And David answered and said, “Here is the spear, O king! Let one of the young men come over and take it. The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, for the Lord gave you into my hand today, and I would not put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed. Behold, as your life was precious this day in my sight, so may my life be precious in the sight of the Lord, and may he deliver me out of all. —1 Samuel 26:22-24
For David, the events of this chapter are a high water mark for David’s grasp of God’s truth, and for the application of it in his life. David stood tall outside that cave in [1 Samuel] chapter 24, but he stands even taller here in chapter 26. He is confident of God’s protection and care, and of Him as the one who will reward his righteousness and judge his accusers. If in chapter 24 we see David gently rebuking his king, in chapter 26 we see him rebuking those who have set the king against him. David now sees his flight from his enemies in terms of its spiritual implications.
If David has grown spiritually after the events of chapter 24, and this growth is evident in chapter 26, we must conclude that Abigail plays a significant role in this. The things David affirms as true in chapter 26 are the very things about which Abigail assures him. If David has any doubt that he will become the next king, Abigail assures him he will reign over Israel (25:30). Though David wants to take vengeance on his enemies (i.e. Nabal), Abigail reminds him that God will better handle such matters, and that leaving this to God will keep David from any regrets (25:31). Does David fear for his life? Abigail assures him that his life is safely in God’s hands (25:29). It is said that behind many great men, there is a great woman. Certainly that was true of David and Abigail.
Do some scholars agonize that chapter 26 is too similar to chapter 24? It is similar, because it is a kind of replay of chapter 24. When God wants to teach us a lesson, if we fail to learn that lesson through one experience, God will continue to bring experiences our way which confront us with the same basic test. I think the reason there is a second incident in chapter 26, so similar to the one described in chapter 24, is that God wanted David to retake the same test so that he received a higher score.