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Poole's on 1 Samuel 25:23-31: The Wisdom of Abigail, Part 3

Verse 23:[1] And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and (Josh. 15:18; Judg. 1:14) lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground…

[She descended from the ass] For David was undoubtedly descending the mountain on foot (Sanchez).

[She prostrated, etc.] Supplicating most abjectly and humbly by this sign, 2 Kings 4:27 (Piscator out of Junius). In this posture she appears to have spoken (Sanchez).

Fell before David on her face: Not only in token of deep reverence, but as a most humble supplicant, as 2 Kings 4:27.

Verse 24:[2] And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience (Heb. ears[3]), and hear the words of thine handmaid.

[Upon me, my lord, let this iniquity be, בִּי־אֲנִ֥י אֲדֹנִ֖י הֶֽעָוֹ֑ן] Verbatim: upon me, I, my master (lord [Montanus]) iniquity (Malvenda). Upon me (I have sinned, my lord) iniquity (Pagnine, Mariana). A confused address: that is to say, consider me to have sinned; impute it to me; take thy vengeance upon me (Mariana). Upon me, me, I say…let the iniquity be (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Tirinus, Glassius); either let it fall upon me (Munster), or let the fault be imputed to me (Syriac). I ask thee, my lord, to forgive; this fault is mine (Arabic). I entreat (thus the translate בִּי, upon me), or O, I, my lord, the iniquity is on me; regard me to have sinned, and thus hear the words of thine handmaid (Vatablus). A pronominal suffix and a whole pronoun sometimes concur with elegant emphasis. So also in Genesis 27:34, בָּרֲכֵ֥נִי גַם־אָ֖נִי, bless me, even me also. Thus in 1 Kings 21:19;[4] Proverbs 23:15[5] (Glassius’ “Grammar” 220). Observe the altogether elegant and most wise address of this woman (Osiander), at which sort we would marvel in even the greatest orator (Sanchez). Right from the beginning she transfer the guilt from an odious person to a favored one (Osiander); as Paul does from Onesimus to himself in the Epistle to Philemon. Impute this charge to me (Grotius). I will suffer the punishment of those sins that Nabal wrought against thee (Menochius). Iniquity here signifies the punishment of sin. Abigail frees David from the fear of his imprecation, verse 22, when she draws it to herself, because he was able to fear perjury (Sanchez). [But how could she know of the oath of David?]

Upon me let this iniquity be; impute Nabal’s sin to me, and, if thou pleasest, punish it in me, who here offer myself as a sacrifice to thy just indignation. This whole speech of Abigail is done with great artifice; and she doth here, by an absolute submitting to mercy, without any pretence of justification of what was done, (but rather with aggravation of it,) endeavour to work upon David’s generosity and good nature to pardon it; and, with great art, first would divert the punishment from her husband to herself, because she had then much more to say why David should spare her than why he should spare Nabal. And there was hardly any head of argument, whence the greatest orator might argue in this case, which she doth not manage to the best advantage, and most plausible insinuations for such an exigent.

[Let thine handmaid speak, etc.] These things stand in antithesis with the insults of Nabal, Who is David? etc. Therefore, she salutes him as Lord (Martyr).

Verse 25:[6] Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard (Heb. lay it to his heart[7]) this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal (that is, fool[8]) is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.

[Put not thy heart] Attend not to what Nabal says and does (Menochius). Take no care for it, but think little of it (Vatablus).

Let not my lord regard this man; his person and words deserve thy contempt, but not thy regard.

[Over that man of iniquity] Hebrew: Belial.[9] It appears to be an allusion to Deuteronomy 15:9[10] (Malvenda).

Man of Belial; for such he hath showed himself to be by this wicked and abominable carriage towards thee.

[According to his name he is foolish, etc., נָבָ֣ל שְׁמ֔וֹ וּנְבָלָ֖ה עִמּ֑וֹ] An elegant Paranomasia[11] (Piscator). Nabal is his name, and worthlessness is with him (Munster, Tigurinus, Montanus), his disgrace accompanies him (Syriac), foolishness is with him (Pagnine, Osiander, Piscator), or belongs to him (Junius and Tremellius, similarly the Septuagint, Jonathan, Castalio); that is, he is foolish, as he is called. There is repetition, for she says the same thing twice (Vatablus). Nabal, his name, indicates his actions and instances of folly (Arabic). Wealth allows folly…, Horace[12] (Gataker); similarly Euripides and Menander[13] (Grotius). In this manner she excuses her husband from the gravity of his sin, as if he had slipped rather by error and dullness of mind, than by counsel (Sanchez). Thou oughtest not to make so much of so foolish a man. The prudent do not make so much of being despised by morons, than by the prudent (Martyr). No one cares about the jokes and insults of one foolish and mindless (Lapide). Question: Does she not sin in calling her husband foolish? Responses: 1. His foolishness was oft repeated, and known to everyone. 2. She says it (not because she was taking pleasure in assailing her husband with insults and jokes [Calvin], but) so that she might save her husband. Just as a Surgeon sometimes amputates a part of the body, etc. In like manner Christ excuses them, Forgive them, for they know not what they do[14] (Martyr).

