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Friday, July 15, 2005

Abigail Part III

David paced back and forth in front of his tent furiously. The effrontery of that man Nabal was simply not to be borne. When his men had returned with the news that the only thing Nabal had given them was a bushel-full of insults, his blood had started to boil.

"Get ready to move," he finally told his men. Nabal will find himself paying a much higher price than simply sharing his good fortune with us would have cost him, he thought angrily as he prepared for the journey. Oh yes, he will regret this.

As they wound their way through the steep hills, his temper kept steadily rising. By the time they been on the march for a couple of hours, he was positively livid.
"It's been absolutely no use whatsoever, watching over this man's property. Whatever happened to 'one good turn deserves another'? Is it 'one good turn deserves a bunch of name-calling' now? So God help me, by morning not one of those who belong to Nabal shall remain alive."


Meanwhile, Abigail had caught up with her train of donkeys and her servants. She was riding at the head of the line of animals, lost in thought, her heart beating rapidly.
Was this a good idea? She had heard horror stories of what happened to women who unexpectedly found themselves in the middle of an army. To say it was not a safe thing to do was an understatement. But what else could she do? Honestly, if Nabal got killed it would not have been a great loss to the world - but how could she let everyone else in the camp pay for his stupidity? Surely those warriors would not be too fastidious in making sure only the guilty party was killed...
No, the whole camp would be found guilty by association. And she was the only one who could stop it.

She rehearsed different apologies in her head. How could she best express her regret for what had happened? Would words and a food-offering be enough to assuage the wounded pride of the profoundly offended leader of an army of men?

As the animals clambered up the rocky mountain trails, she went over all that she knew about David in her head. What kind of man was he? What could she say that would touch his heart? God, she prayed silently, over and over again, I need to know what words to say. Help me. Help us.

It was then that she rounded a corner, and found herself face to face with a man in front of an army. Her mouth went dry. This was it, then. Do or die time. God, help me.


David's mouth dropped open as he rounded the large rock that jutted out into the ravine - whatever he would have expected to meet out here in the middle of nowhere, a lovely woman dressed up in her finest leading a caravan of pack animals wasn't it. While he was still gaping, the woman slid off her donkey and bowed before him in the dust, right in front of his feet. He had no choice but to stop.

Still bowing, she began to speak, rapidly, as if hoping to get out the words before being shut up. "My lord, I alone am to blame. I did not see the men that you sent. My husband is a fool, just like his name says, and you cannot hold him responsible. I beg you, forget him; don't pay attention to him. He is nothing. But please, listen to what I have to say.

"You know that the Lord our God is the giver of life. Do not turn into someone who lightly takes lives, simply for revenge. The Lord has given you life, and as you act on His behalf, in His way, may all your enemies become like Nabal - ineffective fools. I have brought you everything you see before you as a gift - will you in turn give your forgiveness?

"I know you have been offended - but do you really want that stain on your soul? The Lord will make your house a great house, because you fight the Lord's battle. Someone was trying to take your life, but the Lord protected you for his purposes. When the Lord has fulfilled all his promises to you, and you are King over Israel, you will not want to live under a burden of blood-guilt. You cannot rule with a clear conscience, as a man of God, with innocent blood on your hands. Listen to me, and do things God's way. And when God has brought you great success, please remember me, your servant."

David had grown very quiet as he listened to her talk, down at his feet. "What is your name?" he finally asked in a soft voice.

"Abigail, my lord," she answered in a whisper.

"Stand up." Hesitatingly, she rose to her feet, until she finally stood before him with downcast eyes. He swallowed hard as he looked at her. "Abigail, you have been God's gift to me today. Without your good judgment, I would have gone on a revenge-killing, and none of Nabal's men would have survived. My way, instead of God's way. I praise God that he sent you to me to stop such senseless carnage."

"So you will accept this gift?" Abigail asked quietly.

"Yes. You can rest assured that I have heard ever word you said to me. You may return home in peace."

Running his hand across his mouth and chin, David looked after her as she turned to direct the servants as they handed over the bounty to David's men. I wonder, he though, if Nabal has any idea how close he came to losing his life today. And I wonder if he has an idea of the treasure he has in his wife.

To be more installment coming up.

posted by Birgit
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