INSIDE THE HEARTS
OF BIBLE WOMEN

1~Abused
(Abigail)

(based on I Samuel 25; 27; and 30; also II Samuel 3:3 in the Old Testament)





Part 1 ~ Enduring Abuse

       "Abby!  Abigail!  Get in here.  I called you three hours ago!"  

       Her dark eyes winced as she rushed to the feet of her husband in the courtyard.  

       "What's got into you, woman?  I don't have all day!"  
       She asked his forgiveness.  "My husband, it was only a minute ago that you called.  I came as soon as I could."  

       "Well, 'as soon as' isn't good enough.  I want you in here before I finish calling.  Is that understood, Abby?"  

       "Yes sir.  It won't happen again."  

      "Now, I called you here to refill my cup."  

       Abby took the cup, filled it from the pitcher on the table at her husband's elbow, and handed it to him.  

      "It's not full enough.  I want it to the rim, woman.  I've told you a hundred times, and you still can't learn."  

       She reached for the cup.  He drew back with it, stared her in the eye, and slowly poured the entire contents out onto the ground.  
She sighed deeply but silently, and took the cup.  She filled it again, this time just as full as possible.  Carefully she handed it to her
husband who had by now picked up his newly formed spear head.  

       "Dear, here's your wine."  
       He whisked around, and brushed the cup with his elbow.  

       "Fool!  Look what you've done ~ gone and spilled it!"  
      "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry."  She wiped his lap with her skirt.  

       "Oh, get out of here!  Just get out of my sight.  You can't do anything right.  I don't even know why I married you."  

       Abigail rushed back into her large house and ran to her room.  She fell on her bed in sobs. "Oh God, why can't he love me?  He
hates me so.  Nothing I do pleases him and I try so hard.  So hard.... [1]  

       It was dark when she opened her eyes again.  

       "Abby."  

       Her name was softly spoken this time.  She was relieved and lay there a little longer.  

       "Please open your eyes.  You've got to wake up.  Your husband is calling for you.  Please hurry."  

       Abby knew if she didn't force herself awake and go to him, she and her maid both would be beaten.  Oh how she dreaded the
beatings.  Sometimes he would almost kill her, and sometimes she thought she didn't care any more anyway.  

       She got up slowly, pulled her hair back out of her eyes, and left her room.  

       "Abby!  If you don't get in here, I'm coming after you!"  

       She started running.  

       "That means now!"  [2]

       She got to his room panting, and at the doorway she paused.  He was standing in front of his bed half clothed.  His smile glared at
her.  She shuddered.  

       "Come here, my little fawn.  Come to your daddy."  

        She forced her feet to inch forward.  He grabbed her arm.   At one time she had felt privileged to be promised to such a handsome
man.  But he had turned ugly.  

       "Get those sandals off!"  
       She sat up and reached down to untie the straps.  Her hair kept falling in her eyes.  Before she could manipulate the knots, he
grabbed her foot and began pulling.  "Here, let me help," he laughed.  

       It felt like her leg would be torn off as he dragged her off the bed.  She fell to the floor while he hung on to her foot, and then
slammed it to the floor.  How it stung.  How her heart stung.  

       "What did you do?  Mortar it to your foot?  Well, you've got half a minute to get those sandals off."  

       She sat up, pulled her foot closer to her so she could see under the hair falling in her face.  "Oh God," she whispered, "please God,
let it untie.  Let it untie."  And it was done.  

       "So she can do something after all.  You're not as dumb as you look."  

       Abigail was huddled in the floor, looking down at her drawn-up feet.  

       "Well, it's time for some fun."  

       She sat there.  

       "Don't you hear, woman?  Is it against your religion or something?  Your ears gone?"  

       She began to pull herself up from the floor, but in a flash he grabbed her arm and flung her on to the bed.   
 
      Abby woke herself up groaning.  She was trembling.  But it was now dawn, and she had gotten back to her own bed somehow,
sometime during the night.  [3]

       "Abby!  Get out here!  We're leaving for Mount Carmel this morning!"  

       She jumped up and ran out to the courtyard.  She poured some water into a bowl, and was splashing her face when she felt a
thousand pins in her head.  She was pulled back from the bowl and fully expected to be thrown to the ground.  Instead, he kept hold of
her hair and twisted her neck until her face was under his.  His stale hot breath, his flaring nostrils, his wild eyes engulfed her.  

       "I said we're leaving.  Get those donkeys loaded and ready to go by the time the sun is fully up, or you'll live to regret it."  

       He let go of her suddenly, and she fell to the ground.  

      "Now!!!"  

      "I'll have it done for you on time.  I promise."  

       "Well, I doubt that.  I'll be over here watching.  And if it isn't done, you know what will have to be done to you."  

       "You won't have to beat me.  I can do it."  

       She ran off and called her head maids and servants.  She brushed her hair back with her hands and stood straight.    

