David speaks out to Saul again saying in 1 Samuel 24:12 “May Yahweh judge between me and you, and may Yahweh avenge me on you, but my hand will not be against you!” and Saul must recognize David is speaking the truth because he weeps at these words, but Saul doesn’t reconcile with David. David and his men are on the move after mourning the death of Samuel and ask to share in a feast being held by a wealthy man, Nabal. This request is something they might do strictly on the basis of the custom of hospitality, but David also asks because they have been protectors of this mans herdsmen. Nabal turns David’s men away coldly. David reacts in anger and is riding to meet Nabal with his sword but is met by Nabal’s wife Abigail who has brought food for David and his men. When she later tells Nabal that David was on his way to kill him if she had not intervened, in 1 Samuel 25:37 “his heart died within him, and he became like a stone”. The Lord has protected David from shedding this man’s blood by the wisdom of this woman.
May Yahweh Judge Between Me and You
1 Samuel 24:12–22
David continues trying to convince Saul that he has not conspired against him and says in
1 Samuel 24:12 May Yahweh judge between me and you, and may Yahweh avenge me on you, but my hand will not be against you!
David does three things:
- David has called on the Lord as judge between them and then repeats this call in 1 Samuel 24:15 “May Yahweh be the judge, and let him judge between me and you”.
- David asks the Lord to avenge him on Saul because Saul has wicked intent as David goes on to say in 1 Samuel 24:13 “From the wicked, wickedness goes out”. Then David asks in 1 Samuel 24:14 “After whom are you pursuing?” then he says in 1 Samuel 24:15 “may he see (the Lord) and plead my case” and closes his words with, in 1 Samuel 24:15 “May he (the Lord) vindicate me against you!”.
- David had also said in 1 Samuel 24:12 “my hand will not be against you” and says it again in 1 Samuel 24:13 “but my hand will not be against you”.
Saul wept at Davids words in 1 Samuel 24:16 and says in 1 Samuel 24:17 “You are more righteous than I” and in 1 Samuel 24:18 “you have dealt well with me”. Then Saul seems to turn and accept that he has lost the kingdom and seeks assurance from David for the life of his descendants in
1 Samuel 24:20–21 So now then, look, I know that you will certainly be king and the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hand. 21 So then, swear to me by Yahweh that you will not cut off my descendants after me and that you will not wipe out my name from my father’s house.”
But as has happened every time in the past, Saul is soon seeking again to kill David in 1 Samuel 26:1.
Should I Give to Men I Do Not Know
1 Samuel 25:1–12
David and his men are still fugitives, probably as in
1 Samuel 23:29 David went up from there and stayed in the strongholds of En Gedi.
And now, Samuel died and in
1 Samuel 25:1 “all Israel assembled and mourned”
but Saul is not mentioned.
As David and his men are traveling, they come to Carmel in 1 Samuel 25:2 and certainly “Nabal can, after all, afford to be generous, and Eastern hospitality, as well as the Israelite law, traditionally extended to the poor, the outcast, those ‘for whom nothing is prepared’ (Neh. 8:10; cf. Esth. 9:19)”.1 Yet, even more than that, David and his men had been protectors for Nabal’s herdsmen so David sent and asked in 1 Samuel 25:8 “because we have come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have on hand for your servants and for your son David.” But Nabal turns them away without a thought in
1 Samuel 25:10 But Nabal answered David’s servants and said, “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? Today, there are many servants breaking away from the presence of their masters.
Nabal was a stingy, greedy man anyway in
1 Samuel 25:11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat which I have slaughtered for my shearers and give it to men whom I do not know where they are from?
He Returned Evil Against Me in Place of Good
1 Samuel 25:13–22
You Have Prevented Me From Bloodguilt
Yahweh Has Returned the Evil on His Own Head
1 Samuel 25:35–44
Nabal’s wife Abigail has intervened and reached out to David with food for his men so David puts his sword away and spares the lives of Nabal and his men and in
1 Samuel 25:35 Then David took from her hand what she had brought for him, and he said to her, “Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to your voice, and I have granted your request.”
As Abigail arrives at home, Nabal, after snubbing David coldly, is in 1 Samuel 25:36 “holding a feast in his house like the feast of the king. Nabal was enjoying himself, and he was very drunk”. So this woman, with wisdom, waits until the next day and then tells Nabal all that had happened in
1 Samuel 25:37–38 And then in the morning when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these words. Then his heart died within him, and he became like a stone. 38 And then, about ten days later, Yahweh struck Nabal and he died.
Now, David realizes how the Lord has protected him by the actions of this woman, in
1 Samuel 25:39 When David heard that Nabal had died, he said, “Blessed be Yahweh who has vindicated the case of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and he has kept back his servant from evil; but Yahweh has returned the evil of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent and spoke with Abigail to take her for his wife.
We also may react in anger and attempt to take retribution by our own hands, but if we will allow him to be, the Lord will vindicate us and as David said return their evil on their own head.
Yahweh Forbid Me From Stretching Out My Hand
1 Samuel 26:1–12
Your Life Was Precious in My Eyes This Day
1 Samuel 26:13–25
- 1 Samuel 24:12–22 May Yahweh Judge Between Me and You
- 1 Samuel 25:1–12 Should I Give to Men I Do Not Know
- 1 Samuel 25:35–44 Yahweh Has Returned the Evil on His Own Head
- 1 Samuel 24:12-22
- 1 Samuel 25:1-44
- 1 Samuel 26:1-25
- 1. Baldwin, J. G. (1988). 1 and 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 8, p. 158). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.