Call it O.J.T. (on-the-job-training), or call it the school of hard knocks, or the university of life... Regardless, David was getting an education. The twenty-fifth chapter of First Samuel describes another episode in the future king’s education.
David was in dire straits. He and his merry men were hungry. So David sent men to Nabal. Now, Nabal was a wealthy herdsman, owner of “three thousand sheep and one thousand goats” (1 Samuel 25:2). David gave explicit instructions. “Say this: ‘Long life to you, and peace to you, peace to your family, and peace to all that is yours. I hear that you are shearing. When your shepherds were with us, we did not harass them, and nothing of theirs was missing the whole time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. So let my young men find favor with you, for we have come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have on hand to your servants and to your son David.’ ” (1 Samuel 25:6–8).
Apparently, David’s little army had protected Nabal’s shepherds against marauders when they coexisted in the region of Carmel, a village about twenty-five miles south of Jerusalem. They had been “a wall” of protection, “both day and night, the entire time (they) were with them herding the sheep” (1 Samuel 25:16).
Nabal was rich, but he was also “harsh and evil in his dealings” (1 Samuel 25:3). In other words, he was a jerk! When David’s ambassadors humbly and respectfully asked for assistance, “Nabal asked them, “Who is David? Who is Jesse’s son? Many slaves these days are running away from their masters. Am I supposed to take my bread, my water, and my meat that I butchered for my shearers and give them to these men? I don’t know where they are from” (1 Samuel 25:10–11). Like I said, a jerk.
When they reported to David, his response was immediate. “He said to his men, ‘All of you, put on your swords!’ So each man put on his sword, and David also put on his sword. About four hundred men followed David while two hundred stayed with the supplies” (1 Samuel 25:13).
When Nabal’s wife, Abigail, heard what was about to transpire, she loaded her donkey with food, and rode out in intercept David. “Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the Lord is certain to make a lasting dynasty for my lord because he fights the Lord’s battles. Throughout your life, may evil not be found in you” (1 Samuel 25:28 (CSB). Excellent advice! “Oh David, please don’t take matters into your own hands! Trust the Lord!”
Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! May your discernment be blessed, and may you be blessed. Today you kept me from participating in bloodshed and avenging myself by my own hand” (1 Samuel 25:32–33).
Here’s a great lesson. Young David learned it well... Listen to wise counsel! David listened to Abigail who spoke God’s truth! He listened and learned.
Let’s close with a question: Do you have people in your life that will give you sound advice, wise counsel? Are you listening and learning?
All Scripture quotation, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.