       Suddenly a calm, level-headed woman was standing in front of them.  

       "Nabal has chosen today to go to Mount Carmel to shear his sheep grazing up there.  Get the other servants together and load the
animals with food and supplies.  You maids come with me to pack the clothing."  

      Each rushed off and followed her instructions explicitly.  They loved Abigail and respected her ability to snap back and regain her
dignity whenever necessary.  She never talked about her husband's abuse of her, and they never did either.  That was part of her way of
keeping up her courage.  They knew, and they all would do anything to keep that son of wickedness from harming her on their account.  
[4]

       With amazing precision and haste, possessions and belongings were packed on to the animals.  Nabal had fallen asleep in his chair,
his head bobbing loosely.  After some time, his head jerked down more than usual, his neck strained too far, he snorted, and woke
himself up.  The sun was now high.  

       "Abby!  Abigail!  Where is that lazy woman?  She's never where she's supposed to be.  Abby!"  

       "Sir, she has already left with the pack animals and the maids.  She said for the rest of us to leave after you woke up."  

       "Smart woman.  She does use her head sometimes, even though it is usually empty."  

       Nabal reared his head back and laughed hilariously.  Then just as suddenly, he stopped.  He looked at his servant.  

        "Well, what are you looking at?  Let's get going."  

       It was about twenty miles to their destination, and Nabal intended to be at his mountain house and settled in by night.  He was in high
spirits, for would not the wool from his three thousand sheep bring a fortune at the market place?  

        Nabal and his servants all rode on horses and made their way easily and quickly.  About half way to the mountain they saw ahead of
them a small caravan.  

       "My wife!  Ah!  Good girl!"  

       Yet he could not bring himself to pass up an opportunity.  He brought his horse up to her at the head of the slow supply procession.  

        "Going my way?"  

       Did she dare smile?  Or would he make her laugh just to watch the shock of the insult slap her back down even farther?  [5]

        "Well, you'd better be if you know what's good for you.  You haven't eaten any of my food, have you?"  

        "No sir."  

       "Now that's what I call thinking.  Do you think I've worked and sacrificed just to let you freeload off me?"  

       Most of the time she could not comprehend where he came up with his false accusations.  But she found it was no use arguing with
him and trying to convince him that no one was trying to take advantage of him.  She just quietly answered.  

        "No sir."  

        "I don't want you stopping for any reason.  Of course I'll beat you up there.  I couldn't expect you to make it there before me and
have my meals ready.  No-o-o!  Not you.  You don't care.  All you care about is yourself.  Well, I'm a patient man.  I'll be there waiting
when you arrive.  And you'd better be there before dark, or you'll be sorry."  

       "Yes, sir.  

       Nabal shook his head in mocking disgust and degradingly replied, "Women!"  He jabbed his horse and charged off in a whirl,
showering clouds of dry choking dust onto his wife and maids.  [6]

        Abby had packed some of her own food outside of the supplies for the trip and had them with her on her donkey.  When she and
the others got hungry, she rode back to each one of them, handing them the food and a drink.  They kept moving, however, and dared
not slow down for anything.  

       The donkeys were not taking the trip well with their heavy packs and having to move steadily in such heat.  Abby had large water
skins prepared for them, and did the best she could to give each animal a drink periodically.  Whenever they passed a well, she would
have several maids stop and refill the water skins, water their own mounts, and then ride fast to catch up with them.  So it was that she
managed to make it to Mount Carmel just as the last glow of sun was slipping away. [8]

                                              Part 2 ~ A World of Abuse

        Luckily one of the servants had taken enough supplies along with the men so that when they arrived he was able to set food before
Nabal and prepare a bed for him.  Nabal liked it when people jumped for him like this.  That was a sign of respect.  He needed constant
reassurance that people respected  him.  

        The shepherds had already brought in all the herds and were ready when the servants arrived to do the shearing.  Nabal was
pleased at the number, considering these were days of war, and armies were swarming everywhere trying to take over each other's
cities.   
        His shepherds attributed their safety during all this time to David to whom most of the people had declared allegiance as their king.  
Because he was constantly being pursued by the present king, Saul, who wanted him dead, David escaped from one part of the country
to another.  All season David's men had camped around Nabal's shepherds and kept them safe from attack.  Nabal didn't want to hear
any such foolishness and instead claimed the safety of his flocks was because he was so powerful himself and everyone was too afraid to
do anything to him.  

        At any rate, Nabal was proud of his three thousand sheep.  That would bring in a lot of money.  And, oh, how Nabal loved his
money.  Money meant wealth and power!  [8]

        Shearing began.  One by one a shepherd would grab a sheep and hold it down while another man sheared it.  The mounds of wool
grew larger and higher, and so did Nabal's spirits.  That is, as high as could be expected.  

        "Bring some binding!  One of the men has cut his hand with the shears.  Hurry!"  

