What’s In A Name?

“The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb.”  1 Samuel 25:3

For a time at a short least Saul had stopped hunting David, but it appears that David had learned that he couldn’t trust in the good will of Saul, so he and his men had been hiding in the wilderness of Paran, another stretch of rugged Judea frontier. 

In the region where they were hiding there lived a very wealthy man named Nabal and his wife Abigail.

In Israel at that time what a name meant was important and from time to time it’s instructive for us to understand the meaning of the people’s names as we follow their story. In this case the name Nabal meant “fool, or senseless,” and the name Abigail meant “father’s joy,”man’s we’ll see that these names were very fitting to their owners. 

While they were dwelling in the region David had instructed his men to protect the shepherds and herds men pasturing their flocks and herds in the area, and when David heard that Nabal was shearing his sheep, knowing that this was a time of feasting for Nabal, he sent ten young men to Nabal to tell him of the protection they had provided and to request a gift to acknowledge the value of that protection. 

Nabal’s answer demonstrates the accuracy of the meaning of the name he had been given. He basically called David a run away slave and called his men liars. 

Not long after David’s men had left one of Nabal’s servants went to Abigail and told her about 

David’s request and Nabal’s answer and about how David and his men had protected their flocks and herds. Abigail realizing how severely her husband had insulted David quickly gathered and loaded several donkeys with food and set out to find David.

It’s a good thing that she did because David, when he heard Nabal’s answer, was furious and at that moment he was on his way with four hundred men to avenge himself on Nabal for his insult. But when Abigail met David he gift of food and her apology turned away David’s anger and he blessed her and left her and Nabal in peace. 

Not everyone in the Bible lives a life that fits with their name. Some with beautiful names chose to live lives completely contradictory to what their names meant and still others that had bad names decided that they would earn for themselves new names that were good and noble. 

Like Abigail we get to chose whether our lives bring joy to our father in heaven or sorrow. Abigail chose well and added to the beauty of her name. How will we choose to live today?

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