Abigail is a woman I want to meet sometime. Her appearance in Scripture is somewhat unlikely and certainly unusual. But she was a woman of great wisdom and had good understanding of spiritual issues. You can read the entire account in 1 Samuel 25.
What happened was that David’s men, warriors, had been providing security for the shepherds of one wealthy man named Nabal. One day these warriors were lacking food, so they requested some food from Nabal. He rejected their request.
When David, not yet king, heard about the rejection, he was furious. He knew how to deal with such a response. He called his men together. They would go and kill all the males in the household of Nabal! And they would have, except for Abigail.
When Abigail, Nabal’s wife, heard about this imminent threat, she put together a significant amount of food and went to meet David. Not only would she meet the need of hunger, but she would persuade David not to carry out this vengeance.
When she met David and his men, she delivered her message. Then she spoke of how the LORD would bless David for doing right. And that brings us to our verse. It is 1 Samuel 25:29 in the English Standard Version: “If men rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living in the care of the LORD your God. And the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling.” It was “bound in the bundle of the living” that caught my attention. A number of Bible translations are similar, and the paraphrases which try to capture the thought instead of translating more or less word-for-word tend to make it less memorable. The alliteration is also helpful.
She intimated that David should not take vengeance and that the LORD would fight his battles. He enjoyed the blessing of being “bound in the bundle of the living.” The words “bound,” “bundle,” and “living” appear elsewhere in the Bible, but this is the only place where they are together forming one phrase. It is a unique expression.
It is an expression that accents the LORD’s care for His own which is stated many other places in other ways. But what a neat and meaningful phrase! The LORD our God cares for His own and keeps them together as in a bundle. It is also the bundle of the living, which is used throughout the Bible to describe the people who know God. They live abundantly, and, as Jesus said in John 11, they live even if they die. Their existence does not end here on earth, but they are promised a joyful future with Jesus Christ for eternity.
Abigail didn’t leave it hanging there--she also gave the other side. The contrast to David living in God’s care is his enemies who are also God’s enemies. They are portrayed as in a sling, but you know that a sling is not a holding mechanism but rather a tool for getting rid of what’s inside. The verb and noun both rendered “sling” in our verse have the same root in Hebrew. And not only is it impossible to bunch them together in a sling, the LORD will actually use that sling to get rid of them, to send them far from His presence. What a contrast!
As throughout the Bible, there are only two kinds of people. So as a person reads this, one should think about the group that includes me. Am I included in the bundle of the living ones (plural in Hebrew), or am I part of those being expelled from the sling? Well, it depends on my response to the LORD God, revealed in the New Testament fully by the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are in somewhat unsettling times. I am planning a trip right now, and I have typically loved to do that. But this year there have been more twists and turns, and we know of people close to us in one way or another who are unable to take important trips because of governmental restrictions. But even as I consider that, it is a true comfort to be ‘bound in the bundle of the living.’
I hope you can say the same.