        "Now what?" Nabal had been lounging under a lean-to watching the occasion when he was roused from his stagnation.  

        "Someone has been severely cut, sir."  

        Nabal got up and walked over to the injured man.  

        "Look at that sissy!  Just look at him sitting there on the ground crying.  You are crying, aren't you?  I couldn't expect anything else
from you.  Well, someone get him out of here before he distracts the whole crew and makes my business go broke."  

        Several men helped him to his feet and began walking with him.  "Hey, what are you trying to pull?  Getting out of work.  That's all
you're doing.  But of course you'll expect to get fed tonight, won't you?"  

        They stopped and turned back around.  "Sir, two of his fingers are nearly cut off  He may faint on his way to the house."  

        "You're not going to my house with that mess.  Take him over there under that tree.  He should be grateful for the shade.  And let
him wait until everyone is done with their work.  I just don't know why I'm bothering with him at all.  None of you are worth it.  You sit around
all day doing nothing and expect me to take care of you.  Well, get back to work!"  

        Everyone rushed back to their jobs.  Nabal turned, looked at the man making his way over to a nearby tree, and shook his head in
disgust.  

        "Probably cut it on purpose just to get back at me."  [9]

        The shearing progressed without further incident.  Things were going well.  That evening after dinner Nabal called his head cook to
him.  

        "We are going to have a feast tomorrow evening.  The shearing is nearly done and we must celebrate."  

        "Sir, what would you like served?"  

        "Do I have to explain everything around here?  Is everyone that dumb?"  

        "No sir.  We will fix everything the way you always like it." He knew he'd have to go to Abby for advice and hoped they could figure
out just what it was that he wanted.  [10]

        The next day while Abby was busy helping to prepare the feast, ten men approached their gate.  They asked for the head of the
house and were directed to Nabal.  He saw them coming and stopped them in the courtyard.  He took his servant aside while the visitors
waited.  

        "Why did you bring these strangers in here?  We don't know who they are.  They may be spies and just want to know what I have so
they can come back at night and steal it from me.  Don't trust anyone.  I don't.  Now take them back out and I will talk to them there."  Then
he shook his head in his usual manner after such lectures.    

      "I just don't know why I even bother to keep you around.  I must be crazy or something."  

       "Greetings in the name of David, King of Israel!  Long life to you!  Good health to you and your household!  And good health to all
that is yours!"  

        Nabal stood there suspicious.  Who were they trying to kid?  David was no king.  Just an upstart.  Saul was still king and this David
knew it.  

        "David sends you this message.  Shall I read it now?"  

        "I'm not standing here for my health."  [11]

        The messenger did not acknowledge the insult, and began to read.  "I hear that it is sheep shearing time.  When your shepherds
were with us, we did not mistreat them, and the whole time they were at Carmel nothing of theirs was missing."  

        "So what?" Nabal interrupted.  

        "Ask your own servants and they will tell you," the messenger continued.  

        "Yeah, they'd tell me anything if it benefited them.  They don't care what happens to me though.  Not them."  

        "Therefore be favorable toward my young men, since we come at a festive time.  Please give your servants and your son David
whatever you can find for them."  

        "Who is this David?  Who is this son of Jesse?  Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days.  I know that only
too well."  

        The servants looked at each other knowingly.  Right after the festival, many of them planned to do just that ~ break away.  Did
Nabal suspect?  

        "Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who
knows where?"  

        "But sir.  We also have wives and children to feed."  

        "People go hungry every day.  I can't save the whole world."  

        David's men turned around empty handed and headed back down to the desert valley.  David was trying to defend their country and
lead it back to its former honor, the honor it had when King Saul was young.  Most everywhere David's army went, the affluent of the land
provided them with supplies in appreciation.  But Nabal was not one of those honorable men.  

        The servants began whispering to each other as they walked away.  How could Nabal be so foolish?  They may have to desert him
tonight instead,.  For tomorrow Nabal would be a dead man, and they with him.  [12]

        One of the shepherds found Abby and told her what had happened.  

        "David sent messengers from the desert to give our master his greetings, but he hurled insults at them.  Yet these men were very
good to us.  They did not mistreat us, and the whole time we were out in the fields near them nothing was missing. Night and day they
were a wall around us all the time we were herding our sheep near them."  

       "Oh Nabal.  You didn't disgrace our name again," Abby said softly to herself.  She put her hand up to her eyes as though meditating
while she listened.  

      "Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household.  He is such a
wicked man that no one can talk to him."  

        Abigail lost no time.  She knew what she had to do, and do it quickly.  They may not be alive by morning.  She had a quick mind and
arose to the occasion as she had always been able to do.  

       "Six hundred men and their families.  We can handle that.  And when Nabal discovers the food missing, I'll just have to handle that
problem when it gets here."  

