1 Kings 1:3
NIV - 3 Then they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
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Abishag was the Shunammite maiden who was chosen to lie with King David to keep him warm in his old age (although the Bible specifically says that David did not have sexual relations with her)(1 Kings 1:1-4). As far as I am aware, the last definite reference to Abishag is in 1 Kings 2:13-25. Solomon regarded his older half-brother Adonijah's request after David's death that Abishag be given as a wife to him (Adonijah) as being part of a conspiracy that was punishable by death (especially since Adonijah had already attempted to usurp the throne from Solomon even before David's death (1 Kings 1:5-10), despite David's (and God's) specific direction that Solomon was to succeed David as king (2 Samuel 7:12; 1 Kings 1:15-2:48). I would therefore say that it would be warranted to conjecture that Abishag remained in Solomon's household (since that evidently supported his right to succeed David as king). Some commentators also associate her with the beloved woman (described as a Shulammite) whom Solomon addresses in Song of Solomon (Song of Solomon 6:13), so she may have become one of Solomon's numerous wives and concubines (1 Kings 11:3), although (to my knowledge) the Bible is not definite on that point.
nurse and companion of the king during his final days.—1Ki 1:1-4. David was now about 70 years of age (2Sa 5:4, 5), and as a result of debilitation he had little body heat. Abishag waited on him during the day, doubtless brightening the surroundings with her youthful freshness and beauty, and at night she ‘lay in the king’s bosom’ to give him warmth, but “the king himself had no intercourse with her.” Nevertheless, the attitude later manifested by Solomon regarding her indicates that Abishag was viewed as being in the position of wife or concubine of David. As such, by a rule in the ancient East, she would become the property of David’s heir at the time of his death. The account concerning Abishag directly precedes the account of the attempt at gaining the crown by the one who was probably David’s oldest surviving son, Adonijah, and would seem to be so placed to give understanding to Adonijah’s subsequent action during Solomon’s reign. Solomon, after ascending the throne, had placed Adonijah on conditional pardon. Now Adonijah persuaded Solomon’s mother, Bath-sheba, to ask Solomon to give him Abishag as his wife. Solomon, convinced that Adonijah’s request was not due alone to Abishag’s beauty but, rather, indicated a subtle effort to strengthen Adonijah’s claim to the throne, reacted angrily, revoked Adonijah’s pardon, and ordered his death. (1Ki 2:13-25) No further mention is made of Abishag, but it is probable that she continued as one of Solomon’s wives or concubines.
After the death of David, Abishag, who waited on the ailing king, I Kings 1:1-2, apparently remained as part of the household of the king, although she was unmarried. Solomon inherited her as part of the property, the harem of King David. Adonijah an older brother of Solomon felt that he should be king even though his father King David had selected Solomon to be his successor. His first attempt to become the king, I Kings 1:5-10, failed when Nathan the prophet had Bathsheba approach the king to assure Solomon was to sit on the throne after him, I Kings 1:11-40. David affirmed this and Adonijah fled to take a hold of the horns of the altar to keep from being executed. Solomon banished him to his home where he could prove himself a worthy man, I Kings 1:52. Adonijah did not give up. He knew the importance of taking possession of any part of the property to have the right to the throne. Adonijah schemed to ask Solomon through Bathsheba, now the queen mother, to have Abishag for his wife, I Kings 2:13-18. But Solomon well understood this bid to take the throne, I Kings 2:22, and he ordered Adonijah’s death, I Kings 2:24-25. Solomon is not recorded as marrying Abishag either. But it is believed by some that the Song of Solomon is the story of Solomon trying to woo her to be his wife. As for her being the Shulamite in the song, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., author of “Love by the Book,” speculated that she is “a likely candidate.” Timewise and geographically, she could be. Shunem is also known as Shulem, a town in the Jezreel Valley, I Kings 1:3 compared to Song of Solomon 6:13. This last reference in an older Septuagint translation has “Sunamite.” The historian Eusebius and the writer Jerome called Shunem by the name Shulem as did explorers of the land in the 1700s. The modern Arab name for Shunem is Sulam. So, it is very possible that Abishag is the same as the Shulamite. If so, Solomon could have recorded his pursuit of her in “The Song of Solomon,” which he wrote later in life. When he tried to win her, he already had “60 queens, 80 concubines, and virgins without number,” Song of Solomon 5:8, but would accumulate “700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines,” I Kings 11:3. She would have been one more “conquest.” Solomon wrongly thought that with his power, pomp, prosperity, popularity, and prestige with all the worldly charm, he could also win her heart. But he found out that the young woman’s heart was already won over by one she really loved, longed for, and looked for – her beloved shepherd. It might be that Solomon, seeing such devotion, decided to let her go to marry the one she loved. This song would be his confession of not understanding how real and powerful true love was. The Song of Solomon may be the last chapter of Abishag’s story.
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