Abby and the Fugitives

Submitted into Contest #241 in response to: Start your story with an unexpected betrayal.... view prompt


Creative Nonfiction Christian Adventure

Abagail sought solace in her sitting room and worried over the latest servant foible. Likely, her husband, Nabal, would hear about it, overreact, and explode. She sighed and thought about the many dramas she had averted by intervening in the nick of time. Her husband behaved like a wild bull in a field of wheat, for the most part. He had never suspected any betrayal on her part to date.

She asked one of her maids to give the servant a signed letter, which provided an out. Permission for him to immediately ‘visit a sick mother’ in his hometown three furlongs away. She allowed two months leave, during which time his mother could recover at her leisure and be heartened by the presence of her son. She also had a gift prepared for him to give to her.

Hopefully, her husband, Nabal, would cool down and forget what had happened. With luck, he may not check the validity of the mission. She didn’t believe in lying, but the document would only be used if the servant needed to prove permission to leave.

How could she have ended up married to such a thoughtless and abusive man? Her parents had been in awe of his wealth and abundant material possessions. They wanted their beautiful and capable daughter to secure a great marriage. Despite the age difference, Nabal had fallen in love with her and had taken her as a wife. But hers is no beauty and the beast story with a happy ending. Young Abigail soon found out that Nabal loved himself and the regard of others much more. He basked in the prestige of possessing such a kind and comely consort. Abagail became another acquisition to adorn his life.

The door to her private rooms opened, and a maid announced she had a visitor, one of the estate’s servants. Abagail permitted his entry.

He bowed low until allowed to stand. Sweat trickled from his brow as he puffed laboriously.

“Relax, please. Whatever has happened?” she said.

“I have come in haste due to a disaster which will befall us.”

“A disaster? Pray, what has you so concerned?”

“David, the one chosen to be the next king of Israel, who is being pursued by King Saul, sent ten visitors, in his name, from the wilderness. They wished our master and all his household good health and long life. Our master screamed abuse at them. David’s men were very good to us while they were in Carmel. We trusted them, and while we cared for the master’s flocks, they acted as a wall around us, night and day, protecting us from danger. What will you do? Destruction will befall us due to our master’s insults and refusal to provide some extra provisions for David and his men. The messengers left in a great rage. We do not want David’s hoard of skillful fighters to return and wage war against us. We will all surely die.”

Abagail frowned. “We have so much spare to help others, especially those who help us.”

She pondered on the right course of action. If she simply went and apologized on Nabal’s behalf, it would seem like a last-minute plea to save lives and may still lead to the death of some. It may not diffuse David’s anger. What if she presented the finest food to appease them and told the truth? David may extend mercy. It meant an act of deception and disloyalty on her part towards her husband. What did they have to gain? Their lives.

“Make haste,” she said to the servant. “Prepare five sheep for roasting. We will give them fresh meat, roasted grain, cakes of raisins, and cakes of pressed figs . . . there is no time to bake bread.”

Abagail oversaw the food packing onto the donkeys - the mutton, about 29 liters of roasted grain, 100 cakes of raisins, and 200 cakes of pressed figs. Finally, she removed her necklaces and bracelets and draped a plain headdress over her long black hair. She assigned servants to guide the beasts of burden and travel ahead of her while she sat on her own donkey. She tingled with apprehension as they set off into the wilderness, on either an adventure or their doom. The remaining maids and aides knew to keep her treachery a secret from their master. This is how he would view her prudent actions.

As she neared their campsite, she overheard the men and David down-crying Nabal’s perfidious behavior in their hour of need and threatening what would befall him and his entire household. ‘Enemies,’ he called them.

When Abagail caught sight of David and his hundreds of men, all girded with swords, she realized their fears had a basis in reality. Her heart pounded as she slid off her donkey and hurried over to him. She poured herself down before him and bowed her head.

