Tucked in among the drama between a jealous King Saul and the immensely more popular plus ruggedly handsome Servant David, is the small but gigantically symbolic story of one woman fulfilling her God-ordained role as the ezer—the hero helpmate.

Her name is Abigail and from the biblical chapter devoted to Abigail’s wise and swift intervention, we God-fearing women can receive great encouragement. The story of fearless Abigail is not only a real-life event in which ezer intuition and prophetic gifts are fulfilled, but both Abigail and the situation serve as metaphors of how even a woman (written with my tongue planted in my cheek) can know what to do when the roosters in the yard ruffle up their feathers, claw at the dirt, and commence to crowing.

Why Women

Before we sing Abigail’s praises for courageously saving the lives of her male servants, shepherds, and field workers, let’s harken back to the Garden of Eden when God first told Adam he needed an ezer. Revisiting the beginnings of humankind will help us understand how Abigail–in a culture when women were thought to be inferior to men in every way–took male-induced deteriorating matters into her own God-designed hands.

Let’s look back. In Genesis chapter two, we find the detailed account of mankind’s creation. Throughout chapter one, we read the macro-version—the big picture story—of God’s creative process. But here in chapter two, we drop down to get a closer look at what our Maker had in mind when He created both male and female. In verse five we’re told there was “no man to work the ground.” And in verse 7, we’re informed that God formed the first man from the dust, breathed into his nostrils, and gave him life. God then placed this newly-made man in the Garden of Eden. Considering that in the previous verse, God stated there was no man to work the ground, we know immediately this fresh-from-the-dirt man’s purpose, which is also confirmed in verse 18 when we are told again that the Lord placed the man in Eden to work the garden and keep it.

At this point in the creation narrative, the Lord warns the man against eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Then, after the warning—after that one command to not do something, God states that it is not good for man to be alone. I find this an interesting chronological layout. First, don’t’ eat of that tree, then, hey, you’re going to need help with that.

Fascinatingly, the Lord then parades the animal kingdom before his newly-made worker man and we’re told that no suitable helper for the “don’t do that” command plus garden cultivating could be found. Evidently, as the man identified and named all the beasts of the field and birds of the heavens, he and his Maker had their eyes out for this illusive but suitable helper.

Words Matter

The Hebrew words used in verse 18 (and also in verse 20) for suitable helper are neged ezer. This is where words get interesting. The Hebrew word ezer has a much more powerful meaning than our English understanding of a helpmate—which is generally understood as someone to assist in a project or need.

But first, let’s understand the adjective English speakers have translated as suitable. Neged is translated as in front of, in sight of, opposite to. The word also indicates conspicuous, leader, effective, to stand boldly out, explain, praise, expound, expose, plainly profess, report, tell, utter.  So coupled with helper, suitable (in Hebrew) means a helper who is out front, seen, and taking a leadership role.

Now, to adequately understand what the Lord meant when He used ezer for helper, we must look to other instances where He has used this same word. We’ll use the sound hermeneutics of letting the Bible interpret the Bible. The noun ezer is used multiple times in the Old Testament and most often to describe God’s superior help, power, or supreme rescue.

What we now know is that an ezer is a helper in the hero/rescuer sense.

When God said no suitable helper was found among the animal kingdom, He claimed in essence (my southwest vernacular essence) that no bold, out-front guard and hero was found among the amazing beasts and birds he’d made.

So then … He made this neged ezer.

From Adam, He created this needed spiritual and intuitive rescue agent.

But why?

Well, there was a serpent slithering around the garden, we’re told. And crafty serpents can mess up a lot of garden bliss.

As it turned out, the woman guard failed miserably in her first big assignment which was to overcome the temptation to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil..

But by grace and the mercy of Christ, the garden and the sinning man and woman have been redeemed.

Back to Abigail

God’s original design has not altered with the onset of sin or the remedy Christ brought through the cross. A woman’s role in kingdom affairs is to discern, sound alarms, intervene, and rescue humankind from falling prey to devilish schemes or unnecessary man-made chaos.

Which is exactly what Abigail prevented. Through her God-ordained gifts, Abigail recognized a potential and large-scale problem. She intervened. She saved the day. And she showed God-fearing women that we can recognize and serve Christ in different, but equally as important, ways as our male counterparts.

