Most honored family,
I greet you in the Name of the Most High God. At last I can fulfill my promise to you, and ask that you follow my servant to your new home in Carmel. I know you will wonder how this happened, so I will relate the story to you. You have often told me that I am headstrong and perhaps my story will confirm this impression.
When I left home to marry Nabal, I hoped that I would someday be able to provide for all of you. I knew that Nabal was a rich cattle herder and that he had enough to provide for our family.
To my sorrow, I found that Nabal’s name – which, as you know, means “fool” – was an apt description of his character. He cared for nothing except getting richer. He treated his servants with contempt. He treated me like a mere trinket. At first, I was sad when we did not have children; later, I was glad that no sons of mine would have such a father.
My life would have been bleak except for the beauty of Carmel. I learned to rejoice in the simplicity of my life, and did my best to avoid my husband. Though I honored Nabal as best I could, life with him was difficult.
A few months ago, as Nabal made preparations for the shearing festival, a messenger came from David. This David had been living in Carmel and many have whispered that he is destined to be Israel’s king. Because of this rumor, David must hide from King Saul. While in hiding, he and his men protected our shepherds many times.
The messenger asked if David and his men could attend our festival, according to the local custom. Nabal could easily have spared food and wine for them. But Nabal blustered that David was not worth his attention and refused to entertain him. The next morning, when David received this message, he was so angry from the unexpected rebuff that he determined to kill Nabal, and all of the members of our household.
I feared for my life and for the lives of our servants. None of us deserved to die for the rudeness of my husband. Had I been a dutiful wife, I might have bowed my head and resigned myself to our fate. But I gathered up my courage and decided to make a bold move.
I loaded several donkeys with bread, wine, sheep, grain and fruited cakes. I rode to David’s encampment. Looking back, I can see that I put myself in mortal danger. At that moment, I knew only that I must take this chance to atone for my husband’s rudeness.
When I spoke with David, I could not help but see that his royal destiny was evident in the way his men honored him. I would have said anything to save our lives; but at that moment I spoke from my conviction that David truly is destined for royalty. I offered the gift I had brought and wished him the blessings of God. I asked only that he spare our lives. I left with the knowledge that we would survive – and that I had surely been in the presence of Israel’s future king.
When I came home, Nabal was celebrating and too drunk to listen to me. In the morning, when he heard the news from the servants, it shocked him so thoroughly that his heart stopped within him and he died. I am ashamed to say that I rejoiced at being freed from life with such a man.
But my story did not end there. God saw fit to bless me further, because David remembered me and asked his servants to bring me to his camp. I became David’s wife. Now I am the wife of an honorable and godly man, and the land that Nabal once owned was given to David. Since David and his army are moving onward, he asked me to find some caretakers for the place in Carmel. Who better than my own family to tend our land?
I must hurry as we are packing to travel onward. I know not where our Lord will lead us next. I know only that though I acted only to save our lives, God has rewarded me with peace and prosperity.
Based on 1 Samuel 25
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