Story 3 – Stories of the Valiant
“My lady! My lady!”
“What is it?” I asked the young servant who was out of breath.
He huffed out, “It’s the master. He’s yelled at the messengers of the Hunted King who came to ask that they be given food from the feast. My lady, they were a wall to us shepherds and protected us and the sheep all the season. They were very good to us, and your husband, that son of Belial, has set certain death upon our heads!”
I dropped my work and ran, telling the servant who followed behind me, “Gather the donkeys. We cannot waste a moment!”
I went directly to the baskets, loaded with food for the celebration, and took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five cooked sheep, five bags of parched corn, a hundred clusters of the sun-kissed raisins, and two hundred lumps of pressed figs. While we loaded them onto the donkeys, I prayed. Would it be enough? Would any offering to the Lord’s Anointed be enough to excuse such treason?
I knew the answer, and my hands shook as I took the reins to set off for the camp of David and his warriors. David, of whom the women sang, “King Saul has killed his thousands, but David, his ten thousands!” Was there any hope of stopping the massacre that would come upon us all?
I told the servants, their donkeys laden with food, to go in front of me. Perhaps if he and his men saw the food first, their hunger would persuade them to listen. Perhaps then their fury might be placated.
But I had no real hope. My husband had acted as he always does—selfishly and without thought for the consequences. The consequences for this would be annihilation of every male in our household. What had begun as a celebration of our bounty was soon to be a day of mourning and loss. As I rode, the tears spilled down my cheeks. What could I do? What could I do?
My heart gave way as we rounded the hill to their camp. His warriors rose up and came out to meet us, already arrayed for battle. It was everything I feared. My husband’s actions had been the ultimate insult upon this great man, God’s chosen king.
Then I saw him. David. His handsome face was hardened with wrath and vengeance, and even in those seconds I could see the toll Saul’s relentless hunt had had on him. I slid from my donkey quickly and ran to him, throwing myself at his feet. I bowed my head to the ground, aware of the heat of the fierce fire in his eyes as he looked on me.
“On me, my lord! Let this reproach be on me! And let me, your servant—I beg you!—speak to you and please hear me!”
My breath caught in my throat, but I cried, lifting my head, “Please, my lord, think nothing of this man of Belial, Nabal. He’s just like his name means: foolish, and trouble is what he makes. But I, your servant, didn’t see your messenger when he came!”
Our lives were on the brink in that moment, I knew. And I’d hidden nothing from him, my king. I’d called out my own husband for what he was in the ears of his men and my husband’s servants. I knew what this king could take from me: everything. But he would pay more than I would; before our God, his own hand would be cursed with the blood of the innocent ones in my husband’s household. And that was what I told him.
“As the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, seeing the Lord has stopped you in time from shedding blood and from getting revenge with your own hands,” I begged, “now let your enemies and those who seek your life be just like Nabal.”
I raised my arms, gesturing to the laden donkeys. “And now this gift, my lord, which I, your servant, have brought, let it be given to your young men who serve you.
“And,” I pleaded, “I beg you, forgive the wrong-doing of me, your servant!”
I praised him then for following our God, for doing what was righteous, and I feared less that he would lift his sword to me. I could see in his eyes that the fury was going out of him while I spoke the truth of what I knew of him—of dethroned Saul’s pursuit of him, how God would set him on the throne to rule over us, and how he would be found guiltless this day. Perhaps my words pleased him. Perhaps the look of me pleased him. I saw the admiration in his eyes and thanked my God that He had made me beautiful to look at and had tested me in the presence of my foolish husband many an hour that I would be ready to speak words of peace to this mighty man of God. These blessings of God prevented a great massacre that day.
Abigail pleads with David in I Samuel 25 verses 14-31. The women sing “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands” in I Samuel 18:7.