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Smith's Bible Dictionary

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Na’bal

(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. (1 Samuel 25:3; 30:14) (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. (1 Samuel 25:7,15,18) Once a year there was a grand banquet on Carmel, "like the feast of a king." ch. (1 Samuel 25:2,4; 36) 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. (1 Samuel 25:17) 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. (1 Samuel 26:22) 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. (1 Samuel 28:36) 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. (1 Samuel 25:37,38)


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Bibliography Information
Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Na’bal'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary".
<http://classic.studylight.org/dic/sbd/view.cgi?number=T3099>. 1901.

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