Smith's Bible Dictionary 
Na'bal. (Fool). Nabal was a sheepmaster on the confines of Judea and the desert, in that part of the country, which bore from its great conqueror, the name of Caleb. 1 Samuel 25:3; 1 Samuel 30:14. (B.C. about 1055). His residence was on the southern Carmel, in the pasture lands of Maon. His wealth, as might be expected from his abode, consisted chiefly of sheep and goats. It was the custom of the shepherds to drive them, into the wild downs on the slopes of Carmel; and it was whilst they were on one of these pastoral excursions, that they met a band of outlaws, who showed them unexpected kindness, protecting them by day and night, and never themselves committing any depredations. 1 Samuel 25:7; 1 Samuel 25:15; 1 Samuel 25:18.
Once a year, there was a grand banquet on Carmel, "like the feast of a king." 1 Samuel 25:2; 1 Samuel 25:4; 1 Samuel 25:36. It was on one of these occasions, that ten youths from the chief of the freebooters, approached Nabal, enumerated the services of their master, and ended by claiming, with a mixture of courtesy and defiance characteristic of the East, "whatsoever cometh into thy hand for thy servants and for thy son David." The great sheepmaster peremptorily refused.
The moment that the messengers were gone, the shepherds that stood by, perceived the danger that their master and themselves would incur. To Nabal himself , they durst not speak. 1 Samuel 25:17. To his wife, as to the good angel of the household, one of the shepherds told the state of affairs. She, with the offerings usual on such occasions, with her attendants running before her, rode down the hill toward David's encampment. David had already made the fatal vow of extermination. 1 Samuel 26:22.
At this moment, as it would seem, Abigail appeared, threw herself on her face before him, and poured forth her petition in language, which in both form and expression, almost assumes the tone of poetry. She returned with the news of David's recantation of his vow. Nabal was then at the height of his orgies and his wife dared not communicate to him either his danger or his escape. 1 Samuel 28:36. At break of day, she told him both. The stupid reveller was suddenly roused to a sense of that, which impended over him. "His heart died within him, and he be came as a stone." It was as if a stroke, or apoplexy, or paralysis had fallen upon him. Ten days, he lingered, "and the Lord smote Nabal, and he died." 1 Samuel 25:37-38.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
NABAL. A wealthy but churlish sheep-owner ‘in Maon, whose business was in Carmel’ ( 1 Samuel 25:2 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ). David, while living as an outlaw and freebooter, demanded at Nabal’s sheepshearing his reward for defending his flocks ( 1 Samuel 25:5 ff.). Nabal, inflamed with wine, returned an insolent answer, and David was prevented from wreaking terrible vengeance only by the timely arrival of Abigail, Nabal’s wife, with large gifts and abundant flattery. The word Nabal means ‘fool,’ and Abigail, with wifely candour, says to David, ‘Fool is his name and fool is he.’ The next day Nabal was informed of all that had happened, and the shock of discovery brought on an apoplectic seizure, which caused his death. Abigail then became David’s wife.
W. F. Boyd.
Morrish Bible Dictionary 
A wealthy man in Maon, husband of Abigail. His shepherds and his flocks had been protected in the wilderness by David and his followers. David, therefore, during the sheep-shearing festivities, sent to greet Nabal and to ask for a share of his abundance anything he liked to send him. Nabal, however, railed on David's men and refused to give them anything. He had no faith to discern in David the anointed of Jehovah. Abigail hastened to appease David's wrath. David accepted her person and her present, and left Nabal in God's hands. The next morning, when Abigail told him the danger he had escaped, his heart died within him. After about ten days God smote him and he died. Thus did God avenge the insult given to His servant when in rejection, and saved him from avenging himself. 1 Samuel 25:3-39 .
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
Foolish, a descendant of Caleb, owner of a large property in lands and flocks, at Maon and Carmel in the south of Judah. He was under great obligations to David, for protecting him from the robbers of the desert; and yet, in the very hour most suggestive of a grateful generosity, he churlishly refused David's modest request of provisions for his needy troop. Indignant at this ingratitude and inhospitality, David was soon on his way to put him and his men to the sword. Happily, the discreet intervention of Abigail averted this catastrophe. Ten days after, the lord smote him, and he died, 1 Samuel 25:1-43 . See Abigail .
