Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sellout (05/26/11)
TITLE: Traitor or Tactician?
By Kathleen Langridge
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The village Elders had offered her no comfort when they came to perform the burial. She saw the look in their eyes as they passed by, following the cart carrying his body. Of course they did not look at her, it wasn’t allowed, but their disgust, their blame rolled off the stiffness of their heads and shoulders like a putrid fog. They pulled their robes about themselves as if merely walking past her might contaminate them with her traitorous presence.
Abigail stood with her head slightly bowed, clothed in sackcloth, covered in ashes; her dignity and true sorrow crowning her with the presence of the Lord. She knew that God had granted her favor in David’s eyes when she pled for the safety of her husband and their household. God had prompted her actions and given her the words that touched David’s heart. It was God’s opinion that mattered, not the judgement of these misguided men.
All the women and children stood with her and beheld her gracious demeanour in the face of the Elders scorn and accusation. They had witnessed how many times her wise actions had kept disaster from the gates of this great estate, when Nabal had lived down to his name’s meaning of ‘Fool.’ The male relatives and servants, who though they followed the Elders, with the funeral cart, each bowed their head in acknowledgement of Abigail, as they passed by her. They too knew the truth, of the many times Abigail’s wisdom had intervened, preventing catastrophe from claiming victory through her husband’s foolish actions. These servants who had suffered the anger of their master, were more often protected by the wise words and gentle actions of their mistress. Often she deflected his anger onto herself, saving a loyal servant from worse than just harsh words.
When the mourners returned from the burial they cleansed their hands of death at the bowls of water, prepared on the porch. They entered the house to eat the meal made ready by the servants. Abigail retired to her quarters, maintaining her fast in honor of her husband’s death. She did not wail and cry but bore her grief in God-given peace, further infuriating the Elders. They murmured among themselves wondering what should be done with such a defiant woman who would not follow tradition. They spoke with the male relatives of Nabal asking what should be done with her and were shocked, even dismayed, to learn of the deep respect these men held for Abigail.
Returning back to the village the Elders decided, not to pursue publicly chastising Abigail, for what they perceived as her traitorous behavior toward her husband. Instead they began a rumor campaign to discredit her with the women in the village. They encouraged their wives tendencies to gossip and fueled their gossip with immoral suggestions about Abigail. Planting the idea that she had disobeyed her husband causing his anger and death by meeting with David, secretly.
While the Elders laid their fear-born plans to discredit Abigail; David had heard of Nabal’s death, making his plans to have her as his wife. David recognized, what the Elders did not want to see. Abigail was not only beautiful but also very wise. A woman who kept him from taking lives unrighteously. David, a man after God’s own heart, saw in Abigail a woman whose wisdom and actions would be a help to him, not a hindrance. So it was, that David’s servants sought out Abigail after Nabal’s death.
Abigail had begun to pack her personal things planning to move to a smaller home on the estate while Nabal’s relative prepared to assume the ownership of the land and holdings. She received David’s servants as Nabal’s widow and still mistress of the estate. When she heard of David’s request to become his wife, her heart rejoiced. She sought no counsel, but quickly summoned her five maids, mounted a donkey and went to David. Marrying David wrote the banner of love, not traitor, over her life and actions. Abigail acknowledged the Lord’s anointed and shared in his kingdom, while her dead husband retained a fool’s crown for eternity.
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