        She called her servants.  To one she instructed that 200 loaves of bread be packed on donkeys.  Another was to get the wine,
another the roasted grain, another the cakes of raisins, another the cakes of figs.  Then she had five sheep killed and dressed.  Now, if
she wasn't too late, she would take the supply animals and lead them down the mountain to David.  

        Abby left with the animals loaded with food and headed down the mountain.  As she went into a ravine, David was at the other end
riding toward her and talking to his men.  

        "It's been useless - all my watching over this fellows property in the desert so that nothing of his was missing.  He has paid me back
evil for good.  May God deal with me if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!"  [13]

        Abby realized who she was approaching, and when she saw the swords and spears she knew she was just in time.  She quickly got
off her donkey and bowed to the ground in front of David.  

        "My Lord, let the blame be on me alone.  Please let your servant speak to you; hear what your servant has to say."  

        He got down from his horse.  

       "May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal.  He is just like his name - his name is Fool, and folly goes with him.  But as
for me, your servant, I did not see the men my master sent."  

        This must be Nabal's wife.  He wondered if she was like her husband.  

        "Now since the Lord has kept you, my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, as surely as the
Lord lives and as you live, may your enemies and all who intend to harm my master be like Nabal."  

        She surely doesn't talk like Nabal.  Maybe she is different after all.  

        She pointed to the donkeys ladened with food.  "Let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master, be given to the men who
follow you.  Please forgive your servant's offence, for the Lord will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights the
Lord's battles.  Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live."  

        Definitely not like her husband.  Listen to that woman.  Humble but not undignified.  Complimentary but not flattering.  And wise, but
not a know-it-all.  

        "When the Lord has done for my maser every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel, my
master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself." [14]
                           Part 3 ~ Abuse and Affliction ~ The Triumph  

        Then, for some reason, she added, "And when the Lord has brought my master success, remember your servant."  

        Remember her?  Who could forget her?  In addition to everything else she was absolutely beautiful.  

        David could no longer be angry.  He put his sword back in its place and walked over to Abby.  He brought her to her feet and
smiled.  

        "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me," David told her.  "May you be blessed for your good
judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.  Otherwise, as surely a the Lord, the
God of Israel, lives who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would
have been left alive by daybreak."  

        This time Abby smiled.  And she breathed a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the delivery.  

        "Here, take all the supplies.  Then I must hurry back with the pack animals before they are missed."  

        David understood, and wondered how she could live with a man like that.  One thing was obvious.  Nabal did not deserve her.   

      As soon as everything was transferred over, David handed the reins of all the animals over to Abby and helped her up on to her
donkey.  

        "Go home in peace.  I have heard your words and granted your request."  [15]

        Abby hurried home.  Oh how she wished her husband had the kindness that David did.  But perhaps the Lord had sent her in to
Nabal's life to help him. Not many women would be strong enough to stick it out with Nabal long enough to convince him he was really
loved and wanted.  But she still had so far to go in convincing him.  If he'd only quit assuming people were against him and listen to them,
he'd find love.  

       She arrived back at the summer house just as the sun was setting.  She went to Nabal.  He was holding his banquet and had all his
friends and relatives there with him, celebrating the harvest of wool.  The large room was decorated like a palace, he had his silver
goblets out for the guests, and there was plenty of music.  She went over to him.  

         "Nabal.  I need to talk to you."  

        "Then talk.  These are all my friends!  You can say anything you like in front of my friends."  

        "No, I can't talk to you here."  

         Nabal looked at her threateningly and she flinched, getting ready for the slap which he didn't mind administering to her even in
public.  Instead he paused, looked down at his wine and began laughing.  

        "Oh.  So you want me in private.  Alone.  And what do you have in mind, my dear?"  

         "Please, it is important."  

        "Oh, come now.  What could be more important than all this food, all the riches the new wool will bring, and all my friends?"  

        He turned to his guests and began telling a joke.  She stood there forgotten, and decided it was just as well.  He was drunk.  Worse
than usual.  She would have to talk to him later.  [16]

        The next morning Nabal got up late.  His head was throbbing.  But within a few hours and after some brunch, he felt better.  Abby
decided she'd better not wait any longer.  How she dreaded this.  He needed to know.  But bearing bad news to him would only make him
meaner.  What would he do to her this time?  Yet, she still loved him and wanted to help.  She approached and sat down.  

        "Woman, who said you could sit down in my presence?"  

        "Nabal.  We must talk."  

        "You know, Abby, you are ugly.  Really ugly.  You're stupid too.  I don't know why I even bother with you."  

        She swallowed.  She knew to get to the point quickly.  "David nearly killed you last night."  

        He stopped and stared at her.  Not a word.  

        "He was only an hour's ride away when I found him.   He had his army with him.  Six hundred men."  

        Nabal leaned back in his chair.  His eyes squinted.  He could hardly believe what he was hearing.  He feared real strength, because
deep down he knew he had only an artificial strength.  

