Foolish, a descendant of Caleb, owner of a large property in lands and flocks, at Maon and Carmel in the south of Judah. He was under great obligations to David, for protecting him form the robbers of the desert; and yet, in the very hour most suggestive of a grateful generosity, he churlishly refused David's modest request of provisions for his needy troop. Indignant at this ingratitude and inhospitality, David was soon on his way to put him and his men to the sword. Happily, the discreet intervention of Abigail averted this catastrophe. Ten days after, the lord smote him, and he died, 1Sa 25:1-43. See ABIGAIL.
foolish, a descendant of Caleb who dwelt at Maon (1Sa 25), the modern Main, 7 miles south-east of Hebron. He was "very great, and he had 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats...but the man was churlish and evil in his doings." During his wanderings David came into that district, and hearing that Nabal was about to shear his sheep, he sent ten of his young men to ask "whatsoever cometh unto thy hand for thy servants." Nabal insultingly resented the demand, saying, "Who is David, and who is the son of Jesse?" (1Sa 25:10-11). One of the shepherds that stood by and saw the reception David's messengers had met with, informed Abigail, Nabal's wife, who at once realized the danger that threatened her household. She forthwith proceeded to the camp of David, bringing with her ample stores of provisions (1Sa 25:18). She so courteously and persuasively pled her cause that David's anger was appeased, and he said to her, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel which sent thee this day to meet me."
On her return she found her husband incapable from drunkenness of understanding the state of matters, and not till the following day did she explain to him what had happened. He was stunned by a sense of the danger to which his conduct had exposed him. "His heart died within him, and he became as a stone." and about ten days after "the Lord smote Nabal that he died" (1Sa 25:37-38). Not long after David married Abigail (q.v.).
Of Maon. (See MAON.); 1 Samuel 25, compare 1Sa 23:25. (See DAVID.) A sheepmaster on the border of Judah which took its name from the great "Caleb" (3) (1Sa 30:14), next the wilderness. His history, as also that of Boaz, Barzillai, Naboth, is a sample of a Jew's private life (1Sa 25:2,4,36).
A wealthy but churlish sheep-owner 'in Maon, whose business was in Carmel' (1Sa 25:2 Revised Version margin). David, while living as an outlaw and freebooter, demanded at Nabal's sheepshearing his reward for defending his flocks (1Sa 25:5 ff.). Nabal, inflamed with wine, returned an insolent answer, and David was prevented from wreaking terrible vengeance only by the timely arrival of Abigail, Nabal's wife, with large gifts and abundant flattery. The word Nabal means 'fool,' and Abigail, with wifely candour, says to David, 'Fool is his name and fool is he.' The next day Nabal was informed of all that had happened, and the shock of discovery brought on an apoplectic seizure, which caused his death. Abigail then became David's wife.
W. F. Boyd.
A wealthy man in Maon, husband of Abigail. His shepherds and his flocks had been protected in the wilderness by David and his followers. David, therefore, during the sheep-shearing festivities, sent to greet Nabal and to ask for a share of his abundance
(fool) was a sheepmaster on the confines of Judea and the desert, in that part of the country which bore from its great conqueror the name of Caleb.
(B.C. about 1055.) His residence was on the southern Carmel, in the pasture lands of Maon. His wealth, as might be expected from his abode, consisted chiefly of sheep and goats. It was the custom of the shepherds to drive them into the wild downs on the slopes of Carmel; and it was whilst they were on one of these pastoral excursions that they met a band of outlaws, who showed them unexpected kindness, protecting them by day and night, and never themselves committing any depredations.
Once a year there was a grand banquet on Carmel, "like the feast of a king." ch.
It was on one of these occasions that ten youths from the chief of the freebooters approached Nabal, enumerated the services of their master, and ended by claiming, with a mixture of courtesy and defiance characteristic of the East, "whatsoever cometh into thy hand for thy servants and for thy son David." The great sheepmaster peremptorily refused. The moment that the messengers were gone, the shepherds that stood by perceived the danger that their master and themselves would incur. To Nabal himself they durst not speak. ch.
To his wife, as to the good angel of the household, one of the shepherds told the state of affairs. She, with the offerings usual on such occasions, with her attendants running before her, rode down the hill toward David's encampment. David had already made the fatal vow of extermination. ch.
At this moment, as it would seem, Abigail appeared, threw herself on her face before him, and poured forth her petition in language which in both form and expression almost assumes the tone of poetry. She returned with the news of David's recantation of his vow. Nabal was then at the height of his orgies and his wife dared not communicate to him either his danger or his escape. ch.
At break of day she told him both. The stupid reveller was suddenly roused to a sense of that which impended over him. "His heart died within him, and he be came as a stone." It was as if a stroke of apoplexy or paralysis had fallen upon him. Ten days he lingered "and the Lord smote Nabal, and he died." ch.