Folly is with him; his noted folly and stupidity is a more proper object for thy pity than anger. His sordid answer to thy servants did not proceed from any ill design, or deep malice, but from brutish sottishness, and want of the understanding of a man in him. It may be thought a great crime, that she traduceth her husband in this manner; but this may be said for her, that she told them nothing but what they all knew concerning him, and that she only seemed to take away that which he never had indeed, to wit, his good name, that she might preserve that which he had, and which was more dear and important to him, even his life and soul. Thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord; though I freely submit myself to the punishment in my husband’s stead, yet I was innocent of the crime.

Verse 26:[15] Now therefore, my lord, (2 Kings 2:2) as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath (Gen. 20:6; 1 Sam. 25:33) withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from (Rom. 12:19) avenging thyself (Heb. saving thyself[16]) with thine own hand, now (2 Sam. 18:32) let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.

[Now therefore, etc.,וְעַתָּ֣ה אֲדֹנִ֗י חַי־יְהוָ֤ה וְחֵֽי־נַפְשְׁךָ֙ אֲשֶׁ֙ר מְנָעֲךָ֤ יְהוָה֙ מִבּ֣וֹא בְדָמִ֔ים וְהוֹשֵׁ֥עַ יָדְךָ֖ לָ֑ךְ וגו״] But now, my lord (Pagnine, Vatablus). (But in my codex it is וְאָתָּה, and thou, a Nominative posited absolutely: I translate it, but as far as thou art concerned [Piscator].) Understanding, the matter thus stands; that is to say, by the living God, I have not seen thy servants (Vatablus, thus Lapide, Mariana). The Lord liveth, and thy soul liveth (Pagnine, Montanus), because the Lord hath hindered thee from approaching unto bloods, and from thine own hand saving thee; now let them be like Nabal, etc. (Pagnine, similarly Montanus); as the Lord hindered thee, etc. (Septuagint). By the Lord, and by the life of thy soul, I would be no means suffer thee to approach unto bloods; rather, the Lord would keep thee from them (Arabic, similarly the Syriac). Who hindered thee, Jehovah, understanding, lives, I say: for that Jehovah is conjoined with the former; thus, He liveth, I say, Jehovah, who hindered thee; lest thou shouldest come unto bloods (Jonathan, lest thou shouldest shed blood), and lest thine own hand shouldest save, etc. A Hebraism: lest thou shouldest avenge thyself by thine own hand. A learned man among the Hebrews explains it, who kept thine hand to thee; that is, lest thou shouldest shed blood (Vatablus). By living Jehovah, etc., seeing that Jehovah restraineth thee (by His providence disposing the meeting with me) from entering upon slaughters, thine hand from avenging thyself; now I say, let them be as Nabal (Junius and Tremellius). As the Lord liveth, etc., seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging, or saving, thyself with thine own hand; now let them be, etc. (English). Behold, the Lord restrained thee, from erupting to such a degree, that thou shouldest shed blood, and He kept thine hand to thee (Tigurinus), that is, He restrained it, lest it fall into slaughters (Malvenda). Behold, the Lord restrained thee from coming unto blod; and thou also, free thine hand from the shedding of blood (Munster). As the Lord liveth, etc., thus it is certain that Jehovah restraineth thee from coming, etc.; now then let them be, etc. (Piscator). As true as it is that the Lord liveth, etc., He is the Lord, who hindered thee from coming with the shedding of blood (Hebrew, with bloods, as below in verse 33[17] and in Genesis 4:10[18]), that thine hand might acquit thee, etc. (Dutch). The sense of the passage: As certain as it is that God liveth, and thou; so indubitably oughtest thou to believe that thou wast divinely hindered by my coming from shedding blood; but God Himself will avenge thee upon Nabal (Osiander). She skillfully congratulates David, as if he were divinely hindered, etc., and at the same time she shows that it was not going to benefit him, should he take revenge, etc. (Menochius). Jehovah restraineth thee, namely, by His law, which prohibits the avenging of oneself (Junius). Thou oughtest not to think, that I, a wretched little woman, say these things to thee; God hath stirred me (both by the internal impulse of His Spirit, and by His external word and precept) to divert thee from sin (Martyr). With the kingdom not yet secured to David, it was lawful for him to protect himself, but not also to avenge himself in a royal manner, 1 Samuel 25:39 (Grotius).

