Who Was Abigail in the Bible?


Abigail in the bible begs on her knees surrounded by men and horse

Scripture records the lives, acts, and journeys of many people, but not many female characters are mentioned. And so the few who are, earn their place there for good reason. One such female figure is Abigail who lived during the time of David.

But despite her enriching story, not many people know a lot about her. This article aims to help you learn about this heroine and how she earned a place in the pages of Scripture. 

Abigail in the Bible

Not a lot is recorded about this remarkable woman, but scripture describes her as sensible and beautiful. Her name means “whose father is joy”. She was most likely from Carmel, where her story unfolded, and was married to Nabal, an ill-mannered, loud-mouthed scoundrel.

Going by the Jewish culture at that time, she was married off to him because of his wealth. But despite what could be termed a nightmare of a marriage, she was able to exhibit courage and wisdom when it was needed the most. 

Story of Abigail in the Bible

The story of Abigail in the bible is recorded in 1 Samuel 25 and it begins with Samuel the prophet’s death and David on the run from Saul with his men. He moves to the desert of Paran and there he encounters Nabal, Abigail’s husband. 

So fast forward to some time later, David hears that it’s sheep shearing time at Nabal’s house. 

In ancient Jewish culture, sheep-shearing was a sort of spring festival, a time of celebrating the bountifulness of a sheep-herders’ flock. And so it was usually accompanied by lots of drinking, feasting, and usually, the settling of old scores. So David knew that there’d be a lot to eat and drink at Nabal’s house and he sent 10 of his men down with felicitations and a simple request,

“Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own! I am told that it is sheep-shearing time. While your shepherds stayed among us near Carmel, we never harmed them, and nothing was ever stolen from them. Ask your own men, and they will tell you this is true. So would you be kind to us, since we have come at a time of celebration? Please share any provisions you might have on hand with us and with your friend David.” (1 Samuel 25:6‭-‬8).

Despite the politeness and goodwill of David’s message, his 10 men got a response they weren’t expecting.

Nabal said,

“Who is this fellow David? Who does this son of Jesse think he is? There are lots of servants these days who run away from their masters. Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I’ve slaughtered for my shearers and give it to a band of outlaws who come from who knows where?”  (1 Samuel 25:10‭-‬11).

He not only didn’t give them any provisions, but he also insulted David and insinuated that he was a mere barbarian not worth his bread. When the 10 men came back and repeated what he had said to them, David got angry. Feeling deeply wronged, he told his men to get their swords and 400 of them started marching down to Nabal’s house.

Meanwhile, one of the servants of the household had heard the exchange between Nabal and David’s men and reported it to his wife Abigail. They attested to the fact that his men had treated them with kindness and protected them while they looked after the sheep and warned her of impending doom if she didn’t act fast.

What Was the Role of Abigail in the Bible?

Without informing her husband, she quickly gathered some food supplies; 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five slaughtered sheep, a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes, packed them on donkeys and sent her servants ahead to David with them while she followed from behind.

By the time she met David on the way, he had been making a vow to slaughter every man in Nabal’s household! So our heroine gets down from her horse, bows before David, and says,

“I accept all blame in this matter, my Lord. Please listen to what I have to say.” She acknowledges that her husband is a wicked and ill-tempered man and begs him not to pay attention to his words.

She then points to the gifts she brought begging his forgiveness and prophecies his kingship saying,

“The Lord will surely reward you with a lasting dynasty, for you are fighting the Lord’s battles. And you have not done wrong throughout your entire life. “Even when you are chased by those who seek to kill you, your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch! But the lives of your enemies will disappear like stones shot from a sling! When the Lord has done all he promised and has made you leader of Israel, don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then your conscience won’t have to bear the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance. And when the Lord has done these great things for you, please remember me, your servant!” (1 Samuel 25:28-‬31).

David on hearing this, marveled at her wisdom and wit, especially hearing how she didn’t want his bloodshed to be a demerit to him when he eventually became king. He accepted her gifts, withdrew his vow to kill her husband and his household, and went back with his men.

The Summary of David and Nabal’s Story

When Abigail got home, she met her husband very drunk and so didn’t tell him about her encounter with David until the next morning. On hearing it, he developed a stroke and was paralyzed until he died 10 days later. He was struck dead by the Lord Himself who avenged the insult he had given to David, a man whom He had anointed to be king. 

When David heard of this, he gave glory to God for avenging him, and as Abigail had asked, he did remember her. He sent his servants to her because he wanted to marry her. Humble and honored, she packed her belongings, took 5 of her servant girls, and went to him, becoming his wife and one of the future queens of Israel. She isn’t mentioned much after this, except in 1 Chronicles 3:1, where we learn that she later had a son for David named Daniel. 

Abigail’s Husband in the Bible

A major part of Abigail’s story is her husband; the wealthy but foolish Calebite. In fact, as funny as it sounds, his name meant “fool” and lived up to it quite well. He lived in the town of Maon, owning much land in Carmel and a lot of livestock. As opposed to his wife’s humble character, he was a very proud man who was only generous when it came to drinking and feasting.

One major lesson people can learn from Abigail’s husband in the Bible is to be generous to people when they can, and even when they can’t, not to be condescending about it. Many times, foolishness can cost you a lot – you reap what you sow.

What is the Lesson of Abigail in the Bible?

There are quite a few morals believers can emulate from Abigail’s story. 

  • The biggest one would be the power of submission and humility.

Instead of raising a troupe of servants to fight David, she accepted her husband’s misdeed and tried to make up for it. Accepting your wrongs or flaws can be a difficult thing for a lot of people, but it is a powerful way to approach conflict. Sometimes even when it’s not your fault, it is godly to pursue peace and apologize.

  • Her diplomacy is also a trait worthy of emulation. 

Rather than pick David’s side and let him kill her husband so she could be free of him, she was determined to do the right thing.

She humbly made David see that though he was justified, killing him would be an error, a blemish on his part. His life, after all, was in God’s hands and so he could trust God to fight for him. Just recently, he had spared Saul who wanted to kill him and so wiping out the household of a man who had just insulted him would be wrong.

  • Knowing God’s Word.

Not only did her generosity save the day, her knowledge of God’s word came in handy, giving her the wisdom she needed to speak to David. 

Likewise, believers are to hide God’s word in their hearts, ready to use its wisdom to navigate life’s situations. 


From a fool’s wife to queen, Abigail’s promotion exhibits how quick action, generosity, and godly wisdom can save us and completely turn lives around. It shows that even though your circumstances may not always be favorable, you can make a huge impact from a small place.

The story of Abigail in the Bible is no fairytale, but it is a very powerful example of bravery, humility, true submission, and courage, reminding each woman how they are clothed in strength and dignity even in the face of adversity.