|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:2-11 We should not have heard of Nabal, if nothing had passed between him and David. Observe his name, Nabal, A fool; so it signifies. Riches make men look great in the eye of the world; but to one that takes right views, Nabal looked very mean. He had no honour or honesty; he was churlish, cross, and ill-humoured; evil in his doings, hard and oppressive; a man that cared not what fraud and violence he used in getting and saving. What little reason have we to value the wealth of this world, when so great a churl as Nabal abounds, and so good a man as David suffers want!, David pleaded the kindness Nabal's shepherds had received. Considering that David's men were in distress and debt, and discontented, and the scarcity of provisions, it was by good management that they were kept from plundering. Nabal went into a passion, as covetous men are apt to do, when asked for any thing, thinking thus to cover one sin with another; and, by abusing the poor, to excuse themselves from relieving them. But God will not thus be mocked. Let this help us to bear reproaches and misrepresentations with patience and cheerfulness, and make us easy under them; it has often been the lot of the excellent ones of the earth. Nabal insists much on the property he had in the provisions of his table. May he not do what he will with his own? We mistake, if we think we are absolute lords of what we have, and may do what we please with it. No; we are but stewards, and must use it as we are directed, remembering it is not our own, but His who intrusted us with it.
Verse 2. - A man in Maon. Though strictly by descent belonging to Maon (for which see on 1 Samuel 23:24), his possessions - rather, "his business," "occupation" (see Genesis 47:3, and Ecclesiastes 4:3, where it is translated work) - were in Carmel, the small town just north of Maon, where Saul set up a trophy at the end of the Amalekite war (1 Samuel 15:12), and to which Abigail belonged (1 Samuel 27:3). He is described as very great because of his wealth arising from his large flocks of sheep and goats, which fed upon the pasture land which forms the elevated plateau of Carmel, where he was shearing his sheep, usually a time of lavish hospitality (2 Samuel 13:23, 24).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And there was a man in Maon,.... A city of the tribe of Judah, from whence the wilderness had its name before mentioned; of which place, see Joshua 15:55; though Ben Gersom takes it to signify a dwelling place; and that this is observed to show, that he did not dwell in a city, but had his habitation where his business lay, which was in Carmel, where his fields, gardens, and vineyards were: wherefore it follows:
whose possessions were in Carmel; not Carmel in the tribe of Issachar, but in the tribe of Judah, not far from Maon, and are mentioned together; see Gill on Joshua 15:55; his cattle were there, his sheep particularly, for they are afterwards said to be shorn there; or "his work" (r); his agriculture, his farming, where he was employed, or employed others in sowing seed, and planting trees:
and the man was very great; in worldly substance, though not in natural wisdom and knowledge, and especially in true religion and piety:
and he had three thousand sheep, and a thousand goats; so the substance of men in those times was generally described by the cattle they had, whether of the herd or flock, in which it chiefly lay:
and he was shearing his sheep in Carmel; which was the custom in Judea and Syria, and was a very ancient one, as early as the times of Judah, yea, of Laban, see Genesis 31:19; though the old Romans used to pluck off the wool from the sheep's backs; hence a fleece of wool was called "vellus a vellendo", from the plucking it off; and Pliny says (s), in his time, that sheep were not shorn everywhere, but in some places the custom of plucking off the wool continued; and who elsewhere observes (t), that the time of shearing was in June or July, or thereabouts; at which times a feast was made, and it is for the sake of that this is observed.
(r) "opus ejus", Montanus, Vatablus; "eujus opus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (s) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 48. (t) Ibid. l. 18. c. 27.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. in Carmel—now Kurmul. The district takes its name from this town, now a mass of ruins; and about a mile from it is Tell Main, the hillock on which stood ancient Maon.
the man was very great—His property consisted in cattle, and he was considered wealthy, according to the ideas of that age.
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