The Meeting of David and Abigail provides a biblical narrative ripe with action and romance (I Sam. 25). Afraid that David will attack her husband for refusing to pay for David's protection, Abigail and her servants gather together gifts of food to appease the approaching troops. Thanks to her beauty and to her eloquence, Abigail succeeds not only in avoiding war but also in eventually winning David’s heart.
The figures and details that fill this large canvas are partially invented by Rubens and partially taken from other sources, including the artist's collection of antique sculpture.