        "They had their weapons with them. I got the food to him just in time."  

         "You mean you actually...."  But the words trailed off.  Suddenly his haughtiness got strangled by the cowardly knot in his stomach,
and he began to noticeably shake.  David was not a woman he could insult and throw around and use to prove his masculinity.  

        "I gave him all the food they could possibly need.  Then I begged his forgiveness. I took the blame on myself, and asked him to
forgive me."  

        Weapons?  Food?  Forgiveness?  His heart began beating faster.  He hated it when his wife was smarter than him.  His hands now
shook noticeably.  "Where...."  [17]

        "I met him and his men at the ravine.  They have gone back down to the desert now.  They're gone."  

        "Gone?"  His speech started coming back.  "Are you sure?  What if he comes back?  What if it was just a trick?  Take the food and
then kill us anyway?  He's coming back.  I know he is.  He's against me!  Everyone's always been against me!  I'm a dead man!"  

        Nabal stood up, walked to the other side of the room, grabbed his head and stood there silently screaming.  

        "Nabal?  What is it?"  

        He looked beyond her in horror and his body grew rigid.  

       "Nabal?"  

        Then he sank to the floor.  [18]

        "Servants!  Come in here quickly!  It's Nabal!  Help him!"  

        Several servants who had heard her from other rooms in the house came rushing in and immediately went to Nabal.  They picked
him up and took him to his bed.  One of them put his head down on Nabal's chest and listened.  

        "He's not dead.  But I don't know what to do for him."  They stood by helplessly as Abigail approached.  

        "His eyes.  Look at his eyes.  He's just staring.  But he's not moving.  Nabal, can you hear me?  Can you move?  Can you move
anything?  Nabal, please."  

        But no movement.  No sign of anything.  She looked up at her servants.  

        "There's nothing we can do but wait.  I want to be alone with him now."  

        Abby sat there with her husband the rest of the day.  After a few hours she touched his eyelids and put them down over his eyes.  
He needed his rest.  

        She stayed there all night by his side.  And the next day and night.  There was no movement.  Everything remained the same.  He
was completely paralyzed.  She knew he'd gone in to apoplexy.  Sometimes in the still, dark night she talked to him.  

        "Oh Nabal.  If you had only stopped telling me how I hated you.  I didn't hate you.  I loved you.  You were just so convinced, you
couldn't stop punishing me for it.  Nabal, it was you who didn't love.  If you'd only stopped and listened to people.  Everyone wanted to
love you.  But every time anyone got close to you, you rebuffed them.  Especially me.  I could have been closest to you.  You had to beat
me down the most.  If only you had listened to us."  

        She often thought back on the early days of their marriage.  Even though he was quite a bit older than her, he seemed like such a
little boy.  He never really grew up.  He needed her so much.  He'd get scared so quickly and start fighting people.  He'd need reassuring.  

        He was always so busy trying to be the big shot and know everything immediately, he never really learned the basics of anything.  
She'd often have to follow up on his bungled business dealings and straighten out the catches in them.  She always did it very quietly so
he would think he'd done it all by himself.  But she didn't mind.  He needed her.  She could help him build up his self-confidence, his
self-love.  [19]

        Still the days and nights continued.  She'd look at his hands, and then hold them.  "You didn't have to beat me into loving you.  It
wasn't necessary.  I was there. Oh, you needed me so much.  I tried to take the beatings patiently to give you time to find out I did love
you and that you didn't have to be frightened.  No one was going to hurt you.  I never hurt you.  I just wanted to help you got over all your
fear.  I could handle the beatings as long as I thought there was a glimmer of hope."  

        More days.  More nights.  On the tenth day Nabal died.  

        Abby cried  The servants could not understand why.  He treated her so terribly.  But they did not know the extent of her love.  She
had tried so hard to show him what love was.  They knew that.  As far as they were concerned, he didn't deserve her love, and they were
glad he was gone.  Now maybe she'd have a better life.  She was the one who deserved a good life.  [20]

        After the official mourning period was over, one of the servants went out to find David.  He might be interested in the news.  

        And indeed he was.  As soon as he heard, he cried out, "Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating
me with contempt.  He has kept me from doing wrong and has brought Nabal's wrongdoing down on his own head."  

        David's joy soon began to merge with another thought.  A thought even more marvelous.  Abby.  What would happen to her now?  
She needed taken care of.  He was sure she had enough grit to live in the caves and without a home until Saul quit trying to hunt him
down and kill him.  

        A messenger arrived at Abby's house that afternoon.  She was still at the mountain.  The sheep shearing had to be completed
regardless of what happened.  

        "David has sent us to you," they told her.  "He would like for you to become his wife."  
        She could hardly believe her ears.  She looked at the messengers.  She looked at her mourning clothes now discarded and draped
over a nearby stool.  She looked at her maids standing nearby, and the way they were smiling.  One of them smiled and whispered.  "Go
on!  Accept!  You deserve it!   You've been through a lot.  Now you need to have some nice things happen to you.  Go ahead!  He'll make
you a queen!"   

