Without a doubt, Nabal was a fool. In fact, the name itself means just that in Hebrew. The Bible describes him as “surly and mean” (1 Samuel 25:3). Though extremely wealthy, he was harsh and ungenerous in his behavior. Even his own servant said that “he is so mean no one can talk to him” (25:17). But what made Nabal a fool was his dimwitted response to a reasonable request made by another powerful man in the region, the soon-to-be King David.
After slaying Goliath, David had become a local hero. Women all over the land were singing his praises, and “all Israel and Judah loved him” (18:16). Jealousy quickly took hold of King Saul, who had led the men in battle. He became furious and tried to assassinate David, first by hurling spears at him in a fit of rage and then by placing him in harm’s way in military battles.
The state of affairs eventually became intolerable. David was forced to flee and go into hiding. A fugitive in the wilds, he took refuge in a remote cave, while Saul and his men pursued him relentlessly. David’s brothers and other relatives soon joined him, as well as 400 other men down on their luck (22:2). David and his band of misfits repeatedly dodged the soldiers sent to kill them, and eventually found themselves in the Desert of Maon, west of the Dead Sea, where Nabal the Fool lived like a king.
With his men, David became a local Robin Hood, protecting farmers and shepherds from the frequent raids of brigands and Bedouins. Rather than extract payments in return for their protection, David and his men asked nicely for help. On one occasion, David requested whatever food Nabal could spare from his abundance, but the fool “flew at them screaming” (25:14) Even though they had protected his crops and sheep, Nabal refused the request, pretending not to have heard of David and comparing him with runaway slaves and drifters. David and his troops mounted a furious assault in response, bent on killing every man and boy in Nabal’s household to avenge the insult.
“But then, into the midst of the chaos, beauty appears. A daisy lifts her head in the desert. . . . A whiff of perfume floats through the men’s locker room. Abigail, the wife of Nabal, stands on the trail” (Max Lucado, Ten Women of the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 2016, 60). In contrast to her boorish husband, Abigail had both brains and beauty (25:3). With food in her hand and an apology on her lips, she thwarted disaster.
Our heroine this week in our message series on female heroes of the Bible, Abigail teaches us that a hero makes peace when tempers flare. Listen to her amazing story in our weekend message or online above, and then find ways to be a peacemaker in your own life.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
St. Brendan the Navigator
29 Rockaway Ave.
San Francisco CA 94127
In the Archdiocese of San Francisco
Sunday 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Monday - Thursday 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
The rectory office is closed on Independence Day,
Labor Day, and other official holidays.
Weekday Mass Schedule
Monday-Friday 6:30 am & 8:15 am
Weekend Mass Schedule
Saturday 8:15 am & 5:00 pm Vigil Mass
Sunday 7:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:30 AM
Holy Days of Obligation and Ash Wednesday
6:30 am, 8:15 am, 6:00 pm
Wednesday 7:15 pm - 7:45 pm
Saturday 4:15 pm - 4:45 pm
Sunday 7-7:30, 8:30-9:30, 10:30-11:30 am
By appointment with any priest.
Wednesday 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturday 4:00 pm - 5:00pm
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