Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: CANDY (04/28/16)
TITLE: A Woman of Worth
By Elaine Hemingway
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Sitting in a hospital ward watching the ministrations of dedicated nurses I was thinking of the Proverbs 31 wife of noble character, and the way in which she provided for her family. My thoughts wandered to other worthy women of the Bible, and particularly Abigail who had to contend with a fractious husband; a man of little sense. Dour, surly and mean in his dealings, how, as a descendant of wise Caleb, had he managed to marry such a kind and intelligent wife as the beautiful Abigail?
As David mourned the death of Samuel, he had moved with his men down to the Desert of Paran, near Carmel, where Nabal, the husband of Abigail, was busy shearing sheep. In the past his men had assisted David’s followers and David had given them sustenance and protection, so felt he could ask a favour in return, requesting some provision from Nabal. How disappointing when his servants returned to report the ill response they had received from the man.
“Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse?” Nabal had demanded, incensed at the effrontery of being asked for provisions. “Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?”
This was not what David had expected, so when the report was relayed to him he had his men saddle up, four hundred of them, with swords strapped for action, ready to settle a score with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
How good that the Lord has a contingency plan for disobedience, and gave wisdom to Abigail when she heard what had transpired. Nabal’s servants had more sense than their master, and reported all that had happened without watering down their account. She listened in horror at their opinion of her husband, surely a confirmation of what she knew. “He is such wicked man,” they said, “that no-one can talk to him.”
Did the old adage 'the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach' originate with Abigail? Hastily she prepared two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs; sweet candies to sweeten embittered hearts, and loaded them on donkeys.
Sending her servants ahead with the provisions, she wisely omitted to inform her husband before mounting her own donkey and going to meet David and his men. She found them on their way to wreak revenge, with David proclaiming, “May God deal with me most severely if I leave one male of Nabal’s household alive by morning.”
If there was a Biblical version of the Nobel Peace Prize, Abigail must have won it for the eloquence with which she greeted and praised David. And it worked. “Not one male belonging to Nabal would have survived, had the Lord, the God of Israel, not sent you,” he told her. “Go home in peace. I have heard your words, and granted your request.”
In Romans 12:19 we read, “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord; I will repay” and sure enough, after the prevention of David taking his own revenge, the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.
A woman of worth became a wife of King David because of wisdom, which we as women should always seek from the Lord.
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