Introduction: Think about the people who seem to get along with
everyone. What allows them to get along? Is that something you
could possess? What they have is called “emotional intelligence,”
and you can learn to have it. Our lesson this week is about a smart,
beautiful, practical and emotionally intelligent woman named
Abigail. Her story introduces us to the Bible-based rules of
emotional intelligence. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible to
learn more!

  1. The Main Characters

    1. Read 1 Samuel 25:1-3. What do we know about David, Nabal
      and Abigail? (Samuel is David’s primary witness that he
      has been anointed to be King of Israel. Now Samuel has
      died. After Samuel’s death, David immigrates to Maon
      where Nabal lives. Nabal is rich. He is also mean and
      surly in his business affairs. Abigail, Nabal’s wife,
      also lives in Maon. She is smart and beautiful.)

    2. Do you know beautiful and intelligent women who are
      married to rich and surly men?

      1. How does that work out?

  2. The Business Dispute

    1. Read 1 Samuel 25:4-6. Assume that some young men come to
      your door and say, “Long life to you! Good day and good
      health to you and your family!” What would be your
      reaction? (I would think, “What are you selling?”)

    2. Read 1 Samuel 25:7-9. Let’s consider this message.
      Assume that some immigrants come to your home and say “We
      did not mistreat your employees or steal your stuff. How
      would you like to give us some money for that because we
      see that you are cashing in on your business profits and
      no doubt you are in a good and generous mood?”

      1. Would you think you were being visited by the Mafia?

      2. Does David have a legal claim on Nabal’s profits?

      3. Does David have a moral claim on Nabal’s profits?

      4. Does David have a “feel good” claim on Nabal’s

    3. Let’s jump ahead to gather a little more information
      about whether David and him men have a moral claim. Read
      1 Samuel 25:14-16. What do you think “a wall around us
      all the time” means? (Nabal’s shepherds were in the
      wilderness where they would naturally suffer some loss
      from the hostile surroundings. David’s men protected
      them. That gives David the moral argument that if his men
      had not protected Nabal’s animals, Nabal would have lower

      1. If David’s men can make the trip to collect their
        claim, why didn’t David show up months before to
        enter into an agreement with Nabal to protect his
        animals in exchange for some of the profit?

    4. Read 1 Samuel 25:10-11. What is Nabal’s answer to David’s
      request for part of the profits? (No.)

      1. Let’s explore this a bit more. Re-read 1 Samuel
        25:8. David asks Nabal to talk to his shepherds to
        get accurate information about his request. Has
        Nabal done that? (No. Notice that when we skipped
        ahead, we found that Abigail does that later.)

        1. Read Proverbs 13:16. What counsel do we find
          about decision-making?

      2. Not having any first-hand information, on what basis
        does Nabal make his decision? (It is a very odd bit
        of thinking in today’s business world. Nabal
        decides to give David nothing because David is a
        nobody. He does not discuss the main issue – has
        David performed services that deserve payment?)

        1. Why do you think Nabal misses the main issue?
          (It could be because he assumes that David
          helped protect his herds, but David has no
          authority to enforce his claims. Or, it could
          be that Nabal is not only surly and mean, he is
          so stupid that he cannot arrive at the real
          issue. Stupid, surly and mean come as package
          in some people.)

        2. If Nabal knew from where David had immigrated,
          would it have made a difference?

    5. Did you know that most employees get fired because they
      cannot get along, not because they are incompetent to do
      their job?

      1. The ability to get along with others, as mentioned
        in the introduction, is called “emotional
        intelligence.” How would you rate Nabal on his
        emotional intelligence?

        1. What, specifically, is Nabal doing that is
          emotionally unintelligent? (Most of what he
          says is simply insulting David. There is no
          need to insult David in making the business
          decision or in giving a reply.)

      2. Let’s read some Bible-based principles of emotional

        1. Read Proverbs 18:19, Proverbs 20:3 and Proverbs
          11:17. How is Nabal doing on the Bible-based
          rules of emotional intelligence?

  3. David’s Response

    1. Read 1 Samuel 25:12-13. Is David really like the Mafia?

      1. Why do you think he has this reaction? (Because of
        what we know about David generally, and the fact
        that God chose him to be the future King of Israel,
        I’m going to assume that he is not involved in some
        sort of shakedown of Nabal. Instead, I think David
        is reacting to the insults.)

    2. Is David showing emotional intelligence?

      1. Read Proverbs 12:16, Proverbs 24:19 and Proverbs
        19:11. What does the Bible say about David’s
        emotional intelligence?

  4. Abigail’s Response

    1. Read 1 Samuel 25:14-17. Why do you think that the servant
      went to Abigail? (No doubt because she had some sense.)

      1. Consider that the servant is telling Abigail what to
        do. Should she be insulted?

      2. What do you think about the fact that Nabal doesn’t
        take advice and Abigail does? (Read Proverbs 12:15,
        Proverbs 13:10 and Proverbs 19:20. Abigail could
        have been insulted. Instead, she showed emotional
        intelligence by taking advice. She showed further
        emotional intelligence ( Proverbs 13:16) by seeking
        to act based on knowledge. The fact that Nabal never
        takes advice is further evidence that he lacks
        emotional intelligence.)

    2. Read 1 Samuel 25:18-19. What point is Abigail making with
      the food?

      1. Why does she ride along behind? Is this for her
        safety, and not the safety of the servants? (Nabal
        has insulted David by not giving him any food.
        Abigail is showing David’s importance by giving him
        many gifts of food. She rides behind so that David
        will see the presents first.)

        1. If you were Abigail, would you ride toward
          David or would you gather as many of your
          possessions as you could and ride the opposite

      2. Is it good or bad that she did not tell her husband
        what she was doing? (Read Proverbs 18:1, Proverbs
        21:24 and Proverbs 9:7-8. Nabal would not have taken
        Abigail’s advice. As a “mocker,” he would simply
        have abused her for her actions.)

    3. Read 1 Samuel 25:23-28. What does Abigail understand that
      Nabal does not? (That the insults towards David are the
      problem. She is doing all she can to show that David is
      worthy of praise and honor.)

      1. Could Abigail have reasonably said, “What are you
        guys, the Mafia? Those herds are ours and I’m
        willing to pay for your help. But what you have in
        mind is simply criminal!” (Read Proverbs 11:2 and
        Ecclesiastes 10:20. The prior argument would express
        pride. David was to be the next king. Reviling him
        would be a big mistake. Abigail showed emotional
        intelligence by being humble and by avoiding giving
        insult to those in authority.)

    4. Read 1 Samuel 25:32-35. How has Abigail’s emotional
      intelligence served Abigail? (It arrested David’s anger
      and brought out David’s own emotional intelligence.)

    5. Read 1 Samuel 25:36-40. How does the story end for the
      emotionally intelligent wife and the emotionally
      unintelligent husband? (Abigail trades mean and surly for
      the next King. It seems to be a pretty good trade.)

    6. Friend, have you considered whether you act in an
      emotionally intelligent way? If not, why not study
      Proverbs to increase your emotional intelligence and
      increase your success in life?

  5. Next week: Uriah: Faith of a Foreigner.