When David asks the wealthy Nabal for food, the rich man refuses but Abigail circumvents her husband’s haughtiness. Nabal’s foolishness fits his name (1 Sam 25:25), and his behavior recalls the curses in Deuteronomy. By contrast, Abigail’s acceptance of David highlights her hospitality. Along with her admirable actions, she also gives David a prophetic pep talk. Abigail’s address recalls David’s victory over the Philistine Goliath and also anticipates Saul’s demise at the hands of the Philistines.
Abigail tells David, “A person has risen (קום; qum) to pursue (רדף; radaph) you and to seek your life. But the life of my lord will be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord your God, and the lives of your enemies [God] will sling (קלע; qala) as from the middle of the sling (קלע; qela)” (1 Sam 25:29). Thus far, the person “pursuing” (רדף; radaph) David has been Saul (cf. 1 Sam 23:25-28; 24:14). However, Abigail also evokes Goliath, who “rose (קום; qum)” against David (1 Sam 17:48). In response, the young shepherd “took out a stone, slung [it] (קלע; qala), and struck the Philistine… [and] David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling (קלע; qela)” (17:49-50). Thus, when Abigail mentions the enemies who rise against David being slung away as with a sling, she both alludes to Saul and recalls Goliath the Philistine.
Abigail’s language also presages Saul asking Samuel about an impending Philistine threat. Abigail tells David that he will be “bound (צרר; tsarar) in the bundle (צרור; tseror) of life with the Lord” who will defeat his “enemy (איב; oyev)” (25:29). The Hebrew word for “bound” (צרר; tsarar) can also mean “distressed,” as is the case only three chapters later. When Saul visits Endor and conjures Samuel from the realm of the dead, Saul tells the deceased prophet, “I am very distressed (צרר; tsarar) for the Philistines make war against me” (1 Sam 28:14). In response, Samuel tells Saul, “The Lord has departed from you and become your enemy (ער; ar)” (28:16). Abigail’s words to David foreshadow this later conversation, though her assertion that David will be safely “bound” (צרר) turns into Saul being “distressed” (צרר) at God’s silence. Saul’s concern over divine absence comes to fruition when he dies battling the Philistines (see 1 Samuel 31). In retrospect, Abigail’s declaration is a perfectly symmetrical prophecy: just as God helped David defeat the Philistines with a sling, the Lord will keep David lovingly bound while his distressed enemy, Saul, is slung into the hands of the Philistines!