1. The story begins with Abigail discovering that her family does not approve of her betrothed nearly as much as she once thought they did; in fact, they want to put an end to her marriage and run after the king’s outlaw son-in-law David. How does this discovery set the tone for the rest of the story?
2. When Abigail realizes the type of man Nabal is, she dares to hope that her father will have success in annulling her betrothal, but Nabal gets wind of the plan and comes for Abigail before her father can act. Abigail is thrust into a marriage to a controlling, abusive man, and there is nothing she can do to get out of it. In that culture, she was at his mercy. Have you ever been in a situation where you were helpless to get away and were at the mercy of unkind and perhaps even cruel people? If so, how did you respond? If not, how do you think you would respond?Abigail, however, clings to the hope that once she marries Nabal, she will be able to change him. Why is such a hope of changing someone through marriage unlikely to be fulfilled?
3. After six months of marriage to Nabal, things go from bad to worse when Nabal physically abuses Abigail. From then on things change, with Abigail either avoiding Nabal or doing all in her power to appease his unpredictable moods. In our modern society, it may be hard to imagine a woman putting up with such a man, but Abigail had little choice and did the best she could. Have you ever had to live with or work for a person with such unpredictable moods—an angry, even violent person? What steps did you take to appease such a person? How would you counsel someone in a similar situation?
4. While Abigail is living every day of her life longing for peace, her parents, her brother, and his family have run away, leaving her alone with only her maidservants for comfort. Do you think Abigail should have gone with them to escape Nabal’s wrath? Do you consider her father and brother cowards for running away from Nabal’s employ and for leaving Abigail at his mercy? Why or why not?
5. When Samuel dies, Nabal makes a show of mourning the prophet only to gain the approval of the king. Have you known people who are concerned only with appearances and do things to look good even though they don’t mean them? Have you ever done something similar to impress those around you? What was the result?
6. David sends men to Nabal to ask for food to help feed his hungry men and their families. He has provided unsolicited protection for Nabal’s shepherds and considers such a request valid. Nabal obviously disagrees and rebuffs David. David reacts in a fit of rage, determined to kill not only Nabal but also every man in Nabal’s household. Abigail hears of David’s plan and sets out to stop him. Why is her decision to attempt appeasing David a risk to her own life? How do you think you would have reacted in similar circumstances? Have you ever had to play peacemaker?