[Let them become as Nabal] So easily conquerable (Menochius, similarly Sanchez). Let them be subject to thee, and forced to appeal to thy grace, as I implore the same for Nabal (Lapide): just as Nabal would be, shouldest thou proceed in thy counsel (Junius). Let them not be happier than my husband, Nabal, whom I know with certainty is soon going to suffer grievous punishments from God for his impiety (Osiander). She speaks this prophetically (certain interpreters in Martyr). The rationale of the argument is this: There is no use in wishing to seek vengeance from him; God shall avenge thee, for which reason thou oughtest to leave it to Him. Or thus: He did indeed revile thee, but he is not able to hurt thee. Let thine enemies be such (Martyr). As Nabal, that is, feeble and foolish (Vatablus); or in thy power (Malvenda, Lapide); let them experience thy vengeance (Piscator), let them be contemptible (Menochius).

[Thine enemies] That is to say, not I and my family, which are well disposed toward thee (Piscator).

[Who seek…evil] An argument from equity by comparison of the deed of Nabal with that of another: that is to say, not of those that err from foolishness, like Nabal, is vengeance to be sought; but of those that willing go against their duty (Junius, Malvenda).

Seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood; seeing God hath so ordered this business by his wise and wonderful providence, that I should accidentally and unexpectedly come to the knowledge of my husband’s vile and sordid carriage; and that I should come to meet thee, and find thee so gracious, as to give a favourable audience; and all this, that hereby he might withhold thee from the sin of blood-guiltiness. Be as Nabal; let them be as contemptible and hateful as Nabal is and will be for this odious action; let them be as unable to do thee any hurt as he is; let them be forced to yield to thee, and implore thy pardon and favour, as Nabal now doth by my mouth; let the vengeance thou didst design upon Nabal and his family fall upon their heads, who by their constant and inveterate malice against thee, do more deserve it than this silly fool for this one miscarriage; and much more than all the rest of our family, who, as they are none of thine enemies, nor such as seek thee evil, so they were no way guilty of this wicked action. And therefore spare these, and execute thy vengeance upon more proper objects.

Verse 27:[19] And now (Gen. 33:11; 1 Sam. 30:26) this blessing (or, present[20]) which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow (Heb. walk at the feet of,[21] etc.; 1 Sam. 25:42;[22] Judg. 4:10[23]) my lord.

[Receive this blessing, הַבְּרָכָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את] It is a gift, or present (Vatablus, Junius, Piscator, etc.); that is, a thing proceeding from the blessing of God. Thus in Genesis 33:11[24] (Piscator). Paul called the gifts of the saints εὐλογίας/ blessings.[25] For to bless is to commend. Now, we commend either with words, or with things. Whoever gives a gift to someone, they appear to commend him in actuality (Martyr).

This blessing; so a gift or present is called here, and Genesis 33:11, and elsewhere; not only because the matter of it comes from God’s blessing, but also because it is given with a blessing, or with a good will.

[Which thine handmaid hath brought, שִׁפְחָתְךָ] The servant of thine handmaid. For the verb [namely, הֵבִיא, he hath brought] is masculine. But she makes no mention of a servant, because it was chiefly she, who was bringing the gift (Vatablus). More correctly, she made use of the masculine verb with respect to herself, so that she might show, that in this matter she had undertaken the part of her husband, and as if she had brought the little gift in the name of her husband (Malvenda).

[Who follow thee, הַמִּֽתְהַלְּכִ֖ים בְּרַגְלֵ֥י אֲדֹנִֽי׃] Verbatim: Who walk on the feet (or at the feet [Vatablus, Castalio]) of my Lord (Castalio, similarly Montanus, Malvenda, Pagnine, Vatablus); at the footsteps (Junius and Tremellius); who attend and serve thee (Vatablus, Castalio). Or who are in thy power: which sort of statement is that of Homer, —Θεῶν ἐπὶ γούνασι κεῖται, it was laid at the knees of the Gods;[26] that is, at their power and choice (Castalio). Who accompany thee (Castalio). Concerning this expression see on Exodus 11:8[27] (Malvenda). That is to say, Those things are not worthy of thy character, yet distribute them to thy servants (Martyr).

Let it even be given unto the young men, as being unworthy of thine acceptance or use.

Verse 28:[28] I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: (2 Sam. 7:11, 27; 1 Kings 9:5; 1 Chron. 17:10, 25) for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord (1 Sam. 18:17) fighteth the battles of the LORD, and (1 Sam. 24:11) evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.

[Remove the iniquity of thine handmaid] For she had placed herself as guilty of that sin in some measure, verse 24 (Menochius, Lapide). Forgive the defection (Junius and Tremellius). Hebrew: remove to the defection, or transgression,[29] that is, the guilt. An elliptical expression, found here and there: as in Genesis 50:17;[30] Joshua 24:19;[31] Psalm 25:18[32] (Piscator). Remove, by receiving the present, as a sign of remission of the offense, etc. (Lyra).

The trespass of thine handmaid, that is, which I have taken upon myself, verse 24, and which, if it be not pardoned, but punished, the punishment will reach to me.