        Abby looked back at the messengers.  "Yes.  I will accept.  I will be his aid and his wife."  

        She had the messengers sit down with a cool drink while she ran and got her things together.  She sent for the foreman and told
him that he would be in charge until David and she could give them further instructions.  Then she called her five closest maids and told
them to pack their things.  They would be going with her.        

         Within the hour she was ready.  She got on her donkey and went with the messengers to David.  There in the desert she became
his bride.  And what a honeymoon.  It was spent hiding from Saul.  David explained that Saul was not as dangerous as he liked to think of
himself, and Abby agreed, with special understanding of such things.  [21]

         Shortly thereafter David came across Saul's camp by night.  He slipped in to it and went over to where Saul was sleeping.  Not a
movement from anywhere.  Now was his chance to kill his arch enemy.  But he could not.  Regardless of any harm Saul brought to him,
David still loved Saul.  

        "I told those with me that I could never lay a hand on the Lord's anointed," he explained to Abby later.  "I did take his spear and
water jug.  Then I went up the hill nearby and called to Saul.  Saul woke up and, of course, recognized my voice.  I asked him why he kept
trying to chase me down and kill me.  Then to show him that I still loved him regardless, I held up the jug and spear that had been by
Saul's head.  Saul blessed me from down there for sparing his life and said I would be great some day, for I was better than he."  

         Abby recognized that type of respect.  It was the same kind she'd had for Nabal.  She tried to do good to Nabal and he still wanted
to hurt her.  Saul wanted to hurt David in return for his goodness too.  Yes, she understood.  [22]

        "I am still worried," he went on.  "Saul is always contrite for the moment, but then he goes back to believing I am against him and
starts stalking me again.  Perhaps I should escape to the land of the Philistines until Saul gives up the search."  

         The next day David moved his people to the capitol city of the Philistines.  They were well received, but he wanted to avoid an
incident.  He approached the king and asked that a small city be given him and his people to live in away from the king.  It was granted.  
They stayed there for a year and four months.  

        Abby was happier than she ever thought possible.  There was peace in her life at last.  David was happy too.  No more fighting off
the men who imagined David to be his enemy.  They were even at peace with a nation that was traditionally their enemy.  Things couldn't
be better.  

        At the end of that time, the Philistines decided to go to war with Saul.  Of course David could not just sit and watch the whole thing.  
So he said that since they had been so kind to him, he would go to war with them to fight against Saul.  But when the Philistine general
heard of it, he told the king that David was too likely to turn on them and kill them just to get back in to Saul's favor.  Although the king was
David's friend and trusted him, he decided to follow the general's request.  David reluctantly turned back.  

         Providentially, David would become grateful for this unexpected turn of events.  When he arrived back at his temporary city
headquarters, all the women and children were gone, including his beloved Abigail.  Their herds and homes had been plundered.  David
knew who had done it.  It was the Amalakites.  

        "Oh Lord, deliver us.  Send David to us," Abby prayed.  The others prayed too.  

         As she sat in the midst of the captives, Abby thought about her life.  In some ways it had been good.  There were trials, but she'd
managed to get through them.  The Lord never really forsook her.  Perhaps she went through all she did just for the right moment when
David would come into her life.  [23]

         Yes, the past year and a half had been good.  She'd been so happy.  It had made up for anything bad that had ever happened to
her.  The bad things were now just a haze in her distant past.  So now, if it were her lot to die she would die content.  God had been good
to her.  And for that she was grateful.  

         She looked down at the shackles on her legs.  Then she looked over at her captors scattered over the hillside eating, drinking, and
congratulating themselves for all their plunder.  David had not done bad considering he'd been a fugitive for so long.  Herds, wives,
treasures.  Not bad at all.  Then she looked over at the setting sun.  Would she be alive this time tomorrow?  

        Suddenly a shout.  Horses came charging over the hill and down onto the camp.  

         "It's David!  The Lord has delivered us!"  

         Abby praised God for deliverance, even though the battle was just beginning.  The other captives did too, for they knew no one
could overcome David's forces.  Then they all made their way the best they could as far back from the encampment as possible to stay
out of the way of the fighting.  They continued to pray throughout the battle.  

         David and his forces fought until it was completely dark, then surrounded the camp during the night when no one could see.  The
next morning at the first sign of any light, they began moving in on the peripherals of the enemy camp.  They continued to fight through
that entire day.  Just before sunset, about 400 Amalakites escaped on camels into the desert.  Everyone else had been destroyed.  

         Then it was quiet.    

         Cheers arose from the captives.  David's soldiers rushed over to them and each one ran among the waiting people looking for their
loved one, looking for their wives and children.  Shouts of "I'm over here!" could be heard everywhere.  Hearing was sharpened in order
to determine by the mere sound of a voice who was calling and from which direction.  

