Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 1

David and Abishag

1 Kings 1:1-4

The Books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings record the history of Israel’s kings after King David. Only one of those kings, David’s son Solomon, ruled over the whole nation. After him, the nation divided into two parts, each with its own king. The southern part was Judah; the northern part was usually called simply, Israel.

Solomon began his rule while David was still alive. It became necessary for David to appoint Solomon as king when David became old and ill. David did that because he did not want Adonijah, Solomon’s older brother, to become king. David knew that God had chosen Solomon to be king (2 Samuel 12:24-25; 1 Chronicles chapter 22).

So, the Book of 1 Kings begins with a record of David’s weakness near to the end of his life. Even in that weak state, Israel’s people still loved their king and they remained loyal to him (1:20). He needed a nurse to look after him; so, his officials went through the whole country to find a suitable woman (compare Esther 2:2-4). They wanted her to be young and beautiful, to please David. She would be like another wife for him, because she would have to lie with him, to keep him warm.

For Abishag, it was a great act of love to look after David. David was now too weak to have sex with her, so of course, she would not have children. When David died, unlike other widows she would not be free to remarry. That was because a new king claimed authority over the last king’s widows (2 Samuel 12:8). If any other man married those widows, that man might try to claim the right to be king (2:21-22).

Next part: Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-8)


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