Friday, September 2, 2011

Food Comes Before Beauty

Today's passage: I Samuel 25:18-44
     How can a woman get her way?  Look to some of the women in the Bible and I can get my answer.  When I read about how Abigail persuaded David not to harm her foolish husband, Nabal, and her home, it seems like she uses the exact same methods that every woman throughout history has used.  Years later, when Esther is confronted with the extermination of her people, she must petition her royal husband.  I have to wonder if she looked to Abigail's example, because she follows the same process.
     Abigail was a beautiful woman.  Esther was a beautiful woman as well.  They both could have depended on those things to achieve what they wanted, as many women in the past and present have done.  But they did not rest on their beauty.  They did not depend on it to take them places or get them things.  I imagine it did come in handy from time to time, but it wasn't their chief means of achieving something.  I can tell that Abigail does not expect her beauty to deliver her because she does something very wise.  She sends food to David, and she sends it out before she arrives.  She lets David see the food first so that he will know his request to Nabal is now being honored.  Food is the way to a man's heart, after all, isn't it?  This will allow David's anger to be quenched a little before she proceeds with her request.  Esther did nearly the same thing.  Twice she invited her husband to banquets before she made her petition.  The food must have been really good because in both cases, the men succumb.
     When Abigail dismounts from her donkey, David has already been somewhat appeased, and he is more willing to hear what this woman (beautiful one too) has to say.  I'm not saying that Abigail did not put on her best frock and coifed her hair in its most becoming way.  If that did not sway David, it might go a long way with the 600 men who were with them.  If David was not impressed with her beauty, I can see that maybe some of his men might stay his hand, on that fact alone.  Esther too made herself as presentable as she could.  Abigail could have gone in sheep shearing clothes, sweat dripping from her forehead, but she was trying to convince this future king to spare her family.  Wouldn't she want to look as pleasing as she could so that he would listen to her request?  Some might say, well she was being flirtatious.  Not at all.  I would hope that if you went for a job interview, you would try to look your most presentable whether the interviewer was a man or woman.  We want to put our best foot forward when we are trying to impress.  Abigail did the same.  She had not met David.  She could not impress him with her reasoning and discernment yet because they had never talked together.  He was impressed with how she looked and so he let her talk. 
Abigail Pleads with David
Public Domain--source and illustrator unknown
     Abigail does what many women have done.  She flatters David.  Flattery goes a long way with men.  I don't think wives use it enough.  But there is a key difference in how Abigail uses it and how many other women use it.  Her flattery was genuine.  She paid David compliments, and they were true.  Was she trying to win him over?  Of course she was, but she knew he would see through false compliments.  She also imparts a bit of wisdom, but makes him think it is his idea.  "Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal."
     Should wives employ this device when speaking with their husbands about something important?  Why not?  Didn't God put it in the Bible to show how a woman facing certain death was able to change a man's heart.  Didn't she do it in a Godly fashion?  God made men and women differently.  We think differently.  By meeting David's hunger needs, appealing to his masculinity through his ego, Abigail was able to divert the death of her household.  Why shouldn't wives make their husbands an excellent dinner, get dolled up and compliment her husband on all of his fine qualities, before asking him to do something?  Is it better to make him get his own dinner, and nag at him about how he didn't take the trash out again?  I think the first way is much more pleasant, and besides, if he is about to make a really bad decision, wouldn't he more likely take our advice when he is in a good temper?  David was about to make a very bad decision, even though it seemed like a good one at the time.  Abigail's husband had already made a very bad decision, which kind of makes me wonder why she didn't use this process with her own husband, Nabal, to try and change his mind.  Maybe she felt it would be too late and couldn't count on his foolish nature to change in time to stave off the wrath that would be coming from David.  So she chose to search out the man who had been more reasonable in the past.  If my husband is about to make what I consider a very foolish decision, I might do well to follow Abigail's procedures.  Again, not to manipulate, to communicate.  When my husband's belly is full, when I've told him how much I love him, what a good provider he is, how much we appreciate his hard work (all true statements, by the way) wouldn't that put him in a better humor to listen to advice?  Wouldn't that make the conversation go better even if he still chooses to do it his way?  Abigail was a wise woman.
     I'm thinking I might have to have that conversation with my husband tonight about that matter we have put off discussing.  What are his favorite foods again?


  1. I really like this blog. This is a great tip for new wives as well as a friendly reminder for the others.

  2. Thank you, Jennifer. I am so glad it can be a blessing to you. Thank you for reading.


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