[The Lord will make for thee…a sure house] A house; that is, a royal family (Piscator, Vatablus, Tirinus). Thou art going to be king (Vatablus). For that was now commonly known (Sanchez, similarly Martyr). It is fitting for a king to exercise all clemency (Vatablus); that is to say, It is not at all fitting for a king to avenge private injuries. Thus the Emperor Hadrian[33] said to a (former) enemy meeting him, thou hast escaped:[34] for as Emperor he was not able decently to pursue private injuries (Tirinus out of Sanchez). Sure; that is, the kingdom will remain stable in thy family (Tirinus); not for a brief time, as in the case of Saul’s house, but enduringly (Menochius, similarly Martyr). Thy God is good; therefore, thou oughtest to imitate His goodness. But if thou shouldest work unjust slaughter, perhaps thou shalt ruin thine affairs, as Saul ruined his (Martyr).

Will certainly make my lord a sure house, that is, will give the kingdom to thee, and to thy house for ever, as he hath promised thee. And therefore let God’s great kindness to thee make thee gentle and merciful to others; do not sully thy approaching glory with the stain of innocent blood; but consider that it is the glory of a king (which thou art by God’s appointment, and shall ere long actually be) to pass by offences, and that it will be thy loss to cut off such as will shortly be thy subjects.

[Thou fightest the battles of the Lord] For the glory of God (Sanchez). God hath called thee to fight, not to engage in brigandage. Thou oughtest not to stain thy victories, etc. (Martyr). The battles of the Lord, not thy private revenge (Malvenda out of Junius). [See concerning this expression 1 Samuel 18:17.] Thus she calls those that are conducted against the Philistines and other nations of like condition. David was doing these hurt, sparing his countrymen (Grotius). I translate it, when thou shalt fight the wars of Jehovah, and shall not be found, etc. (Piscator).

The battles of the Lord, that is, for the Lord, and for the people of the Lord, against their enemies, especially the Philistines. And as that this is thy proper work, and therein thou mayst expect God’s blessing and help; so it is not thy work to draw thy sword in thy own private quarrel against any of the people of the Lord, and God will not bless thee in it.

[Let not wickedness be found, etc., וְרָעָ֛ה לֹא־תִמָּצֵ֥א בְךָ֖ מִיָּמֶֽיךָ׃] And wickedness (evil [Jonathan, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius], that is, injury, guilt [Piscator]) hath not been found in thee from thy days (Syriac, Munster, Pagnine, Montanus, Vatablus), that is, since the time thou art, or livest (Vatablus). After thy days; that is, from this time through all the days of thy life (Piscator). At any time (Septuagint, Arabic), from thy day (Jonathan), in thy days (Junius and Tremellius) [as if the מ/from were put in the place of ב/in]. Hitherto while thou hast lived (Tigurins). She commends him for his justice; that is to say, Hitherto iniquity has not been found in thine hands (Martyr, similarly Sanchez); whence thou hast earned the goodwill of all. Therefore, she urges him not to stain that opinion of equity by an uncharacteristic error (Sanchez), nor to impede his coming into the kingdom. For all desire a merciful king, not one eager for vengeance (Lapide). Beware, lest by any unjust or cruel action thou pollute the beginning of thy kingdom (Osiander). [Castalio takes it of the evil of punishment, and thus connects it with what precedes. To thee, waging the wars of Jehovah, thy house…let Jehovah confirm, in such a way that no evil might befall thee through thine entire life.]

Evil hath not been found in thee all thy days; though thou hast been oft aspersed, and charged with many critics, by Saul and others; yet thy innocency hath been and is evident to all men: do not therefore now by this cruel act of vengeance justify thine enemies’ reproaches, nor blemish thy great and just reputation.

Verse 29:[35] Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he (Jer. 10:18) sling out, as out of the middle of a sling (Heb. in the midst of the bow of a sling[36]).

[For, if a man arise, etc.] That is to say, If thou forgive Nabal, thine enemy, God shall in turn protect thy life, against Saul, and all persecutors (Lapide, similarly Martyr). He that is merciful to others, claims the divine clemency for himself (Sanchez). So that, although a man should arise, etc. (Malvenda out of Junius and Tremellius). And hath arisen a man (Malvenda), that is to say, one Saul (Vatablus).

A man, to wit, Saul, though no way injured nor justly provoked by thee. To seek thy soul, that is, to take away thy life.

