1 Samuel 25

“The book was better.”

We hope you enjoyed this edition of Bible Theatre, in which Josie, Miriam, and a reluctant Naomi render a lovely dramatization of 1 Samuel 25. But, uh…there are a whole lot of details they left out. It’s a fine movie, but the book is better.

From our presentation, you get the main points: Nabal is rich but foolish; his wife Abigail saves the day by showing up with well-timed refreshments; David is naturally impulsive, but ultimately loves justice. But you miss some nuances of the story. Who are we kidding–you miss much more than that.

What was omitted from our impromptu stage version, you ask? 

You will have to read 1 Samuel 25 yourself to find out. (…And possibly 1 Samuel 24 for context.) But here are a few appetizers…

First of all, you need to know that David was not just chilling in the countryside with a few of his bros. He had at least 600 armed men with him. In fact, David never even met Nabal face-to-face.

…He sent ten of his young men to Carmel with this message for Nabal: “Peace and prosperity to you, your family, and everything you own!”

1 Samuel 25:5-6 NLT

So David’s young men returned and told him what Nabal had said. “Get your swords!” was David’s reply as he strapped on his own. Then 400 men started off with David, and 200 remained behind to guard their equipment.

1 Samuel 25:12-13 NLT

And Abigail didn’t just sling a few groceries in a sack over her shoulder and ride out to meet David on his way to crush Nabal’s household. She brought enough to share with everyone–all 601 of them!

Abigail wasted no time. She quickly gathered 200 loaves of bread, two wineskins full of wine, five sheep that had been slaughtered, nearly a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 fig cakes. She packed them on donkeys… 

1 Samuel 25:18 NLT

Are you getting the idea that this story is much bigger than it may have seemed? It is more intense, too–David had plans to wipe Nabal and anybody who worked for him off the map. Read what he said on his way to Nabal’s house…

“May God strike me and kill me if even one man of his household is still alive tomorrow morning!”

1 Samuel 25:22 NLT

We won’t give away any more of the story. You really have to read it to get the full experience. But we will tease you with this: there is death, and there is romance. (That is all we will say!)

If you are reading this, then you have grown beyond the age of Bible storiesa s typically told to young children. Read the Bible yourself. Learn the whole story.

Questions for Group Discussion

  • Have you ever watched a movie that was better than its book? 
  • Recall a time when you heard a rumor, then later got to know the whole story. Didn’t the details make more sense? Did the story seem more shocking or less when you finally put it in context?
  • If the Bible is about God, why are its pages filled with accounts of people like David and Abigail and Nabal? Can we learn from their actions? What about their interactions with God and each other?

Challenge: Read it for Yourself

Don’t take our word for it…read it for yourself!

If you have never read this story in 1 Samuel 25, now is your chance.

Do the following:

  1. Read 1 Samuel 25.
  2. Make two columns on a sheet of paper.
  3. Label one column “Questions” and the other “Surprises.”
  4. As questions arise in your mind, write them in the appropriate column. “Why did David move to Paran/Maon?” “Where was he before that?”
  5. In the other column, write things that you are surprised to find. “David swore to kill every man in Nabal’s household…That’s so violent!”
  6. Share your list of questions and surprises with your pastor, a church leader, or Bible Study group.