” (1 Samuel 25:37)

Why Did David Marry Abigail?

The Bible tells us that Abigail was a beautiful woman, but more than that, she was intelligent. David’s heart was touched by her actions and words. She showed discretion, good judgment, and wisdom. 

After Nabal’s death, David may also have wanted to comfort Abigail and give her a new life without pain and humiliation. Abigail’s character made her worthy to be a future queen.  

What Are the Qualities of Abigail in the Bible?

Some of the admirable characteristics of Abigail in the Bible were her courage, bravery, and strength. She faced an army of four hundred men ready to fight and kill, while she was unarmed.

When she met David another quality she showed was humility. She knelt before the future king and pleaded her case. 

Unlike her greedy husband who refused to honor and grant David’s request, Abigail was generous, kind, and hospitable. Nabal didn’t refuse to give David food because he was poor. Nabal was rich and had the resources, yet was arrogant and cruel and selfish. 

What was special about Abigail in the Bible was her loyalty to her family. Her husband Nabal was evil, and yet she still did all she could to protect him and his entire household from destruction. She could have run away and saved herself, but she decided to seek to save everyone. 

Abigail was a wise woman who made the right decisions and said the right words at the right time. She was an intelligent negotiator. She didn’t just go to David and start crying and pleading with him to save her family. She approached him with facts, intelligence, and empathy and reminded him of who he was and of God’s power and sovereignty. 

She approached him with facts, intelligence, and empathy and reminded him of who he was and of God’s power and sovereignty. 

What Does the Story of Abigail teach?

The story of Abigail in the Bible is inspiring and encouraging. We get a look into the background life of one of David’s wives. So, what are the lessons from Abigail in the Bible? 

1) Abigail’s story teaches us to be at peace with others. 

Abigail sought peace with David and his men. She approached David in his anger and sought peace and reconciliation.

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Romans 12:18

Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace who gives us peace and expects us to live peaceably with all men, as much as is possible. 

Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace who gives us peace and expects us to live peaceably with all men, as much as is possible. 

All around us people are hurting…in our families, workplaces, communities, and churches…and need the peace of God that passes all understanding in their lives. The Lord calls us to be peacemakers and to love God and others. 

2) The Story of Abigail in the Bible shows us that words are powerful. 

As Christians, we are called to behave differently from the world. Our words should bring healing, not harm. When others inflict pain and hurt on us, we are to respond in love and forgiveness like Abigail did, living with her ungodly husband. 

Nabal angered, insulted, and hurt David with his words, but Abigail used words to bring peace and save her whole household from destruction. 

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 15:1

The Bible says a wife builds or destroys her home (Proverbs 14:1). Abigail built up her home with wise words and counsel. Just as Abigail did, we are to use the power of words for good. Our words should encourage and lift up and protect those around us, especially those in our own families. 

 

3) The story of Abigail teaches us to be wise women 

Abigail became a model of wisdom for us all during a difficult time. Instead of approaching her husband, she took action to meet David who was angry, and showed him generosity. She didn’t tell Nabal when she went to meet David, for Nabal may have stopped her from going. 

In our own lives, we need to be wise. The more we abide by God’s Word, the more He gives us wisdom and discernment to make the right decisions. The Lord is ready and willing to grant us wisdom when we ask Him (James 1:5-8). 

4) Abigail’s story teaches us that vengeance belongs to the Lord.

When David the son of Jesse was insulted by Nabal, who definitely didn’t have good sense, he wanted to take revenge on him by destroying his entire household. However, God’s Word encourages us not to fight back when we are hurt, but instead to wait for God who is the ultimate judge. 

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:19-21

5) The story of Abigail in the Bible shows us that we must do good, no matter what. 

Nabal’s wrongdoing didn’t stop Abigail from doing good. He refused to show gratitude for David’s men who had kept his livestock and shepherds safe.

In our own lives, we are called to do good no matter what those around us are doing or the circumstances we find ourselves in. We do good in obedience to the Lord and give Him glory, honor, and praise. 

young woman in Bible time robes leading several donkeys laden with bags of food text overlay about the story of Abigail in the Bible

6) Abigail’s story teaches us that quick action can make all the difference. 

Abigail acted swiftly and decisively in an emergency. Sometimes the answer is obvious, and we don’t need to dwell and reflect on a matter. Quick action and taking advantage of opportunities the Lord gives us to solve problems can make all the difference. 

7) The story of Abigail in the Bible teaches us humility. 

Abigail knew that her husband was wrong and that David was angry and had a right to be. So she humbled herself before David by kneeling and then addressing him. This genuineness moved David’s heart, and he spared Nabal’s household. 

When we are humble before the Lord and before men, we have opportunities to build and rebuild relationships, become more helpful, and inspire respect. More than that our Lord Jesus Christ was a humble man, and He is our best example. 

8) The story of Abigail in the Bible shows us that we should look at the bigger picture in life.

David was caught in the emotions of the present. His pride and ego were hurt, and he was out for revenge. His feelings were in control, and he lost sight of the bigger picture of who he was. And Whose he was. Abigail reminded him of that and of God’s sovereignty, as well. 

In our own lives, circumstances can sometimes tempt us to forget our identity in Christ. Abigail’s story teaches us not to be ruled by feelings or temporary situations but to keep in mind the glory of God and live to please Him.

Our decisions must be based on what will last in eternity. We live by faith and not by feelings (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Learn More About the Story of Abigail in the Bible

If you’d like to dive deeper into her story, you’ll want to check out the story of Abigail in the Bible study that comes with free resources! 

FREE! Character Bible Study on Abigail

Download these Abigail Bible Study Questions for FREE! Included are 10 study questions and 5 reflection questions, along with the specific Bible passages to read her story.

3 Abigail Bible Study Questions worksheets watercolor branches background

Resources to Learn More about Inspiring Bible Women

If you’d like to study the story and lives of other inspiring women of the Bible, you’ll want to check out this 30-day Bible reading plan and journal >> Inspiring Women of the Bible Study Journal – Digital & Printable!

Be sure to read more from our Women of the Bible Series!



Tinashe Jaricha headshot

Tinashe Jaricha is a child of God, saved by His amazing grace. Her passion is to encourage moms to grow in Biblical knowledge. She shares Christian living tips and resources at Our God Is With Us.


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