Biblical People

Biblical People: Abishag

Abishag is a young, beautiful Shunammite woman, carefully selected to attend to King David in his old age. Despite her sleeping next to him to keep him warm, it isn’t sexual.

After David dies, his son Adonijah requests, through Bathsheba, that the new king, King Solomon, allow him to marry Abishag. Though this seems reasonable, Solomon sees this as Adonijah’s attempt to elevate his standing in the kingdom and vie for leadership.

His apparent power struggle is a threat to Solomon’s reign—so Solomon executes Adonijah. We don’t know what happens to Abishag.

Abishag has her life in front of her, full of expectations, when she’s tapped to be a tool for the king, a human bed warmer. She doesn’t even get any “benefits” from the arrangement—though I’m sure people thought otherwise. 

When the king dies, it seems her ordeal is over. But it’s not. Another man, a wannabe king, tries to use her so he can usurp his half brother’s throne. His ploy results in his execution.

Sometimes people use us—or at least they try to. Do we sink to their level or rise above it?

[Discover more about Abishag in 1 Kings 1:1–4 and 1 Kings 2:13–25.]

Learn about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.