“My lord, let the blame be on me. Please let me speak and listen to the words of your servant girl, Abagail. Please, ignore senseless and worthless Nabal. He is a fool, just like his name . . . I, your servant girl, did not see your young men whom you sent.” She raised her head and implored, “It is Jehovah your God who is holding you back from incurring blood guilt and from taking revenge. May your enemies and those seeking injury to my lord become like Nabal. Let the gift your servant girl has brought to you be given to the young men following you. Pardon my transgression . . . because my lord is fighting the wars of Jehovah and no evil has been found in you all your days . . . When Jehovah has done for my lord all the good things He has promised, and He appoints you as leader over Israel, you will have no remorse or regret in your heart for shedding innocent blood and for letting your hand take revenge. When good comes upon my lord, remember your servant girl.” She bowed again.

David looked down at the picture of humility before him. “Praise Jehovah, the God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me! Blessed be your good sense! May you be blessed for restraining me this day from incurring bloodguilt and from taking revenge with my own hands . . . If you had not come quickly to meet me by morning, there would not have remained a single male belonging to Nabal.”

He gratefully accepted the food she had brought them. “Go up in peace to your house. See, I have listened to you and will grant your request.”

Abagail rose and clasped her hands as she asked the servants to unload the provisions from the donkeys. She smiled at David and bowed her head again. “Thank you, my lord.”

He shook his head. “No. Thanks to you for your quick thinking and courage. Your wise words have been apples of gold in silver carvings. But for you, I would have committed a grave sin. I will never forget you.”

When she arrived home, she found her unwitting husband Nabal feasting like a king in his house. He invited her to join him. Due to his inebriated state, she chose not to kill his cheerful mood with her confession. He would likely fly into a rage.

She could barely sleep, wondering how to word what she had to say to him the following day.

What if he retaliated? Might he take it out on the servants?

“Please, God,” she said as she approached him.

He had a surly expression on his now sober face. “What do you want, Abby?”

Her eyes blazed. “Yesterday, you received guests but did not inform me so I could provide the customary hospitality.”

“Beggars is all they were. Outlaws against King Saul.”

“Even our God has turned his back on King Saul. Their leader, David, is anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next ruler. His men have done no harm and have assisted our shepherds.”

“What do I care about that?”

“Did you know that David and his hundreds of warriors vowed to avenge themselves for this slight? They intended to slaughter all in your household.” 

Nabal’s face became white, and he slumped motionless in his chair.

“I met him on his way here. His men all carried swords; their mission was to destroy you. The servants and I offered him more provisions than he expected, and I begged him to reconsider. You would never have extended mercy. But David, a finer man than you, listened and turned back from his cruel plan of annihilating you and all you own.”

Nabal looked at Abagail, speechless. His eyes screamed murder for her treachery. He remained motionless, like a man whose heart had stopped. Abagail instructed the servants to lay the master on his bed and tend to him.

For the first time in years, peace reigned across the entire estate. On the tenth day of Nabal suffering his paralysis, God struck him, and he died.

Abagail felt relief mixed with guilt. Had she been right in confronting Nabal with the truth? His last realization about her is that she had stabbed him in the back. But it is better for him to die alone than die with all of the innocent as well. She shuddered. His timely death prevented a reign of terror due to what she had done.

When David heard that Nabal had passed, he opened his mouth and stared. Justice had prevailed . . . “Jehovah has kept his servant from doing anything bad . . . and brought the badness of Nabal back on his own head! . . . Please send word to Abagail as I will take her as my wife.”

David’s servants approached Abagail at her Carmel residence and said, “David has sent us, as he wishes to make you his wife.”

Abagail did not invent an excuse for being in mourning. She had already expressed her uncharitable thoughts about Nabal to David. He had not forgotten her and had interpreted her plea to be remembered as a desire to be protected by him. Not only that, but he had already experienced this wise and generous woman’s backing and support. He wanted her to become part of his royal household—albeit a household of outlaws.

‘The right person will know your worth, and they won’t reject you or act like you’re not good enough for them.’

Abagail got up and bowed with her face to the ground. She knew her own worth but would never put herself above others. “Here is your slave as a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.”

