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Nabal: The Leader Who Was a Fool.

11/18/2014 / Leadership

The Bible described Nabal as harsh and evil in his doings and Abigail his wife, said to David about her husband, "for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name and folly is with him." In other words, she called him a fool. According to the free dictionary, a fool is one who acts unwisely on a given occasion.
Nabal's foolishness is made manifest when he rudely turned down David's request for help. David was in the wilderness hiding from Saul, who sought to kill him. There he met and showed kindness to Nabal's shepherds and sheep in protecting them from harm. After sometime, he required food for himself and his men and Nabal had plenty of food, so David sent messengers to Nabal requesting a favour in return for the act of kindness previously shown. However, because Nabal was a fool, he responded to David's humble plea, thus; "Who is David and who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants nowadays who break away each one from his master. Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed for my shearers and give it to men when I do not know where they are from?" This was not a very wise act and as soon as David heard he was angered and said to his men, "Every man gird on his sword." He took four hundred men with him to destroy Nabal and his household. Fortunately, a servant approached Abigail and told her all that had transpired between Nabal and David's men. Being a wise woman, she hurriedly prepared some food and went out to meet David and his men to stop the plan to destroy her family.
Nabal was the God ordained leader of the family, but he failed in this duty. His foolish and thoughtless response exposed his followers, i.e. his household to danger and probable extinction. David was a mighty man of valour and he had with him men he had trained to fight. Nabal was not a man of valour and he had no might against David and his men. In offending David, he was calling for a war he was neither prepared nor equipped to fight. He exposed his wife to danger when she went out to meet David and his men who were hungry, angry and armed and had the intention of destroying all that belonged to Nabal.
Nabal's leadership failures are quite apparent in this story. Firstly, he was a man who listened to no one and this is a recipe for failure. It has been said that there are two types of people who never succeed, those who listen to everybody and those who listen to nobody. Nabal belonged in the second category. His servant in speaking to Abigail, said of Nabal, "Now therefore, know and consider what you will do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his household. For he is such a scoundrel that one cannot speak to him." This reveals that Nabal was unapproachable and a good leader must always be approachable. In his book, "The 21 Qualities of a Leader", leadership guru, John Maxwell lists listening as a leadership quality. Nabal clearly did not possess this leadership quality.
Secondly, he did not have the heart of a servant leader; he was more of a boss than a leader. A leader is a servant and puts the needs of his followers before his because leadership is about service to the people. At this point I will compare him with Jesus, who in my opinion is the perfect example of a servant leader. On the night Jesus was arrested, he said to those who came to fetch Him, "I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way." In so doing He spared the lives of the disciples who were with Him and put their need for safety before His.
Good leaders serve the people they lead. Nabal however, served no one but himself and cared for no one but himself. Everyone but he saw the problem that would follow his rude, inappropriate behaviour to David's men. The reason he didn't see it was because he was not in tune with the needs of others so he failed to see how his decisions would affect them.

Eturuvie Erebor (AKA Gabriella) is a writer, speaker, trainer and coach with a strong passion to transform the lives of women and youth not only in her native country, Nigeria and the United Kingdom, where she was born, but all across the world. She has spoken to women and youth groups in churches,

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