25:3 The man’s name was Nabal, 1 and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was both wise 2 and beautiful, but the man was harsh and his deeds were evil. He was a Calebite.
1 Samuel 25:10-11Context
25:10 But Nabal responded to David’s servants, “Who is David, and who is this son of Jesse? This is a time when many servants are breaking away from their masters! 25:11 Should I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers and give them to these men? I don’t even know where they came from!”
1 Samuel 25:25Context
25:25 My lord should not pay attention to this wicked man Nabal. He simply lives up to his name! His name means ‘fool,’ and he is indeed foolish! 3 But I, your servant, did not see the servants my lord sent. 4
1 Samuel 25:36-38Context
25:36 When Abigail went back to Nabal, he was holding a banquet in his house like that of the king. Nabal was having a good time 5 and was very intoxicated. She told him absolutely nothing 6 until morning’s light. 25:37 In the morning, when Nabal was sober, 7 his wife told him about these matters. He had a stroke and was paralyzed. 8 25:38 After about ten days the Lord struck Nabal down and he died.
1 sn The name נָבָל (Nabal) means “foolish” or “senseless” in Hebrew, and as an adjective the word is used especially of persons who have no perception of ethical or religious claims. It is an apt name for this character, who certainly typifies such behavior.
2 tn Heb “good of insight”; KJV “of good understanding”; NAB, NIV, TEV “intelligent”; NRSV “clever.”
3 tn Heb “and foolishness is with him.”
4 tn Heb “my lord’s servants, whom you sent.”
5 tn Heb “and the heart of Nabal was good upon him”; NASB, NRSV “Nabal’s heart was merry within him”; NIV “he was in high spirits”; NCV, TEV “was in a good mood”; CEV “was very drunk and feeling good.”
6 tn Heb “and she did not tell him a thing, small or large.”
7 tn Heb “when the wine had gone out from Nabal.”
8 tn Heb “and his heart died within him and he became a stone.” Cf. TEV, NLT “stroke”; CEV “heart attack.” For an alternative interpretation than that presented above, see Marjorie O’Rourke Boyle, “The Law of the Heart: The Death of a Fool (1 Samuel 25),” JBL 120 (2001): 401-27, who argues that a medical diagnosis is not necessary here. Instead, the passage makes a connection between the heart and the law; Nabal dies for his lawlessness.