        David, too, was searching for his young wife.  "I'm over here, David.  Over here!"  He looked past the people between them, pushed
his way through, ran to Abby, and enveloped her in  his arms.  

        "You're alive!  You're alive!  Did they hurt you?  Did they do anything to you?  Here, let me get those shackles off your legs.  I
thought I'd lost you.  Abby, my dear wife, I will do anything to make sure you are safe."  

        "Oh David, my husband.  You do love me so.  You were willing to give your life to save me.  I have never known so much love.  I love
you more than I could ever express.  I am yours forever."  

        "Let's get out of here."  [24]

         When David got back to the little city his troops and their families had been living in, they waited for word from the Philistine troops.  
Three days later a messenger arrived from Saul's camp saying that Saul had died in the battle.  The messenger handed David Saul's
crown and arm band that he'd been wearing.  David mourned for the death of God's anointed.  

        He knew now that he would be sovereign ruler of the Kingdom of Israel.  He moved his family to Hebron and settled down to make
this his new capitol city.  While here, Abby gave him a son.  The son's name was Daniel, meaning God is the Judge.  Indeed, Abby knew
that she was free of any responsibility of judging and passing sentence on anyone.  She knew her job was just to love others.  And that
she did.  [25]  
                                            THOUGHT QUESTIONS

                                                       Part 1 ~ Enduring Abuse

1.        There are two ways you can look at everything - the good or the bad.  You can make an ordinary occurrence look very good or very bad,
depending on your self-image.  If your husband assumes you are always against him, can that convince him you are truly bad person?  Read how Satan,
himself, does this very thing (Genesis 3:1-5).

2.        You can get others to do things out of love or out of fear.  Can motivating with fear alone be compatible with love (1 John 4:18)?  If your
husband motivates you out of fear (his own self-image), how can you, his wife, determine just what he is afraid of and then help him overcome it?

3.        Nabal's personality indicates he also demanded physical attention and probably made Abigail feel used.  Contrast this with Song of Solomon
1:15,16.  Keep in mind that verse 15 is spoken by the husband and verse 16 is the wife's reply.

4.        You have patiently enduring abuse from your husband for the sake of love.  You need also to learn to condemn his sin because it is against God's
laws, and not just because his abuse hurts you.  This way your ego is protected (1 Samuel 8:7; Exodus 16:8).  One way to make the distinction is to
consider his actions logically:  Just what is a sin in God's eyes?  Find some verses in Proverbs which condemn an abuser's sins.

5.        Abusers such as your husband tend to manipulate and toy with people's emotions.  If you are in a good mood, he tries to make you cry.  If you
are depressed, he laughs at you and teases a little, tells a joke, and finally gets you to smile.  Once your mood improves, he inserts a little thorn just under
the emotional fingernail to pull you back down.  What can you do to maintain your mental and spiritual stability?  If you no longer live, but Christ lives in
you (Galatians 2:20), can a husband's insults get to you, being "dead"?  How can you respond to verbal abuse as Christ would who is the one living in
you?

6.        An abusive marriage has two sides.  Your husband thinks he is strongest because of his ability to over talk and overpower you.  You think he is
weak because of his inability to control himself.  You believe only a strong person like you could endure his abuse long enough to help him learn he can
accept love (1 Corinthians 13:47)?  What can your friends do to encourage you?  What can they do to help your husband?  Have you told them this?

7.        Abigail was a very beautiful, intelligent, and practical woman.  It may have been that when you were young and dating, you knew your future
husband abused others but not you.  You attributed this to his responding to your true love.  But after your marriage, he began to abuse you too.  He
may have wooed you as a challenge from a hard heart and not out of love.  "Nabal" means churlish and is translated most often in the Bible as "hard,"
such as hardening a heart (Psalm 95:8).  How could you as a young woman have been able to tell before marriage if his heart was hard?  What advice
would you give others?

8.        Nabal loved his money more than anything in the world.  Read 1 Timothy 6:9,10 and Proverbs 15:27.  Does your husband works late, on
weekends, etc. believing his money and business career are the source of all family happiness?  What can you do to help your children sort out their
values and in turn help your husband and their father sort them out?

SUGGESTED GOOD WORK:  Among your friends you may know a woman whose husband insults her in public.  If he does so, he is probably worse
in private.  Write her a love note.  Tell her how precious she is and appreciated and admired.  If you do not know anyone, send your notes to a shelter
for battered women.
                                        
                                          Part 2 ~ A World of Abuse

9.        Abusers truly believe people are against them and must be told the error of their ways.  Other people's "sins" and shortcomings torment abusers
and fill them with fear and hate.  Read 1 John 4:20,19,18 in that order and discuss what types of love must an abuser feel to become loving.  Apply this
to what you might try to do to help your husband.

