Abigail (Hebrew: אֲבִיגָיִל) was the wife and widow of Nabal, a queen consort of King David of Israel, and the mother of David's second son Chileab.
David was in the vicinity of Mount Carmel, where the wealthy Nabal kept his flocks. David protected the area and Nabal's shepherds from harm. David sent messengers to Nabal in order to greet him, wish him well, and request supplies. David also had his messengers mention the protection David provided and to tell Nabal that Nabal's shepherds can vouch for David. Nabal, however, insulted David and his men, claiming not to know anything about David and suggesting that they were renegade slaves.
David's messengers reported back to David, and David ordered his men to draw their weapons and avenge their honor.
Saving the household
Meanwhile, one of Nabal's workers told Abigail what happened and vouched for David. Abigail then gathered supplies and brought them to David in order to save her household. She paid due respect to David, bowing and kneeling before him. She acknowledged David and his connection to God, acknowledged his husband's foolishness, and begged David for mercy and forgiveness.
My lord, let the blame and guilt be on me alone. And please let your maidservant speak to you, and listen to the words of your maidservant. Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal (fool) is his name and foolishness (stupidity) is with him; but I your maidservant did not see my lord’s young men whom you sent.
So now, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as your soul lives, since the Lord has prevented you from shedding blood, and from avenging yourself by your own hand, now then let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord, be as [self-destructive as] Nabal. Now this gift, which your maidservant has brought my lord, let it be given to the young men who accompany and follow my lord. Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the Lord will certainly make my lord a secure and enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord, and evil will not be found in you all your days. Should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord will be bound in the [precious] bundle of the living with the Lord your God; but the lives of your enemies—those He will hurl out as from the center of a sling. And it will happen when the Lord does for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken (promised) concerning you, and appoints you ruler over Israel, that this [incident] will not cause grief or [bring] a troubled conscience to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the Lord deals well with my lord, then remember [with favor] your maidservant.— 1 Samuel 25:24– 25:31 (AMP)
This convinced David to not seek retribution. David then thanked Abigail and asked God to bless her.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me this day. And blessed be your discretion and discernment, and blessed be you, who has kept me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself by my own hand. Nevertheless, as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has prevented me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, most certainly by the morning light there would not have been left to Nabal so much as one male.— 1 Samuel 25:31–25:34 (AMP)
Abigail returned home. Nabal was drunk after feasting "like […] a king", so Abigail waited until the morning to tell him what happened. When Abigail told him what happened, Nabal became paralyzed and lame (a footnote within the Amplified Bible suggests that Nabal suffered a stroke). God then killed him ten days later.
After learning of Nabal's death, David proposed a marriage between Abigail and himself. Abigail agreed to the proposal.
Behold, your maidservant is [ready to be] a maid to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.— 1 Samuel 25:41 (AMP)
And they married.
Capture and rescue
David re-entered the services of Achish, the Philistine King of Gath and was granted the city of Ziklag. Although Achish trusted David, his commanders did not, so Achish had David retire from his services.
David returned to Ziklag to find that it had been sacked by the Amalekites. The Amalekites had taken the women and children of the city, including David's two wives, Abigail and Ahinoam, captive. David and his men cried out and wept.
David asked God for guidance, and God commanded David to pursue them and assured David that they would overtake the raiders in time and rescue the captives. David found the raiders with the aid of an Egyptian slave that the Amalekites had abandoned and left for dead. David attacked and defeated the raiders and recovered Abigail and Ahinoam, along with the other captives and loot.
After King Saul's death, God commanded David to go to Hebron, and David was anointed the King of Judah. While David reigned in Hebron, Abigail gave birth to David's second son Chileab.