[The soul of my Lord shall be kept, in the bundle of the living, as it were, before the Lord, צְרוּרָ֣ה׀ בִּצְר֣וֹר הַחַיִּ֗ים אֵ֚ת יְהוָ֣ה] Thy soul, or life, shall be…bound, or bound together, or bound up (enclosed, constricted [Malvenda]) in the bundle of life (Pagnine) (or of lives [Montanus], or of the living [Junius and Tremellius]) with the Lord (Montanus, Pagnine), that is, May thou live on and on, in honoring the Lord God (Vatablus). Before the Lord (Junius and Tremellius, certain interpreters in Vatablus, Septuagint, Syriac). It shall be stored in the treasury of the lives of the age before the Lord (Jonathan). It was kept, to which the Lord assigned protection (Arabic). It is a Metaphor taken from farmers, who bind the shoots detached from a tree into a bundle, and pour in water, lest they dry out (Menochius, thus Sanchez out of Lyra). Rather, bundle signifies a congregation, especially of those similar in the arrangement and manners of life. See Isaiah 24 and Matthew 13; that is to say, thou shalt be numbered among the living; For Death looses a man from the bundle of the living (Sanchez). A thing is hidden in a bundle, or bunch, so that it might be kept intact; but a thing is put in a sling, so that it might be cast out (Lapide). Thy life shall be altogether safe, and secure, so that it might not be able to be taken from thee by anyone, with Jehovah preserving thee (Junius). We bind together precious things, lest they escape from us (Martyr). It shall be preserved, as God preserves the sols of His friends and elect. Bundle is elegantly used, so that we might know that all the elect are numbered, and not one of them is going to perish; especially if we consider this to be the bundle of the living, Amos 9:6 [concerning which passage more things, if God should grant it]. Ribera on Amos 9:7, 8 (Gataker). They that enjoy this life (which Jehovah takes care of) are said to be before Jehovah. See Psalm 116 and Isaiah 38 (Castalio). Those live in the greatest safety that live before the Lord, or under the protection of the Lord. By the bundle of the living the Hebrews understand the throne of majesty, under which, say they, the souls of the just rest in the other world. Hence on their tombs they carve, may his soul be bound in the bundle of the living, etc. (Munster). Thou shalt be in the number, or congregation, of those that God preserves living and unharmed (Tirinus). Thy soul shall be, etc., is put in the place of may thy soul, etc. For it is a prayer (Mariana). Some refer this to this life; others to the next: I understand it of both (Martyr).

In the bundle of life, or, in the bundle, that is, in the society or congregation of the living; out of which men are taken and cut off by death. The phrase is taken from the common usage of men, who bind those things in bundles which they are afraid to lose, because things that are solitary and unbound are soon lost. The meaning of the place is, God will preserve thy life; and therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take away the lives of any, especially the people of thy God and Saviour. With the Lord thy God, that is, in the hand and custody of God, who, by his watchful providence, preserves this bundle, and all that are in it; and thee in a particular and singular manner, as being thy God in a peculiar way and special covenant. God himself will hide and keep thee in the secret of his presence, Psalm 31:20, where no hand of violence can reach thee. And therefore all the attempts of Saul or others against thee are vain and ridiculous. For who can destroy whom God will keep?

[The soul of thine enemies shall be whirled about, as if in the violence and whirling of a sling, יְקַלְּעֶ֔נָּה בְּת֖וֹךְ כַּ֥ף הַקָּֽלַע׃] From a sling He shall cast, or it shall be hurled (thou shalt sling [Septuagint], He shall cause to fly [Jonathan], He shall project [Arabic], it shall be shot forth [Syriac, Junius and Tremellius, Tigurinus], He shall cast [Munster], understanding, God [Pagnine, Syriac, Arabic, Munster]). In the midst (in the middle [Piscator]) of the curvature (or seat [Pagnine], cup [Syriac], hollow [Junius, Piscator, Tigurinus]) of a sling (Montanus), understanding, their soul having been placed; or from the midst of the hollow of a sling (Junius and Tremellius). She understands the wider part of the sling, to which are attached the two cords (Vatablus). He shall cast out, just as a stone is cast from a sling (Arabic, similarly Jonathan, Castalio, Osiander). Just as from the hand of a sling (Munster), that is, violently snatching (life) from them, He shall cast them as far away as possible (Junius); with incredible speed and swiftness He shall cast them out of this world (Vatablus). It is a Metaphor taken from the present situation, that is, from the arms of David and his companions (Junius). That is to say, the life of thine enemies shall be unstable, wandering, uncertain, and vertiginous, as if spun in a sling (Malvenda). They shall spin up and down, and at length be cast into eternal death (Sanchez). Those escaped shall be scattered, like whirled stones, etc. (Menochius).

Them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling; God himself will cut them off suddenly, violently, and irresistibly; and cast them far away, both from his presence, and from thy neighbourhood, and from all capacity of doing thee any hurt.

Verse 30:[37] And it shall come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel…

[When the Lord will have done for thee…what good things He hath spoken] Hebrew: According to all that He hath spoken that good concerning thee.[38] A trajection of the antecedent after the relative (Piscator out of Junius). That good, according to all, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). When the Lord will have bestowed upon thee that consummate good, which He hath promised to thee; that is, when He will have made thee King. She explains herself (Vatablus).

