Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Nabal.—The word “Nabal” means “fool,” connected with naval, to fade away. The name was probably a nickname given him on account of his well-known stubborn folly.
Abigail.—The famous beautiful woman who afterwards became David’s wife seems to have been, as Stanley calls her, “the good angel of the household” of the ill-starred, boorish southern chieftain. Her name, too, which signifies “whose father is joy,” was most likely given her by the villagers on her husband’s estate, as expressive of her sunny, gladness-bringing presence. Her early training, and the question respecting the sources whence she derived her wisdom and deep, far-sighted piety—apparently far in advance of her age—is discussed further on in the chapter.
The house of Caleb.—In the original Kalibi, i.e., of the house or family of Caleb. Thus the word is read in the Hebrew Bible. There is, however, an alternative reading—K’libi—with different vowel-points in the written text, which would be read “according to his heart.” Josephus, the LXX., and the Arabic and Syriac Versions understand it as derived from kelev, a dog, and render—“and he was a cynical man” (that is, “one of a dog-like character”—anthrōpos keunikos). The Chaldee “e domo Caleb,” and Vulgate “de genero Caleb,” follow the text which is read in the Hebrew Bible, and translated in our version, “of the house of Caleb,” which seems, on the whole, the preferable and most likely meaning.1 Samuel 25:3. The name of his wife was Abigail — That is, the joy of his father; yet he could not promise himself much joy of her, when he married her to such a husband; it seems, by inquiring (no unfrequent thing) more after his wealth than after his wisdom. He was of the house of Caleb — This is added to aggravate his crime, that he was a degenerate branch of that noble stock of Caleb, and consequently of the tribe of Judah, as David was.
and the name of his wife Abigail; which signifies "my father's joy", he delighting in her for her wit and beauty, as follows:
and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance; she was not only of a good understanding in things natural, civil, and domestic, but in things spiritual, as her speech to David shows, and which, with her external form, completed her character, and greatly recommended her; which is the character Aelianus (u) gives of Aspasia, wise and fair:
but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; morose and ill natured in the temper and disposition of his mind, and wicked in his conversation, and fraudulent and oppressive in his dealings with men:
and he was of the house of Caleb; or he was a Calebite (w), a descendant of that great and good man Caleb the son of Jephunneh; which was an aggravation of his wickedness, that he should be the degenerate plant of such a noble vine: some interpret it, he was as his heart, as his heart was bad, so was he; some men, their outside is better than their inside; but this man was no hypocrite, he was as bad outwardly as he was inwardly: the word "Caleb" sometimes signifies a dog; hence the Septuagint version renders it, a doggish man, a cynic; and to the same purpose are the Syriac and Arabic versions; and so some Jewish writers interpret it; but the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, supply it as we do, that he was of the house or family of Caleb, and so of the tribe of Judah, as David was.Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. Nabal] The name means Fool. It is the word used in Psalm 14:1; Proverbs 30:22; &c.
churlish] Lit. hard. Cp. Matthew 25:24, where the same Greek word is used as in the Sept. here (σκληρός).
of the house of Caleb] Who settled at Hebron (Joshua 15:13). Cp. “the south of Caleb” in ch. 1 Samuel 30:14. The Sept. rendering “dog-like” (κυνικός), referring to his character, is not to be followed.Verse 3. - Nabal, the word rendered fool in Psalm 14:1; literally, "flat," "vapid." Abigail means "one who is the cause (father) of joy," i.e. one who gives joy. She, with her bright understanding and beautiful person (the Hebrew word takes in much more than the countenance; see 1 Samuel 16:18, where it is rendered comely person), is in contrast with the coarse, churlish man who was her husband. His name was either one which he had acquired by his conduct, or if given him by his parents shows that they were clownish people. He was of the house of Caleb. The written text has, "he was according to his heart," celibbo, i.e. a self-willed man, or one whose rude exterior answered to his inner nature; but there are linguistic difficulties in the way of this reading, and the Kri is probably right in correcting calibbi, a Calebite, a descendant of Caleb, who had large possessions assigned him in the neighbourhood of Hebron (Joshua 15:13-19), which is only ten miles northwest of Carmel. The versions support the Kri, though the Syriac and Septuagint render doglike - one who, like a dog, though he has plenty, yet grudges others. The meaning of the name Caleb is literally "a dog."
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