Between Abigail and Saphira: Who’s the better wife?

Two very interesting female characters in the Bible are Abigail and Sapphira. Both were wives with very intriguing stories.

Abigail was the wife of Nabal, a rich man who dealt in animal husbandry; he had livestock in abundance and was a man to be reckoned with in his time. But his name was ‘Nabal’ which meant fool. Now, why on Earth would any parent want to name their child ‘fool?’ And why would any adult want to keep such a name? Anyway, that is not the subject of our story. So Nabal was a rich man and his wife was Abigail, described as beautiful and wise-talk about opposites attracting!

Nabal insulted David, who was a kind of Robin Hood of his day and David was bent on killing Nabal. Abigail intervened by providing food for David and his men and pleading for David to refrain from soiling his hands with Nabal’s blood and Nabal’s life was spared by David. The following day she told Nabal what had transpired and he had a heart attack, fell into a coma and died ten days later (please read the full story in the Holy Bible, book of 1 Samuel  chapter 25). Abigail then goes on to marry David and they live happily ever after!

Fast forward many thousands of years later to the time of the early church. The early disciples were excited at the move of the Holy Spirit and were doing amazing things; people were selling their possessions for the common good and this couple, Ananias and Sapphira took a joint decision to also sell their land and be known as ‘givers’ to the cause. To cut a long story short, they agreed to keep back part of the proceeds and claim they had given all. Ananias takes the money to the church elders, tells the agreed lie and dies. His wife comes in three hours later, not knowing hubby was dead, tells the same lie and dies instantly.

This post is not about the morality or otherwise of their individual actions, rather it is an attempt to answer the question of who or what makes a good wife? Abigail went against her husband, disobeyed him, called him names before another man, disrespected him to David and in the process was indirectly responsible for Nabal’s death.

Saphira on the other hand respected her husband, agreed with him in every area and did exactly what he wanted her to do, and that led to her death!

So the question is, who was the better wife? Are there lessons we can draw from these two women? Where should a woman draw the line when it comes to obeying her husband?

Let’s talk, what do you think? Maybe we can lay this age-old debate to rest for ever!

ps: the story of Ananias and Saphira can be found in the new Testament book of Acts, chapter 5.

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