[And He will have made thee captain, etc., וְצִוְּךָ֥ לְנָגִ֖יד עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃] And He will have commanded to thee for a captain over Israel (Septuagint, Montanus), or, that thou be the captain, etc. (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus). And He will cause thee to be appointed king, etc. (Jonathan). And He will have commanded to thee, that thou shouldest rule Israel, etc. (Arabic). And He will have set thee forward as the governor, etc. (Syriac). By order shall He establish thee as leader, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). He shall set thee up as leader, etc. (Piscator).

Verse 31:[39] That this shall be no grief (Heb. no staggering, or, stumbling[40]) unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.

[And this shall not be to thee, etc., וְלֹ֣א תִהְיֶ֣ה זֹ֣את׀ וגו״] And this shall not be to thee, etc. (Jonathan, Montanus, Septuagint). Then this shall not be to thee, etc. (Pagnine, Tigurinus). [The not is wanting in my exemplar, by the fault of the printer.] That shall not be, etc. (Munster); let it not be, etc. (Syriac); I ask that what thou desirest to do would not be, etc. (Arabic). That this might not be to thee, etc. (Junius and Tremellius). These words depend upon the beginning of verse 30. Thus shall it be; that is, it shall happen in such a way that, etc. (Piscator).

[For sobbing, לְפוּקָה[41]] For tottering (Montanus, Tigurinus), dislocation (Malvenda), staggering (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), anxiety (Jonathan), a stumblingblock (Pagnine, Munster, Vatablus, Arabic), a fall (Munster), an abomination (Septuagint). This shall not vex thee, etc. (Vatablus). For…a removal, dissolution, collision (certain interpreters in Malvenda). This words does not occur elsewhere (Malvenda).

[And for a scruple of heart, וּלְמִכְשׁ֙וֹל לֵ֜ב] And for a stumblingblock of heart (Montanus, Munster, Syriac, Tigurinus, similarly Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius), a scandal (Septuagint); for a burden of heart (Jonathan). And a cogitation which thou mightest dread (Arabic). It shall not be to thee a cause of pain and grief (Menochius).

Nor offence of heart unto my lord; thy mind and conscience will be free from all the torment which the guilt and shame of such an action would cause in thee. By which, she cunningly insinuates what a blemish this would be to his glory, what a disturbance to his peace and felicity, if he proceeded to execute his purpose; and withal implies how sweet and comfortable it would be to him to remember, that he had for conscience to God denied himself, and restrained his passions.

[That thou hast shed innocent blood, וְלִשְׁפָּךְ־דָּם֙ חִנָּ֔ם] Even to shed (or to shed [Septuagint], to have shed [Syriac], that thou hast shed [Pagnine, similarly Piscator], by shedding [Junius], that thou sheddest [Munster], that is, that thou hast shed [Tigurinus], if thou hast shed [Arabic]) blood (Jonathan, Montanus, Vatablus, Syriac) innocent (Septuagint), or without cause (Tigurinus, Pagnine), for nothing (Arabic, Vatablus, Piscator, Munster), without good reason (Piscator, Glassius), that is, undeserving. An adverb added to a substantive not rarely puts on the signification of an adjective (Glassius’ “Grammar” 44). Question: How is it that she calls this blood innocent, since Nabal had sinned so? Responses: 1. Nabal had done nothing worthy of capital punishment. 2. The blood of the rest (whom David was going to kill with him) was innocent (Sanchez).

That thou hast shed blood causeless; which she signifies would be done if he should go on. For though Nabal had been guilty of abominable rudeness, uncharitableness, and ingratitude; yet he had done nothing worthy of death, by the laws of God or of man. And whatsoever he had done, the rest of his family were innocent.

[Or thou hast avenged thyself, וּלְהוֹשִׁ֥יעַ אֲדֹנִ֖י ל֑וֹ] [The manner of construction is almost the same as in the preceding clause.] Or, that my Lord hath wrought salvation for himself (Pagnine); or he avengeth himself, etc. (Junius and Tremellius); and he delivereth himself (Munster); he worketh salvation for himself (Piscator); and that my Lord saveth (that is, avengeth) himself, understanding, from his enemies (Vatablus), from Nabal (Munster, Castalio). She promises, as in the place of a reward, a massive benefit, even a quiet conscience. For, a troubled conscience is a terrible torturer (Martyr).

That my lord hath avenged himself; which is directly contrary to God’s law, Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 32:35, compared with Romans 12:19.

