Is biblical gluttony overeating? Part 2: The story of Nabal

An obesity epidemic plagues the world today. Some of my poorest friends are obese, and they often feel helpless to do anything about it. I have obese friends from Africa in countries where a typical salary, if one even has a job, is around $100 per month. No matter how little they eat, they have trouble losing weight. But in our minds today, even in the church, we associate gluttony with obesity and overeating. But in the Bible there are these stories in which a very wealthy person feasts but refuses to share with the needy. One of these stories is 1 Sam 25, the story of Nabal.

One of the most important gluttons in the Bible, in my opinion, is Nabal. Nabal was very rich, and he had a shrewd wife. He himself wasn’t as smart as his wife. While David led a group of rebels, he asked Nabal for aid. David figured he had something coming from Nabal, since he’d protected Nabal’s life and property.  So he sent some of his men to request some food. But Nabal refused. Abigail heard and took some food to David and pleaded with David not to do something foolish by killing her stupid husband. David relented from his wrath. But when Abigail informed Nabal of what David intended and how she narrowly averted Nabal’s destruction, Nabal died, evidently of myocardial infarction.

So Nabal’s sin is not his overeating but his failure to acknowledge the service that David had done for him by sharing with him and his men. Even his own wife recognized his feasting in the presence of very dangerous men to be an extremely foolish thing to do.

Should we consider an obese person a glutton if that person is very willing to share and is generous towards the poor?

See also:

Is biblical gluttony overeating? Part 1