The Way of Wisdom


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In the first of these stories, in 1 Samuel 24, David gets close enough to Saul to cut off the edge of his garment without being detected.

The Way of Wisdom – Patrick Whitworth

He refrains from harming Saul, however, deliberately leaving all retribution to God cf. In this case too, David is once again delivered, not this time from a physical danger, but from an even deadlier moral peril. His providential rescuer on this occasion is Abigail, the discerning and beautiful woman who comes to redirect him to the path of patience and trust in God.


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Just as Abigail is the representative of Wisdom here, she also is the instrument of Providence. Divine Wisdom thus gives both of them insight into Divine Providence. As the discerner of both Wisdom and Providence, moreover, Abigail serves here in a prophetic role. Christians have approached the account of Abigail from various directions. Some early readers, for example, perceived a special and mysterious meaning in her very name. It was not difficult to see, after all, that our heavenly Father would rejoice in the likes of Abigail. She was, after all, the wife of the anointed David, whom Christians since New Testament times have regarded as a figure and foreshadowing of Jesus the Messiah.

Nonetheless, I do not think that such an approach is truly representative of the way Christians generally have read the Abigail account. In a sense, her story is a single step in the dramatic movement of 1 Samuel and hardly more than a fleeting scene in the biblical narrative as a whole. Nor is her place in the biblical narrative otherwise sufficiently central to make her a major figure in Church typology later on. Second, engaging and unforgettable as Abigail appears in 1 Samuel 25, Holy Scripture says quite a bit less about her than it does about quite a number of other women.

Her appearance is relatively brief. Finally, the polygamous context of the account in 1 Samuel 25 puts excessive strain on any sustained attempt to think of the marriage of David and Abigail as a symbol of the union between Christ and the Church. Notwithstanding its adoption by such exegetical giants as Ambrose and Gregory of Nyssa, the theme did not generally prevail in early Christian readings of the story.

The great mystic symbolism of marriage outlined in Ephesians 5 presupposes a setting of monogamy, or it otherwise tends to unravel. Studied simply as components found in the plain meaning of the text, these are the two streams that join the Abigail narrative to deeper springs of Holy Scripture. This approach to Abigail, however, is hardly new. Indeed, for many centuries her story has been studied by Christians with precisely these two ideas in mind. First, Divine Providence. Jerome observed that her wise and prompt intervention preserved David from doing what he would later have had to repent of and weep over.

A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs

Second, moral wisdom. Unlike her foolish husband, Abigail treated David and his men with kindness. In so doing, she exemplified some of the works of mercy listed by Jesus in the Last Judgment scene of Matthew Christian readers have noted that Abigail was particularly characterized by her wisdom in speech. More precisely, she knew exactly when to speak and when to be silent, and she discretely picked her occasions for each.

1. Handling criticism

Wherefore, it was praiseworthy that Abigail did not speak to Nabal about his sin while he was intoxicated, and it was just as praiseworthy that she did tell him about it when he became sober. For it was precisely because he did not hear of his fault when he was drunk that he was afterwards able to recognize it.

The Way Of Wisdom

Whose son is he? I cannot find this text prescribed in the Eucharistic lectionary of any Christian body. In both the Roman Catholic and Episcopal lectionaries for the Daily Office, however, the account is read every other summer, a practice maintained in the Devotional Guide published by the Fellowship of St. In the Book of Tobit the antagonist is the demon Asmodeus, while the antagonist in the Book of Ruth f.

Thus, he understands Saul better than Jonathan does 1 Samuel —3 , sees intuitively into Doeg the Edomite , early suspects the evil that Absalom is up to 2 Samuel f. The Antiquities of the Jews 6. Salva reverentia and, I suppose, cave canem , we also may note that the dog and the fool are paralleled in Proverbs Jerome likens Nabal to the rich fool in Luke ; cf.

Augustine, De Mendacio 9.

The single-handed combat between David and Goliath, especially the structural juxtaposition of battle with explanatory dialogue, readily puts one in mind of Homer, nor should we forget, in this connection, the probable Cretan origins of the Philistines. In this respect, one may both compare and contrast I Samuel 17 with, say, the Iliad Note this extravagance and irony in the accounts of Isaac and Rebecca Genesis —15,42—45,50f. Venerable Bede , In Samuelem Prophetam 4. Gregory of Nyssa says agapatai pleion ; cf. In Psalmos 2. Venerable Bede, In Samuelem Prophetam 4.

II Kings ; Jeremiah ; To gain some sense of this difference, it will suffice to contrast the ways in which Bathsheba was received at court by her husband David 2 Kings and by her son Solomon Regula Pastoralis 3. In Ezechielem 1. Victor, Allegoriae in Vetus Testamentum 6. Johannes Quasten, Patrology , Volume 4, p. He is a senior editor of Touchstone. The Bible Tells Me So. Listening to Eve. The Things Freely Given.

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The Way of Wisdom

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Science News. Tu, Dilip V. Assessment of 3-dimensional wisdom in schizophrenia: Associations with neuropsychological functions and physical and mental health. Schizophrenia Research , ; DOI: ScienceDaily, 14 February University of California - San Diego. The ways of wisdom in schizophrenia. Retrieved October 7, from www. Wisdom at the End of Life Jan. The study is the first to look at what features of urban Surprisingly, it also concludes that somatic physical practices such as classical ballet might lead to Below are relevant articles that may interest you.

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