[And when (or but when [Munster]) the Lord shall have blessed my Lord, thou shalt remember thine handmaid[42] (thus Pagnine, Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius, Munster, Vatablus)] Or, remember thou, etc. (Syriac, Arabic, similarly Castalio). Hebrew: and He shall have bless, etc., and thou shalt remember, etc. (Montanus). Thou shalt thank me for this admonition. A Synecdoche of member (Piscator, similarly Sanchez); thus thou art going to accept this my deed, as if, before the reception of an injury, I will have caused it to be forgotten by this my office; moreover, thou shalt not recall it into thy mind. For the wrath of a king is as messengers of death, Proverbs 16:14 (Malvenda out of Junius). It is able to be explained in a general way: For, if we foretell anything auspicious to anyone, we are wont to add, In this thy great felicity, remember me. Thus Joseph, Genesis 41; or, Abigail, when she saw that Nabal was going to die, and that she was going to be a widow, she prudently considered, that then at length another she was going to need another protector (Martyr).

When the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid; when God shall make thee king, and I shall have occasion to apply myself to thee for justice or relief, let me find grace in thy sight, and so let me do at this time. Or, and the Lord will bless my lord, and recompense thee for this mortification of thy passion, and thou wilt remember thine handmaid, that is, thou wilt remember my counsel with satisfaction to thyself; and thankfulness to me.

