Abigail and Jesus

There is a story told in 1 Samuel 25 in which a woman foreshadows Jesus in perhaps an even more comprehensive way than many of the more prominent OT characters. The story is found in 1 Samuel 25:3-35 and it deals largely with Abigail, her husband Nabal and David. 

The story begins by telling us the time of year. It is the time of shearing sheep in Judea (Gen. 31:19; 38:13; Deut. 15:19; 1 Sam. 25:2, 4, 7). A wealthy man named Nabal (his name means foolish, senseless) is shearing sheep in Carmel (1 Sam. 25:2, 5-7). David’s men have been protecting the sheep (1 Sam. 25:15-16) and are seeking the usual payment for their labor from Nabal (1 Sam. 25:8). Nabal’s pride and foolishness gets the better of him and he refuses to pay (1 Sam. 25:9-11; Prov. 10:8; 18:7). David’s men take word back to him (1 Sam. 25:12) and David is hungry for blood (1 Sam. 25:13). In the meantime, one of Nabal’s young men updates Abigail on the developing situation (1 Sam. 25:14-17).

Now, as you can probably imagine, Abigail has a big decision to make. She can either choose to possibly save the life of her husband or she can choose to set herself free from a man evidently doesn’t care about her or his own life. Abigail chooses the first option but it’s how she goes about doing it that points to Jesus. Abigail becomes:

1. A willing intercessor (1 Sam. 25:18-22)

Abigail immediately acts to remedy (intercedes) the situation that Nabal has created (v. 18). Notice that the text emphasizes her willingness to take charge and make decision without telling Nabal (v. 19-20). She does not take advantage of the situation, but she seeks to do good to her husband even though he does not deserve it (Prov. 31:10, 12). As she prepares to step in, the story reverts back to David and his men who are bloodthirsty and are on a mission to destroy Nabal and his household (vv. 21-22).

2. One who takes the blame on herself (1 Sam. 25:23-25)

As she meets David and his men, Abigail immediately prostrates herself showing respect and honor. She seeks to attract the attention of David in a humble way (v. 23). An almost unexpected and rather surprising statement exits her mouth when she takes the blame for what Nabal has done (v. 24). She speaks to David in submission and requests that he would forget about Nabal for he is worthless just as his name suggests (v. 25). Knowing this, she still does him good.

3. One who defuses a volatile situation (1 Sam. 25:26-34)

Abigail, now having David’s attention (v. 26), skillfully and wisely defuses the situation that was going to end in devastation. Abigail’s speech reflects her knowledge of David’s anointing and his relationship with the LORD (vv. 28-31). She ensures David that it is not like him to be about bloodshed. Perhaps the most striking point is in v. 28 where she asks David to forgive her transgression. David responds to Abigail (vv. 32-34) effectively thanking her for her intercession and her wisdom. He also acknowledges that God has worked through her to prevent him from carrying out bloodshed. 

Abigail’s actions are perfected in the story and life of Jesus. Like Abigail Jesus became: 

1. A willing intercessor

When we choose to sin, we effectively become fools like Nabal, When we fail to recognize God and submit to His will for our lives we essentially sign our death certificates (Psalm 2). 

Therefore, someone (an Abigail) had to step in on our behalf. We needed an intercessor and we got one. Jesus willingly stepped in on our behalf because God’s wrath would consume us (1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 7:25; 8:6; 9:15; 12:24).

2. One who took sin upon Himself

Jesus took upon Himself the sins of the world. He essentially took the blame for us and God was satisfied to bruise Him in our stead (Isa. 53:4-6, 10; Mk. 10:45; Jn. 10:15; 2 Cor. 5:14-15, 21; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 2:24). 

He sought our own spiritual well-being, our own good knowing full well we did not deserve anything (Rom. 5:8). Jesus came to fix a situation that man created. He did nothing but live a blameless, fruitful and exemplary life (1 Pet. 2:22-23).

3. One who defused the most volatile situation

Having offered Himself for sin, Jesus satisfied God’s wrath and put an end to our broken relationship with Him (Col. 1:13; 1 Pet. 2:25; 1 Pet. 3:18, Rev. 1:5-6). 

Jesus, not owing us anything, lived a life of humility, service, sacrifice and love that was ultimately displayed on the cross when He said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do” (cf. Lk. 23:34).

We would all do well to learn from the stories of both Abigail and Jesus. We do not want to be those who are ignorant of the truth because it may cost us our lives. May we turn Jesus in humble submission and may we offer Him thanks for all that He has done for us. 

If you haven’t yet become a Christian by being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, why do you wait (Acts 22:16)?