She quickly rose and prepared her donkey to accompany the messengers to David, her future husband. Five of her female servants accompanied her.

Obviously, it’s not the end. Off Abagail headed on a new series of adventures.

Disclaimer. None of this story conflicts with the Biblical account or the culture these people lived in. Still, it has been written as a story about Abagail, a remarkable fellow human. It fills in extra details about what probably happened. Abagail is usually praised for her wise actions as this adventure unfolds. However, some may argue that she did wrong despite averting tragedy. She is also imagined as having secret ambitions and having romantic thoughts about someone other than her husband. Yet, she may have just admired David as a war hero. We can all learn something from reading about her brief appearance in written history. She helped a prominent ancestor of the then-future Messiah.

March 14, 2024 03:35

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Mary Bendickson
05:14 Mar 14, 2024

Nice filling in the gaps of a Bible story.


09:15 Mar 14, 2024

Thanks for reading, Mary.


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LeeAnn Hively
02:59 Mar 22, 2024

I was raised Pentecostal and left the church three decades ago for a myriad of reasons. Though my spiritual beliefs have become a lot less dogmatic, I still enjoy reading Biblical Fiction, and one of my favorite cinematic series is The Chosen because it's the only First Century series that treated everyone in it as human. Even Jesus has humanity, a sense humor, a feeling of being realistic and not just a painting with a halo. The people interact in the most realistic way I've ever seen in a historical piece. I say all this because I'd real...


11:25 Mar 22, 2024

I respect what you say though I don't see the Bible as fiction. I do not view Jesus as some gaunt individual with a halo either! I like to stick as closely to the Bible record as I can. Hence sticking closely to the dialogue in the Bible, except in modern English without thee's and thou's. This time the exception is the fictional example of a betrayal at the start. preventing a servant being punished harshly but using dishonesty. It's because the story didn't fit the prompt otherwise. But it added to Abagail's character, I felt. The prompt ...


LeeAnn Hively
15:06 Mar 22, 2024

Oh no, what I mean is there's a whole category called Biblical Fiction which are books written to expand characters in the Bible OR events shown through the eyes of random people not mentioned in the Bible, etc. I would never try to demean someone else's faith. I understood how you took the prompt. My prompt response had to do with aliens coming through portals lol. I prefer when the stories are creative and unexpected. I didn't mean to come across so harshly. It really wasn't my intention. It's just that I was excited to see speculative f...


19:59 Mar 22, 2024

Thank you so much Leanne. I did wonder where you were coming from. LOL I have written lots of fiction and time travel stuff. I carefully select the three subgenres so that readers don't read something they weren't expecting. I don't try to fool people by selecting nonfiction and then writing sci fi. Or funny and then it's a horror story. LOL I loved the Cowboys and Aliens movie. The title gave away that one, though. I'll try to wow you sometime. Winners circle. I think I am too true to my stories and their messages to ever win. I don't alwa...


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Kim Olson
00:21 Mar 21, 2024

I enjoyed this story very much. It made me want to dive into the Bible to see your inspiration.


03:00 Mar 21, 2024

Thanks for reading and commenting, Kim. Did you by chance forget to 'like'? LOL I do that too. I did another Bible Story called The Man Who Ran Away, earlier on. It is the story of Jonah.


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J. D. Lair
23:37 Mar 18, 2024

Is she the one that put the stake through the head? I liked the take on fleshing out a story from the Bible. I’ve thought about doing the same myself before. :)


07:27 Mar 19, 2024

Thanks for reading my story, J D Lair. I did another one several stories earlier on the story of Jonah. Called 'The Man Who Ran Away" Strictly speaking, anything before Matthew, Mark, Luke etc. isn't Christian as it is before his birth. But I mentioned the fact that Abagail helped an ancestor of Jesus Christ which makes it a Christian story, in a way. Many Bible characters fit the category of helping the nation of Usrael, and hence the ancestors of Jesus Christ, But, many don't. There are many individuals that were worthy of note through th...


J. D. Lair
04:31 Mar 20, 2024

That is correct! Thanks for clarifying. :)


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