Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for Nabal


The Hebrew word Nabal [na bel] means fool. "Nabal" refers to a fool in the spiritual and moral sense. It gives the idea of  "one who is impious and ignoble. Based on this Hebrew definition it sounds to me like the very last name I would want to be named. However, we find a "Nabal" in the Old Testament. (I Samuel 25)

Nabal was a very wealthy man who lived in Moab. He was a descendant of Caleb. (Caleb was one of two spies among the twelve who were sent into the land of Canaan to scout it out prior to invading the land) Nabal lived in Carmel near Hebron in the land of Israel.

His own wife's description of him is an apt and fitting depiction, "for as his name is, so is he: Nabal is his name and folly is [his game, oops sorry couldn't resist,] with him." Nabal's name depicted his character before his actions and behavior are even recorded in this biblical passage.

What did Nabal, this fool do? He prepared a great banquet for himself and his friends when he was aware that King David and his men were starving in a nearby camp. Nabal rejected David's request for food. David reminded Nabal of how he and his men had been protector's of Nabal's shepherds in the field. Like the fool described in Isaiah 32:6, "For the fool [nabal] speaks folly, and his mind plots iniquity..." 

When David heard the rejection of his request for food, David determined to attack Nabal and destroy him. Nabal did one thing right however, he married well. His wife Abagail heard of Nabal's foolish words and actions and went out to meet David herself with a generous gift of food. She begged David not to attack her husband and household and to spare them.

It seems that Nabal did not know what his wife had done because he got "snockered." He got drunk. But when he sobered up the next morning and she told him, the bible says, "and his heart died within him, and he became as a stone." I don't know if this was a stroke or a coma, but it lasted ten days and then Nabal, the fool died. The moral of that mode of death is that Nabal died as he lived, he died with a heart of stone unresponsive to the needs of others.

By the way, and for the record, not only was Abagail wise, but the bible says she was beautiful. With Nabal the fool dead, David decided to marry Abagail and took her as a wife. So David not only got the food and wine, but David got the "girl."

2010 A-Z Challenge: N is for "Nevers of the Gospel"
2011 A-Z Challenge: N is for Nabal


welcome to my world of poetry said...

I do congratulate you Gregg on your knowledge, it is wonderful to learn all these new meanings.

Thanks for your comment,

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Oh wow, Gregg, I enjoyed every line of this story. What a learning. What a special woman Abigail was. How interesting about Nabal's death. I wonder too if it was stroke, or heart attack. He might have been an alcoholic.

Gregg, again, your writing is so delightful. Great **N post!


Ma said...

We're going through Kings now in our home bible study. David's life sure is dramatic!

li said...

Great post! Greed and selfishness do tend to come back and bite you in the end.

Seams Inspired said...

Nabal is a great example of a noddypeak, isn't he? Thanks for the lesson. I really enjoyed reading about Nabal this way. You brought him to life for me, not always an easy task with the men and women of the Bible. Happy Saturday! :o)

Robyn Campbell said...

I've met some foolish folk like Nabal. I've read about him on my many trips through the Bible. But you showed me something here. Isn't it funny, how we can read the Bible for the hundredth time and still learn something new?

I'm going back in to read it again. Right now I'm just starting Romans. But I need to break and go back to Samuel for a bit. That story was amazing just like every part of the Bible.

Have a great weekend, Gregg.

I'm thinking O. I'm supposed to fit that into writing? YIKES! :-)

Penned Pebbles said...

She was beauty through and through as was evident in how she spoke to David. What a great post! You're making others hungry for more scripture! I thank God for you!!

inkslingerblog said...

Another great post, Gregg! Not only was it enlightening, but you made me laugh several times, too. :)

bluepurpleandscarlett said...

This was really interesting-I hadn't thought about this story in a long time.

You have to wonder, though, why would a mother ever name their son Nabal in the first place?


Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

Hi Gregg,

I'm familiar with the story but never checked out (or I should say "paid attention", because Abigail gives the meaning right there in the text, lol) the meaning of Nabal's name!...Wow! Abigail is one of the strong and interesting women of the Bible...I also like that woman that put a tent peg through a guy's head! Those must've been interesting times, eh? Women weren't the insignificant waifs that I think of when remembering my childhood "Bible stories".

Great post!

(reposted to correct error)

Brianna said...

I admire Abagail! It couldn't have been easy to go against her husband, but her faith was strong!

Cathy M. said...

I've always loved this story. Quick thinking gal!