1 Samuel 25:21
Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained to him: and he has requited me evil for good.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Now David had said.—This verse and the following (22nd) must be understood as a kind of parenthesis in the narrative. They express what David felt, and, as it were, his justification in his own mind for the violent and vengeful act he was about to carry out. The argument was, Nabal had returned indeed evil for good. For a long time David’s band had guarded faithfully his vast scattered flocks, and had preserved them safely, and now, when he asked a small favour in return, the churl repaid him by throwing in his teeth the taunt that he was a rebel and a runaway slave.

1 Samuel 25:21. Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath — Though David justly thought he had no right to take any part of the flock of Nabal by way of plunder; yet, when he and his men had taken the trouble of defending them for some time from all damage, which, probably, they otherwise could not have escaped, he concluded, with much reason, that he and his men, when reduced to necessity, had cause to expect something by way of gratuity from Nabal, for the services they had done him.25:18-31 By a present Abigail atoned for Nabal's denial of David's request. Her behaviour was very submissive. Yielding pacifies great offences. She puts herself in the place of a penitent, and of a petitioner. She could not excuse her husband's conduct. She depends not upon her own reasonings, but on God's grace, to soften David, and expects that grace would work powerfully. She says that it was below him to take vengeance on so weak and despicable an enemy as Nabal, who, as he would do him no kindness, so he could do him no hurt. She foretells the glorious end of David's present troubles. God will preserve thy life; therefore it becomes not thee unjustly and unnecessarily to take away the lives of any, especially of the people of thy God and Saviour. Abigail keeps this argument for the last, as very powerful with so good a man; that the less he indulged his passion, the more he consulted his peace and the repose of his own conscience. Many have done that in a heat, which they have a thousand times wished undone again. The sweetness of revenge is soon turned into bitterness. When tempted to sin, we should consider how it will appear when we think upon it afterwards.In vain - i. e., under false expectation. 19. she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you—People in the East always try to produce an effect by their presents, loading on several beasts what might be easily carried by one, and bringing them forward, article by article, in succession. Abigail not only sent her servants in this way, but resolved to go in person, following her present, as is commonly done, to watch the impression which her munificence would produce. David had said; either in his journey, or as soon as he heard that reproachful answer.

This fellow; whom he thought unworthy to be named, for his barbarous ingratitude and churlishness. Now David had said,.... When the messengers returned and told him how they had been used by Nabal; or he "said" (c), or was saying within himself, or to his men, what follows, just as Abigail met him:

surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness; which shows that lie was in a violent passion, and had Nabal in the utmost contempt and indignation, in that he mentions not his name, only says "this", this man or follow; leaving a blank to be filled up with the most ignominious name and character that could be thought of; and repents that he had taken so much care of his flocks when they were feeding by him in the wilderness:

so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him; and seems to have wished he had suffered his flocks to have been robbed by the Arabs, or worried by wild beasts, since he had been such an ungrateful wretch to him:

and he hath requited me evil for good; he had requited evil to him by denying to send him any of his provisions, and by abusing him and his men with opprobrious language; and this was done in return for the good deeds he had done in protecting his servants and his flocks in the wilderness, and for the good words and respectful message he had sent unto him.

(c) "ait", V. L. "dixit", Pagninus, Montanus; "dicebat", Vatablus.

Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. Surely in vain] Only to be deceived and disappointed. The same word is used in Jeremiah 3:23.

pertained] i.e. belonged. “Pertain” is derived from Lat. pertineo, through O. Fr. partenir. Cp. “appertain” from appartenir.Verses 21, 22. - David justifies his fierce anger by referring to the services he had rendered Nabal, and which had been requited so shabbily. For the phrase so do God unto the enemies of David see on 1 Samuel 20:16. A superstitious feeling probably lay at the root of this substitution of David's enemies for himself when thus invoking a curse. However intelligible David's wrath may appear in the situation in which he was placed, it was not right before God, but a sudden burst of sinful passion, which was unseemly in a servant of God. By carrying out his intention, he would have sinned against the Lord and against His people. But the Lord preserved him from this sin by the fact that, just at the right time, Abigail, the intelligent and pious wife of Nabal, heard of the affair, and was able to appease the wrath of David by her immediate and kindly interposition.

1 Samuel 25:14-16

Abigail heard from one of (Nabal's) servants what had taken place (בּרך, to wish any one prosperity and health, i.e., to salute, as in 1 Samuel 13:10; and יעט, from עיט, to speak wrathfully: on the form, see at 1 Samuel 15:19 and 1 Samuel 14:32), and also what had been praiseworthy in the behaviour of David's men towards Nabal's shepherds; how they had not only done them no injury, had not robbed them of anything, but had defended them all the while. "They were a wall (i.e., a firm protection) round us by night and by day, as long as we were with them feeding the sheep," i.e., a wall of defence against attacks from the Bedouins living in the desert.

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