Thursday, March 19, 2009

Abigail - a fool's wife, a king's bride

Abigail and her husband had enjoyed David’s company. It had worked to their advantage that David was “on the outs” with King Saul. The fact that David and his men had set up camp near their fields meant that nobody would bother them. It was like having a big brother right next door. Yes, David’s exile from Saul’s presence meant only good things for Abigail and her husband.

But later, when David realizes that he will be passing their way again, David sends a request for provisions. Abigail’s husband blows him off.

A servant informs Abigail of her husband’s social faux pas. He’ll kill us all, I’m telling you. And your husband is a real jerk. He won’t listen to reason.

Abigail doesn’t join in the husband-bashing, but she does take matters into her own hands. She prepares a feast and delivers it herself. When she meets the traveling band of brothers, she gets off her horse and bows to the ground. She begs forgiveness and makes amends for her husband’s ingratitude.

And David accepts her offering. He promises Abigail that he will not retaliate, though he had surely planned to cut down every male, young and old, in her household.

She, alone, had turned back his wrath.

Days later, God shows that he isn’t persuaded so easily. Let the husband repent and be contrite for himself. When that doesn’t happen, God strikes down Abigail’s husband.

Enter the prince (or rather the king-to-be) on a white horse.

When David hears of Abigail’s plight, he sends her a message. Come to me. I will be your husband. I will take care of you, Abigail.

And so she does.

Let’s see. A woman who belongs to a group of people who refuse to acknowledge the one who preserved and protected them (we see this throughout the history of ancient Israel). A woman who stands alone to make amends. A woman who intercedes, runs to meet the King-to-be, and begs for mercy. A woman who rescues the entire household, except the one who holds stubbornly to his errors.

A woman who is plucked out of the quagmire and made the Bride.

Yes, even Abigail is a prefigurement of Our Lady.


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