“Yes, Nabal. You would make a fine wife for him. He would meet your every needs and also mine as well. You should be happy he agreed to marry you.”
“B-but I don’t lo- love him.” She stammered. I don’t know him!
He snorted.”What is love? You don’t need love to marry, my girl. All you need is to take care of a home. Be dutiful to your husband. Give him children. That is what marriage is about. Not love.” He said the last word as though it were a bitter herb in his mouth.
Abigail could feel the tears at the corner of her eyes. How could her father speak that way? What did he mean that love didn’t matter? Hadn’t he loved her mother?
“Father, didn’t you love mother?” She squeezed the water out of the cloth, done with both feet.
He stared down at her. “Love is a wasted emotion. You shouldn’t bother yourself with it. . . It lessens the pains and makes life more bearable. Trust me my dear. Love isn’t worth it. There’s underground news that Israel would soon have a new king. . . . It seems King Saul would soon depart from the throne.” Her father said, changing the topic and she knew that was the end of the discussion. Her father’s voice drifted off as she thought of the news of her imminent marriage.
After they had supper and he snored away on his bed, Abigail allowed herself the pleasure of reliving memories with her mother. She was a beautiful woman. Calm. Kind-hearted. All who knew Hannah only had good things to say. Her mother was a wise woman. She worked hard in their small community; helping the widows and sewing for their children. But the most gracious thing of her mother was she had loved the Lord. Praying and talking to Him. . . Even till her last breath.
“God loves you Abby. God loves me too.” She had uttered on her dying bed, patting her cheek. Her father had left the room in anger at her mother’s words.
“How can you say God loves you? Even father can’t understand it. How can God love you and yet cause you so much pain? That isn’t love mama.” Abigail had said in tears.
Her mother smiled. A smile that shone with her love for the Lord. “I know He loves me. He gave me you. He answered my prayers for you to know Him. He speaks to my heart,” she pressed her palm against Abigail’s chest. “And He tells me everything is going to be okay. Don’t forget what I tell you; this place we’re in isn’t our home. God’s place is our home. Being with God is where we should be.”
“Then let God take me home too! I don’t want to be here without you. What will I do?”
“It’s not your time sweetheart. You have great days ahead of you. Trust God, that’s what we all can do. He will do good. . . He will do good. . .”
Abigail wiped the tears from her cheeks. After her mother passed her father had drank to ease the pain. Cursing love and anything that had to do with love.
She wished God would talk to her just like He spoke to her mother who was confident in His love.
“Mama, you said everything was going to be okay. It isn’t. You said trust God. It’s hard mama. It’s hard. Does God want me to marry someone like Nabal? I don’t think he loves God like you. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone that loves God like you do.” She closed her eyes. “God please help me. Help me trust you.”
The next day after her father had gone off to feed the sheep and cows and take care of matters of the day, Abigail had used the time to pay her friend a visit. Sarah was washing, once Abigail called out to her, her friend looked up, the scowl disappearing from her face and waved at her with wet hands.
Abigail bent low to catch her breath. “Why do I walk all the way to see you when the sun is ready to scold me everytime I do so?”
“Because you can’t seem to stay away from me and you would be bored to death without me.” Sarah simply said and wiped the beads of sweat from her brow. “I hate washing. It makes my back ache and it hurts my legs.”
Abigail sat on a large rock and put her legs together. “Is there anything you like doing?”
Sarah blew a wisp of her hair from her face and resumed her position and kept washing. “I like talking. I love dancing. I love dreaming.”
“My father says sometimes dreams can cause trouble.”
“It depends on what you’re dreaming about.” She said sheepishly.
Abigail kept quiet and stared off at Sarah’s little brother and sister playing at a distance.
“What ails you?”
Abigail turned to look at her friend giving her a query look. She sighed. “I’m getting married.”
Sarah’s eyes widened. “To whom?”
Sarah screamed. “Nabal! Nabal the fool? Nabal the brute?”
Abigail nodded. Her friend expressed the same shock as she had. “I don’t know what to do.”
Her friend made a face. “He’s quite ugly. Not as Handsome as King Saul. Tall, broad shoulders, fair as the sun an-” Sarah took one look at Abigail and repented of her ways. “Nabal. . . I heard he has a lot of sheep and goats in Carmel and is extremely rich.”
“Sarah if you weren’t my friend I would think you were happy at the news.”
“I’m not. I’m just spelling out the good sides to you instead of focusing on the nays.”
“Hmm. . . Wise woman you are.”
Sarah kept her washing aside and came to sit by her. “I know how disheartening this is for you, but what do you want to do? There are several maidens yet to marry, and you aren’t just marrying but also to a rich man. He will take care of you. You will finally be able to leave your father’s house.”
“It feels more like jumping from the wilderness into the fire. And you know my father hasn’t always been this way – harsh and bitter. He lost the love of his life, what do you expect?” Abigail’s mother had retold how glad her father was when she was born. Hence the name Abigail which meant ‘father rejoiced’. Even if she did go through with the arranged marriage she would miss her father deeply.
“I can imagine. But then let’s hope for the best. . . Maybe he’s not as bad as others have said.”
Abigail hoped for that possibility. Mostly she hoped for God’s will to be done.