10.        Abusers have great difficulty communicating, partly because they spend so much time telling what they don't want and how people do not want
them to have what they want (Proverbs 18:19; 17:9).  This is the ultimate in discouragement.  How could you help your husband tell you what he wants,
starting with quickly obtainable things and working up?

11.        Suspicion and distrust rule an abuser (Job 15:20).  1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is not easily provoked, does not dwell on bad things,
believes [the best of] all things [and people].  We think of others the way we think of ourselves.  What can you do to show your husband you believe in
him?

12.        Good people who see good in others do not like to be around people who see only bad in others.  Read Proverbs 4:14-17.  What can you do to
have good friends for yourself?

13.        Your own self-esteem could go down to the point that you too begin to lose hope in yourself and others, and as a result you could become a
form of abuser yourself.  What can you do in this predicament to keep from becoming like him?  Read Ephesians 4:31,32.  What kindnesses could you
show and to what kind of people in order to receive reinforcement outside your home that you are a loving and worthwhile person?

14.        Included in the personal abuse received of her husband, Abigail had to endure the shame and consequences of his abusing other people, being
one with him in marriage.  In order to defend your name (Proverbs 22:1), and get people to "go easy" on retaliating, what can you do (Matthew 5:9)?

SUGGESTED GOOD WORK:  Write a note to a woman you know who acts bitter or beaten down.  Tell her you'd like to pick her up and go have
coffee with her just because you love her.

                            Part 3 ~ Abuse and Affliction: The Triumph

15.        When Abigail took David and his men the needed supplies and food, she asked that he remember her when he became king.  She probably
believed her husband's tongue would continue to bring her trouble.  Read 1 Kings 11:11-13.  Has your husband ever been spared punishment or
retaliation for your sake?  What does that tell you that people think of you?

16.        James 1:2,3 tells us to have joy when we are tried, and Romans 5:3 says we are to glory in tribulation.  What trait do these verses say such
trials develop?  What is the kingdom of Christ called in Revelation 1:9?

17.        Abigail exercised a supreme type of love, accepting the blame for her husband's sin.  This puts her and other women like her in the company of
what world-renowned person (Exodus 32:31,32)?

18.        Fear rules the abuser's life, and eventually destroys it.  Abigail had exhibited extraordinary courage - first by staying
with her husband, and second by facing the enemies of his own making.  Women like you who take advantage of a possible fear situation by choosing
courage instead, have learned what (2 Chronicles 32:7,8)?

19.        The abuser sees himself as strong and able to stand up to people.  But he is actually saying that he cannot handle things very well and wants
people to treat him with "kid gloves," to tip-toe around him and be extra careful so they won't hurt his feelings.  This Abigail tried to do, and you may
have also.  With such unsurpassing courage, who actually is the strong one in such a marriage (Romans 15:1-5)?

20.        Abigail stood by her husband unto the bitter end - his death.  Usually when a wife insists on doing right, such as worshipping God, doing good
works, reading the Bible, etc. (Acts 5:29), an abuser eventually either is converted and glorifies his wife's dedication to God; or becomes so nervous
around goodness he leaves and seeks another woman he can try to take down to his evil level.  In any case you, a Christian wife, can become a supreme
example of being faithful to Christ when what (Hebrews 3:6,14)?  In what way (Ephesians 6:7)?

21.        After Nabal's death, Abigail married David who was on the run to escape execution.  Do you think her endurance in bearing up under her own
persecution for years previously could have influenced David's proposal (1 Corinthians 2:9)?  For what other things might God be preparing you in the
future?

22.        Abigail understood exactly what David was going through by continuing to love the one who hated him - Saul.  How do you think this affected
their new marriage (Proverbs 17:27)?  What might have happened had she not?

23.        Romans 8:28 indicates that our lives are like a puzzle that must be fit together, and the final result is good.  Abigail had to go through a lot to
finally be on the same mountain under the right circumstances for David.  She could have become bitter and David wouldn't have wanted her; but
instead she did what (Proverbs 3:3-6)?  How can you do this?

24.        David was loved easily by all the people.  Therefore he was probably lovable at home too.  He was a complete opposite to Nabal.  A woman
who has been abused in the past sometimes finds it difficult to adjust to a peaceful husband, having programmed herself to be on the defensive for so
long.  What would be the best philosophy of a woman in this position (Philippians 3:13)?

25.        Through enduring persecution and trials, you can learn peace by allowing God to be the judge, saving yourself the agony of judging and passing
sentence.  David exercised this with Nabal (1 Samuel 25:39), Saul (1 Samuel 26:9) and others.  Abigail did this with her husband.  What must you do to
hand judgment over to God and bring inner peace (Philippians 4:6-9)?

SUGGESTED GOOD WORK:  Send a note to someone who has suffered because of what someone else did.  Tell them you admire their courage and
remind them of their reward.