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Nabal ( Nâ'Bal ), Foolish, Impious. A man of the house of Caleb, who had large possessions in Carmel. He treated David very churlishly, and was saved from the disastrous consequence by his wife Abigail, whom David married after Nabal's death. 1 Samuel 25:1-44; 1 Samuel 27:8; 1 Samuel 30:5; 2 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 3:3.
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
1 Samuel 25 1 Samuel 25:10,11
On her return she found her husband incapable from drunkenness of understanding the state of matters, and not till the following day did she explain to him what had happened. He was stunned by a sense of the danger to which his conduct had exposed him. "His heart died within him, and he became as a stone." and about ten days after "the Lord smote Nabal that he died" ( 1 Samuel 25:37,38 ). Not long after David married Abigail (q.v.).
Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
Of Maon. (See Maon .); 1 Samuel 25, compare 1 Samuel 23:25. (See David .) A sheepmaster on the border of Judah which took its name from the great "Caleb" (3) ( 1 Samuel 30:14), next the wilderness. His history, as also that of Boaz, Barzillai, Naboth, is a sample of a Jew's private life ( 1 Samuel 25:2; 1 Samuel 25:4; 1 Samuel 25:36).
Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types 
1 Samuel 25:25 (c) We take this to be a type of the foolish man who is so in love with his sins that he has no time for GOD's message, GOD's messenger, nor GOD's ministry.
Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary 
The Carmelite. We have his history, 1 Samuel 25:1-44. His name is very expressive, and signifies fool.
Holman Bible Dictionary 
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
(Heb. Nabal', נָבָל , Foolish, as often [comp. 1 Samuel 25:25]; Sept. Ναβάλ ), one of the characters introduced to us in David's wanderings. apparently to give one detailed glimpse of his whole state of life at that time (1 Samuel 25). Nabal himself is remnarkable as one of the few examples given to us of the private life of a Jewish citizen. His history, doubtless, might be paralleled by that of many a well-to-do Oriental of' later times. He was a descendant of Caleb, who dwelt at Maon (probably the modern Maiin, seven miles S.E. of Hebron), when David, already anointed to be king of Israel, was with his adherents on the southern borders of Palestine. B.C. 1060. Some, however, understand that he was simply a resident of that part of the country which bore from its great conqueror the name of Caleb ( 1 Samuel 25:3; 1 Samuel 30:14; so the Vulgate, A.V., and Ewal(l). He was himself, according to Josephus (Ant. 6:13, 6), a Ziphite, with his residence at Emmaus, a place of that name not otherwise known, on the southern Carmel, in the pasture lands of Maon. (In the Sept. of 25:4 he is called "the Carmelite," and the Sept. reads "Maon" for "Paran" in 25:1.) With a usage of the word which reminds us of the like adaptation of similar words in modern times, he, like Barzillai, is styled "very great," evidently from his wealth. His wealth, as might be expected from his abode, consisted chiefly of sheep and goats, which, as in Palestine at the time of the Christian aera (1 Samuel 25) and at the present day, fed together.
The tradition preserved in this case the exact number of each- 3000 of the former, 1000 of the latter. It was the custom of the shepherds to drive them into the wild downs on the slopes of Carmel, in Judah, which lay in the lowlands to the south, and corresponded very much to the territory of the Jehbaln Arabs. These Arabs have the same sort of possessions which the sacred narrative ascribes to Nabal; that is, numerous flocks of sheep and goats, but few cows (Robinson, Res. 2:176-180; Wilson, Lands of the Bible, 2:710). It was while the shepherds were on one of these pastoral excursions that they met a band of outlaws, ho- showed them unexpeted kindness, protecting them by day and night, and never themselves committing any depredations ( 1 Samuel 25:7; 1 Samuel 25:15-16). Such protection is generally so highly valued in the East that a suitable present to the protecting party is understood as a matter of course and in most instances the proprietor of the flocks is happy to bestow it cheerfully and liberally. Once a year there was a grand banquet on Carmel, when they brought back theiresheep from the wilderness for shearing — with eating and drinking "like the feast of a king" ( 1 Samuel 25:2; 1 Samuel 25:4; 1 Samuel 25:36). It was on one of these hilarious occasions — the harvest-seasons of the shepherd — that Nabal came across the path of the man to whom he owes his place in history. Ten youths were seen approaching the hill; in them the shepherds recognized the slaves or attendants of the chief of the freebooters who had defended them in the wilderness. To Nabal they were unknown.
