Two fools face David’s wrath in today’s reading – one a traditional fool, the other a self-proclaimed fool.
Nabal refuses to meet David’s kindness with kindness of his own. Instead, he sees only the financial cost of feeding and caring for an army, small thought it may be, and so refuses. His wife Abigail becomes the hero of this story by showing proper hospitality to David and his men. Because of his disrespect and foolishness, Nabal dies, apparently from fear. Because of her honor and obedience to the law which requires hospitality to strangers as well as friends, Abigail not only lives, and not only doesn’t become a widow bound to live only by the kindness of others, but she becomes the wife of the future king.
Saul, the second fool of this story by his own proclamation (v. 21), is a fool because he continues to hunt for David, simply because David has a better reputation than he does. We know that David is the newly anointed king and that, while Saul was anointed with oil, the anointing that matters, the Holy Spirit, has left him. But Saul only knows that people like David more, and so he sets out once again to kill David. In the process, just like last time in the cave, David spares Saul’s life and Saul is shown for the fool he is.
Foolishness doesn’t seem like a sin, but it is. God doesn’t intend for us to play the fool but to be His righteous followers. The good news is that we have the choice of whether to play the fool by not following God’s commands or to be a follower by following them. Foolishness is not about ability but about willingness. Don’t be a fool today. Be a follower.