(Images for this series are owned and provided by Sarah Beth)

1 Sam 25:1-42

Some people would say Abigail is one of their favourite Bible characters. Through wisdom, courage, and skilled negotiation, she single-handedly saved her household from certain destruction. Abigail was a beautiful, intelligent woman with good understanding. She was married to Nabal, a wealthy cattle owner, but a harsh and evil man in all his doings.  Following Samuel’s death, King Saul’s hatred for David made him an outlaw, and he moved to the wilderness of Paran with 600 men. There he encountered and helped the shepherds tending Nabal’s flocks. Nabal refused David’s request for supplies for his men in return for their help, sending insults instead. (1 Samuel 25: 6-9)  David responded by setting out with 400 men to kill Nabal and his household.

As we take a closer look at Abigail, we will notice strong leadership lessons.

Leadership lessons

One of Abigail’s servants told her of Nabal’s response, (1 Sam 25: 14) anticipating she would do something to help save their lives. Abigail demonstrated inwards security in her identity.  Leaders must be secure in their identity in our Lord to operate in boldness and spiritual authority.

Abigail implemented a risky initiative. She gathered together a large quantity of food and wine to take to David. She was extravagant with the gift. (1 Sam 25:18). When Abigail saw David, she submitted to him by falling at his feet, seeking his favour.  A strong and competent woman knows how to demonstrate genuine humility.  She addressed David as “my Lord”, because she recognised the grace of God on David’s life. (1 Sam 25:25).

Abigail had a love for people. A leader must love those they oversee and take ultimate responsibility for the actions of their staff and teams. Abigail took personal responsibility for her husband’s behaviour, appealing to David in order to save her household.

Abigail was an intercessor, who interceded for Nabal, and was prepared to take his punishment. She asked David to forgive Nabal. Her selfless attitude is the characteristic of an effective leader.

Abigail’s affirmation and words of encouragement to David, spoke prophetically about his future reign, using the phrase “When the Lord make you King”, not “if the Lord makes you King”. (1 Sam 25:30).  Leaders should always be ready to encourage others and also speak prophetically over them.

Abigail saw the bigger picture and left plenty of room for God to get involved.  David saw the Lord at work in her. He accepted her provision and sent her home.  By Abigail’s swift action and skillful negotiation, she saved her household.  She managed the role of a wise wife and the religious principles of a Godly woman.

So angry was Nabal at her actions that he suffered a stroke, and ten days later he died.  On hearing of Nabal’s death, David asked Abigail to be his wife. She saw her marriage to David as an opportunity to serve and contribute to the future of Israel. She knew life with David would be full of uncertainties, but one day he would be King as God has promised.  Abigail had a son by David, named Chileah.

Lessons for leaders from Abigails’s life

  • Leaders should develop good relationships; be secure in their identity; operate in boldness & spiritual authority; be humble; love people; be an intercessor; speak words of affirmation and encouragement.
  • Leaders should value character more highly than position.
  • Life’s tough situations can bring out the best in leaders.
  • Every leader’s life has certain responsibilities which present opportunities for growth.
  • A discerning leader, able to see beyond herself.


  1. Abigail’s goal was to save her household. What is your goal?
  2. Is maintaining your position more important to you than your character?
  3. What challenges or responsibilities do you face today that you need to place under God’s control?