They approached him with a triple salutation — enumerated the services of their master, and ended by claiming, with a mixture of courtesy and defiance characteristic of the East, "whatsoever cometh into thy hand for thy servants (the Sept. omits this — and has only the next words), and for Thy Son David." 'The great sheepmaster was not disposed to recognise this unexpected parental relation. le was a man notorious for his obstinacy (such seems the meaning of the word translated "churlish") and for his general low conduct ( 1 Samuel 25:3, "evil in his doings;" 1 Samuel 25:17, "a man of Belial"). Josephus and the Sept., taking the word Caleb not as a proper name, but as a quality (to which the context certainly lends itself), add "of a disposition like a dog" — cynical — Κυνικός . On hearing the demand of the ten petitioners, he sprang up (Sept. Ἀνεπήδησε ), and broke out into fury, "Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse?" — "What runaway slaves are these to interfere with my own domestic arrangements?" ( 1 Samuel 25:10-11). The moment that the messengers had gone, the shepherds that stood by perceived the danger which their master and themselves would incur. To Nabal himself they dared not speak ( 1 Samuel 25:17). But the sacred writer, with a tinge of the sentiment which such a contrast always suggests, proceeds to describe that this brutal ruffian was married to a wife as beautiful and as wise as he was the reverse ( 1 Samuel 25:3). (See Abigail).
To her, as to the good angel of the household, one of the shepherds told the state of affairs. She, with the offerings usual on such occasions ( 1 Samuel 25:18; comp. 1 Samuel 30:11; 2 Samuel 16:1; 1 Chronicles 12:40), loaded the asses of Nabal's large establishment — herself mounted one of them, and, with her attendants running before her, rode down the hill towards David's encampment. David had already made the fatal vow of extermination, couched in the usual terms, of destroying the household of Nabal, so as not even to leave a dog behind ( 1 Samuel 25:22). In this, unquestionably, he erred; for whatever David might, on the score of reciprocity of kindness, have naturally thought himself justified in asking, he yet had no right to exact it as a debt, and still less to resent the refusal of it as an injury. (See Hamberger, Jusjuraam. Davidis, Jen. 1723.)
But acting in the heat of passion, David did not allow his determination to slumber; he ordered four hundred of his men to gird on their armor and go with him to smite Nabal and 'his house with the edge of the sword. At this moment, as it would seem, Abigail appeared, threw herself on her face before him, and poured forth her petition in language which both in form and expression almost assumes the tone of poetry — "Let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid." Her main argument rests on the description of her husband's character, which she draws with that mixture of playfulness and seriousness which above all things turns away wrath. His name here came in to his rescue. "As his name is, so is he: Nabal [fool] is his name, and folly is with him" ( 1 Samuel 25:25; see also 1 Samuel 25:26).
Furthermore, by the wise counsel she contrived to introduce into her address respecting the proper way of meeting opposition and bearing hardship in the Lord's cause, and how much better it was to leave the work of retribution to him than to take it prematurely into one's own hand, she convinced David of sin in resolving to avenge himself on Nabal. Better thoughts now prevailed with him, and he said, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me; and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood." She returned with the news of David's recantation of his vow. Nabal was then at the height of his orgies. Like the revellers of Palestine in the later times of the monarchy, he had drunk to excess, and his wife dared not communicate to him either his danger or his escape ( 1 Samuel 25:36).
At break of day she told him both. The stupid reveller was suddenly roused to a sense of that which impended over him. "His heart died within him, and [he] became as a stone." It was as if a stroke of apoplexy or paralysis had fallen upon him. This seems, however, to have been only a temporary recoil of feeling, from which he again recovered yet not to any proper sense of his past misconduct or true amendment of life. For, as one still amenable to the just displeasure of Heaven, it is said of him that " about ten days after, the Lord smote Nabal, that he died" ( 1 Samuel 25:37-38). The shock seems to have been the exciting cause of a malady that carried him off about ten days after. (See Wedel, Exercit. Msed. Dec. 9:10 sq.)