Here’s Abigail’s story: Future-king David and his mighty men had been on the run from the jealous and half-crazy king Saul. While dodging bullets (or swords), David built a loyal following of strong warriors who also helped protect local villages and areas at risk of outside attacks. Such was the situation with a wealthy man named Nabal. His vast flocks, shepherds, and field workers had come under the protection of David’s men. As the story opens, David sends word to Nabal saying it is time for a payback. His warrior teams needed food.

But acting foolishly and wordly, Nabal said, “Who is David? There are many servants these days who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and my meat that I have killed and give it to men who come from I do not know where?”

When David received word of Nabal’s refusal, he declared war on Nabal’s three thousand sheep, one thousand goats, and all the workers taking care of the foolish man’s empire. David’s men strapped on their sword and headed out to kill all the above mentioned.

When Abigail (Nabal’s wife) learned of her husband’s foolishness, she did what any Ezer Woman would do. She interceded. Abigail not only packed up food and wine, but she took the goods to angry David herself, falling on her face before him and prophesying him prince over Israel.


Bold move on Abigail’s part.

Following her physical demonstration of humility, Abigail and David share a spiritually-charged conversation about God’s vengeance, but also His patience. David, convicted of his haste and appeased by her generosity, accepts her gifts and sends Abigail safely back to her wealthy husband.

But then the husband dies of a heart attack.

Hearing of her husband’s death, David sends for Abigail. Turns out David is no fool and wants this ezer/guard/helper/hero on his home turf. He proposes marriage.

She accepts. Now Abigail, an already wealthy woman, is in the king’s inner court.

She saved the day. She saved her men. She spoke truth. And now … she’s royalty.


Do you see the symbolism exploding from the story?

Metaphorically, Nabal represents the non-believing world. Abigail represents Christ’s followers. David represents Christ.

While Nabal, concerned with his own wealth does not recognize who David is, Abigail packs up the goods, leaves comfort behind (riding a donkey), and heads out to face an army of angry men. She speaks truth to her king, and her king, recognizing the truth within her, invites this wise woman to be his bride.

God’s foreshadowing of things to come doesn’t get better than this.

We can learn from Abigail.

You’re Next

Imagine being Abigail in those initial moments of learning David’s men were heading to your home to rape, pillage, and plunder all that you had … all that you’d known and built together with your husband. I don’t know about you, but I probably would have grabbed the family jewels and headed for the hills in the opposite direction.

But the Lord gives us this living example of “Do not fear,” and we are to take courage that women, though we are rarely encouraged to do so, should speak into church affairs, church building, and be called upon to exercise our powerful gifts of intercession.

I find the lack of our understanding a woman’s role problematic. The Lord used Abigail and other female heroes in the powerful roles of wisdom and guidance throughout the Bible. Judge Deborah, Merchant Lydia, Mary Magdalene, and Evangelist Priscilla are but a few examples.

I sense the enemies of God have squelched the bold spirit of women in an extremely successful strategy against church (body of Christ) advancement.

Christ’s return is nearer today than yesterday. I pray we see change in these misunderstood male/female church roles sooner than later. There’s work to be done. Big, audacious, all-hands-on-deck work to reach every nation with God’s Word (see Matthew 24:14), which is the mandate we’ve yet to accomplish (see Matthew 28:19).

The Lord chooses to work through both men and women and His works are documented throughout the entire Bible. His living and historic examples serve to guide us in His affairs. Biblical stories are saturated with doctrine—every bit as revealing as a couple of written lines from Paul’s letters to the churches concerning women.

I’ll leave you to ponder that last line and pray—seeking God’s will for His Ezer Women.

If I perish, I perish,


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Published by lauriegreenwestlake

Writer of three award-winning novels, L. G. Westlake is a gifted communicator, born out of a very real and raw journey with Christ. Her quest includes serving as founding director of a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Texas and both long and short-term mission work in Equatorial Guinea, Honduras, Mexico, The Philippines, India and Guatemala. Today, L.G. serves as a manager of marketing and communications for an worldwide ministry that shares God’s Word with the world.

One thought on “ABIGAIL THE EZER

  1. As always, in Laurie Westlake’s insightful style, I gained a better sense of what my role is in my marriage and in these last days. Thank you Laurie. I am always blessed by your thought-filled and Spirit led words.


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