[1] Hebrew: וַתֵּ֤רֶא אֲבִיגַ֙יִל֙ אֶת־דָּוִ֔ד וַתְּמַהֵ֕ר וַתֵּ֖רֶד מֵעַ֣ל הַחֲמ֑וֹר וַתִּפֹּ֞ל לְאַפֵּ֤י דָוִד֙ עַל־פָּנֶ֔יהָ וַתִּשְׁתַּ֖חוּ אָֽרֶץ׃ [2] Hebrew: וַתִּפֹּל֙ עַל־רַגְלָ֔יו וַתֹּ֕אמֶר בִּי־אֲנִ֥י אֲדֹנִ֖י הֶֽעָוֹ֑ן וּֽתְדַבֶּר־נָ֤א אֲמָֽתְךָ֙ בְּאָזְנֶ֔יךָ וּשְׁמַ֕ע אֵ֖ת דִּבְרֵ֥י אֲמָתֶֽךָ׃ [3] Hebrew: בְּאָזְנֶיךָ. [4] 1 Kings 21:19: “And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine (יָלֹ֧קּוּ הַכְּלָבִ֛ים אֶת־דָּמְךָ֖ גַּם־אָֽתָּה׃).” [5] Proverbs 23:15: “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine (יִשְׂמַ֖ח לִבִּ֣י גַם־אָֽנִי׃).” [6] Hebrew: אַל־נָ֣א יָשִׂ֣ים אֲדֹנִ֣י׀ אֶת־לִבּ֡וֹ אֶל־אִישׁ֩ הַבְּלִיַּ֙עַל הַזֶּ֜ה עַל־נָבָ֗ל כִּ֤י כִשְׁמוֹ֙ כֶּן־ה֔וּא נָבָ֣ל שְׁמ֔וֹ וּנְבָלָ֖ה עִמּ֑וֹ וַֽאֲנִי֙ אֲמָ֣תְךָ֔ לֹ֥א רָאִ֛יתִי אֶת־נַעֲרֵ֥י אֲדֹנִ֖י אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁלָֽחְתָּ׃ [7] Hebrew: יָשִׂ֣ים—אֶת־לִבּ֡וֹ. [8] Hebrew: נָבָל. [9] Hebrew: הַבְּלִיַּעַל. [10] Deuteronomy 15:9: “Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart (עִם־לְבָבְךָ֙ בְלִיַּ֜עַל, with thine heart of Belial), saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee.” [11] That is, a play on words. [12]Epistles 1:18. [13] Menander (342-291 BC) was a Greek playwright. He wrote more than a hundred comedies, but they survive only in fragments. [14] Luke 23:34. [15] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֣ה אֲדֹנִ֗י חַי־יְהוָ֤ה וְחֵֽי־נַפְשְׁךָ֙ אֲשֶׁ֙ר מְנָעֲךָ֤ יְהוָה֙ מִבּ֣וֹא בְדָמִ֔ים וְהוֹשֵׁ֥עַ יָדְךָ֖ לָ֑ךְ וְעַתָּ֗ה יִֽהְי֤וּ כְנָבָל֙ אֹיְבֶ֔יךָ וְהַֽמְבַקְשִׁ֥ים אֶל־אֲדֹנִ֖י רָעָֽה׃ [16] Hebrew: וְהוֹשֵׁ֥עַ—לָ֑ךְ. [17] 1 Samuel 25:33: “And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood (מִבּ֣וֹא בְדָמִ֔ים, from coming in bloods), and from avenging myself with mine own hand.” [18] Genesis 4:10: “And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood (דְּמֵ֣י אָחִ֔יךָ, the bloods of thy brother) crieth unto me from the ground.” [19] Hebrew: וְעַתָּה֙ הַבְּרָכָ֣ה הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁר־הֵבִ֥יא שִׁפְחָתְךָ֖ לַֽאדֹנִ֑י וְנִתְּנָה֙ לַנְּעָרִ֔ים הַמִּֽתְהַלְּכִ֖ים בְּרַגְלֵ֥י אֲדֹנִֽי׃ [20] Hebrew: הַבְּרָכָה. [21] Hebrew: הַמִּֽתְהַלְּכִ֖ים בְּרַגְלֵ֥י. [22] 1 Samuel 25:42: “And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her (הַהֹלְכ֖וֹת לְרַגְלָ֑הּ, walking at the feet of her); and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife.” [23] Judges 4:10: “And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet (בְּרַגְלָיו): and Deborah went up with him.” [24] Genesis 33:11: “Take, I pray thee, my blessing (בִּרְכָתִי; εὐλογίας μου, in the Septuagint) that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.” [25] 2 Corinthians 9:5, 6: “Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty (εὐλογίαν), whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty (εὐλογίαν), and not as of covetousness. But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully (ἐπ᾽ εὐλογίαις) shall reap also bountifully (ἐπ᾽ εὐλογίαις).” [26]Iliad 17:514; 20:435. [27] Exodus 11:8: “And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow theeוְכָל־הָעָ֣ם) אֲשֶׁר־בְּרַגְלֶ֔יךָ): and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.” [28] Hebrew: שָׂ֥א נָ֖א לְפֶ֣שַׁע אֲמָתֶ֑ךָ כִּ֣י עָשֹֽׂה־יַעֲשֶׂה֩ יְהוָ֙ה לַֽאדֹנִ֜י בַּ֣יִת נֶאֱמָ֗ן כִּי־מִלְחֲמ֤וֹת יְהוָה֙ אֲדֹנִ֣י נִלְחָ֔ם וְרָעָ֛ה לֹא־תִמָּצֵ֥א בְךָ֖ מִיָּמֶֽיךָ׃ [29] Hebrew: שָׂ֥א נָ֖א לְפֶ֣שַׁע. [30] Genesis 50:17: “So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin (אָנָּ֡א שָׂ֣א נָ֠א פֶּ֣שַׁע אַחֶ֤יךָ וְחַטָּאתָם֙); for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass (וְעַתָּה֙ שָׂ֣א נָ֔א לְפֶ֥שַׁע) of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.” [31] Joshua 24:19: “And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins (לֹֽא־יִשָּׂ֥א לְפִשְׁעֲכֶ֖ם וּלְחַטֹּאותֵיכֶֽם׃).” [32] Psalm 25:18: “Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sinsוְ֜שָׂ֗א) לְכָל־חַטֹּאותָֽי׃).” [33] Hadrian was Emperor of Rome from 117 to 138. [34] Ælius Spartianus’ “De Vita Hadriani” 17, in Scriptores Historiæ Augustæ. [35] Hebrew: וַיָּ֤קָם אָדָם֙ לִרְדָפְךָ֔ וּלְבַקֵּ֖שׁ אֶת־נַפְשֶׁ֑ךָ וְֽהָיְתָה֩ נֶ֙פֶשׁ אֲדֹנִ֜י צְרוּרָ֣ה׀ בִּצְר֣וֹר הַחַיִּ֗ים אֵ֚ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ וְאֵ֙ת נֶ֤פֶשׁ אֹיְבֶ֙יךָ֙ יְקַלְּעֶ֔נָּה בְּת֖וֹךְ כַּ֥ף הַקָּֽלַע׃ [36] Hebrew: בְּת֖וֹךְ כַּ֥ף הַקָּֽלַע׃. [37] Hebrew: וְהָיָ֗ה כִּֽי־יַעֲשֶׂ֤ה יְהוָה֙ לַֽאדֹנִ֔י כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר אֶת־הַטּוֹבָ֖ה עָלֶ֑יךָ וְצִוְּךָ֥ לְנָגִ֖יד עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ [38] Hebrew: כְּכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר אֶת־הַטּוֹבָ֖ה עָלֶ֑יךָ. [39] Hebrew: וְלֹ֣א תִהְיֶ֣ה זֹ֣את׀ לְךָ֡ לְפוּקָה֩ וּלְמִכְשׁ֙וֹל לֵ֜ב לַאדֹנִ֗י וְלִשְׁפָּךְ־דָּם֙ חִנָּ֔ם וּלְהוֹשִׁ֥יעַ אֲדֹנִ֖י ל֑וֹ וְהֵיטִ֤ב יְהוָה֙ לַֽאדֹנִ֔י וְזָכַרְתָּ֖ אֶת־אֲמָתֶֽךָ׃ [40] Hebrew: לְפוּקָה. [41]פּוּק signifies to totter or reel. [42] Hebrew: וְהֵיטִ֤ב יְהוָה֙ לַֽאדֹנִ֔י וְזָכַרְתָּ֖ אֶת־אֲמָתֶֽךָ׃.

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