The suspicions entertained by theologians of the last century that there was a conspiracy between David and Abigail to make afwa with Nabal for their own alliance (see Winer, s.v. Nabal), have entirely given place to the better spirit of modern criticism; and it is one of the many proofs of the reverential as well as truthfil appreciation of the sacred narrative now inaugurated in Germany, that Ewald enters fully into the feeling of the narrator, and closes his summary of Nabal's death with the reflection that "it was not without justice regarded as a divine judgment." According to the (not very probable) Sept. version of 2 Samuel 3:33, the recollection of Nabal's death lived afterwards in David's memory to point the contrast of the death of Abner — Died Abner as Nabal died?" Davlid, not long after, evinced the favorable impression which the good-sense and comeliness of Abigail had made upon him by making her his wife. See Ewald, Isr. Gesch. 2:556; Stackhouse, Bibl. Hist. 4:178 sq.; Niemeyer, Charakt. 4:153 sq.; G.L. Dathe, De famae vindicta Dav. ergo Nlabalem (Leips. 1723); Schottgen, Moralische Gedanken uber D. und N. (F. ad O. 1714). (See David).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
nā ´- bal ( נבל , nābhāl , "foolish" or "wicked"; Ναβάλ , Nabál ): A wealthy man of Maon in the highlands of Judah, not far from Hebron, owner of many sheep and goats which he pastured around Carmel in the same district. He was a churlish and wicked man ( 1 Samuel 25:2 ff). When David was a fugitive from Saul, he and his followers sought refuge in the wilderness of Paran, near the possessions of Nabal, and protected the latter's flocks and herds from the marauding Bedouin. David felt that some compensation was due him for such services ( Ezra 10:15 and Ezra 10:25 ), so, at the time of sheep-shearing - an occasion of great festivities among sheep masters - he sent 10 of his young men to Nabal to solicit gifts of food for himself and his small band of warriors. Nabal not only refused any assistance or presents, but sent back insulting words to David, whereupon the latter, becoming very angry, determined upon the extermination of Nabal and his household and dispatched 400 men to execute his purpose. Abigail, Nabal's wife, a woman of wonderful sagacity and prudence as well as of great beauty, having learned of her husband's conduct and of David's intentions, hurriedly proceeded, with a large supply of provisions, dainties and wine, to meet David and to apologize for her husband's unkind words and niggardliness, and thus succeeded in thwarting the bloody and revengeful plans of Israel's future king. Upon her return home she found her husband in the midst of a great celebration ("like the feast of a king"), drunken with wine, too intoxicated to realize his narrow escape from the sword of David. On the following morning, when sober, having heard the report of his wife, he was so overcome with fear that he never recovered from the shock, but died 10 days later ( Ezra 10:36-38 ). When David heard about his death, he sent for Abigail, who soon afterward became one of his wives.
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
Na´bal (stupid, foolish), a descendant of Caleb, dwelling at Maon, and having large possessions near Carmel of Judah, in the same neighborhood. He had abundant wealth, being the possessor of 3000 sheep and 1000 goats, but his churlish and harsh character had not been softened by the prosperity with which he had been favored. He was holding a great sheep-shearing of his numerous flocks at Carmel—which was a season of great festivity among the sheep-masters of Israel—when David sent some of his young men to request a small supply of provisions, of which his troop was in great need. He was warranted in asking this, as, while Nabal's flocks were out in the desert, the presence of David and his men in the neighborhood had effectually protected them from the depredations of the Arabs. But Nabal refused this application, with harsh words, reflecting coarsely upon David and his troop as a set of worthless runagates. On learning this, David was highly incensed, and set out with his band to avenge the insult. But his intention was anticipated and averted by Nabal's wife Abigail who met him on the road with a most acceptable supply of provisions, and, by her consummate tact and good sense, mollified his anger, and, indeed, caused him in the end to feel thankful that he had been prevented from the bloodshed which would have ensued. When Nabal, after recovering from the drunkenness of the feast, was informed of these circumstances, he was struck with such intense terror at the danger to which he had been exposed, that 'his heart died within him, and he became as a stone;' which seems to have been the exciting cause of a malady that carried him off about ten days after. David, not long after, evinced the favorable impression which the good sense and comeliness of Abigail had made upon him, by making her his wife, B.C. 1061 (1 Samuel 25) [ABIGAIL].
- Nabal from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- Nabal from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Nabal from Morrish Bible Dictionary
- Nabal from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- Nabal from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- Nabal from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- Nabal from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- Nabal from Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types
- Nabal from Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary
- Nabal from Holman Bible Dictionary
- Nabal from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- Nabal from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- Nabal from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature