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Nabal [Nā'bal]—prominence or foolish. A wealthy but churlish sheepmaster of Maon whose business was in Carmel (1 Sam. 25; 2 Sam. 2:2).

The Man Who Was a Fool by Name and Nature

Nabal is a striking illustration of a man with a name indicative of his nature. When David came to Nabal asking food for his hungry men, this churlish man refused. David set out to kill Nabal but Abigail, his beautiful wife, pled for the life of her unworthy husband. What a contrast they afford! Abigail so beautiful and Nabal so bestial—The Beauty and the Beast. Pleading for Nabal’s life, Abigail said to David, “As is his name, so is he. Nabal is his name and folly is with him.” In effect, she said, “Pay no attention to my churlish husband. He’s a fool by name and a fool by nature.”

After his drunken orgy, Nabal was told of David’s threat to take his life and he died of fright. David afterwards married Abigail, a woman of good understanding and who, as Edith Deen tells us in her most valuable handbook, All the Women of the Bible, was “the greatest influence for good and helped David to remember that he was God’s anointed into whose keeping the kingdom of Israel had been entrusted.”

Devotional content drawn from All the Men of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer. Used with permission.

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