David Chapter 17: Abishag

There are four women highlighted in the life of David. He married eight wives, had many concubines but only four of the women chapterised his life.

The first was Princess Michal, King Saul’s younger daughter. This was teen love. She fell in love with him right after he killed Uncle Goliath. He was a national hero. She had a crush on him. But the idea of dating her was preposterous. He was a poor guy. How’s a poor guy going to marry a princess? Only in the movies. But King Saul came up with a novel dowry. If David could bring 100 foreskins of Philistines he could have the bride. Truth was, Saul was trying to kill David. David brought 200. He got the bride. She would later be married off to another man when David ran into exile. Apparently Saul didn’t mind killing his son-in-law. Saddam Hussein did the same by the way. He killed two of his sons-in-law. They had gone into exile in Jordan but were lured back. Three days later they were killed in a gun battle at their residence. Their wives had conveniently divorced them just the day before. There’s nothing new under the sun.

But Michal loved David, so much so she helped him escape when her father sent secret service agents to assassinate him. David escaped through the window James Bond style. (The World Is Not Enough). She then made a dummy with a household god, used her wig as hair and threw a quilt over it. When the assassins arrived she said David was sick. The ruse held until Saul said they should carry the bed and David to him. 1 Samuel 19:11-14. A woman’s love is incredible. Things would later go sour between them over a festival incident. She had berated her husband for dancing like a Marlian when he brought the Ark to Jerusalem. She was smitten with barrenness, never conceived. 2 Samuel 6:20-23. Most unfortunate.

The second notable wife was Abigail. She was intelligent and beautiful. Abigail was the widow of that vulgar millionaire, Nabal. His name means “foolish” and he was a foolish man! Money does not save you from stupidity. David had provided protection for his business interests all year round. When he sent his associates to ask for victuals from his harvest Nabal retorted, “Who is this David sef?” David was on the way to finish him off when Abigail intervened. She met him on the way and gave him the victuals. She didn’t say a word to her drunk husband till the very next day. When she told him what happened he died of heart attack. She promptly married David.

Then there was Bathsheba. Her name is ironic. She famously created a scandal by taking a bath. She was the wife of a brave army colonel named Uriah. He lived not too far from David. David murdered him after impregnating his wife and God was mad. He punished David severely. Yet grace defies logic. Bathsheba became Solomon’s mum!

The fourth woman was Abishag. This is how she entered the picture. In his old age David was always cold. No fire or blanket could keep him warm. He was always cold. A few of his advisers had a brainwave. Why not look for a beautiful girl to lie in his arm and keep him warm. Skin to skin she can pass heat to him. It seemed like a good idea so they scoured the country for the most ravishing girl they could find. They found a girl named Abishag and brought her to court. Abishag was “stunningly beautiful.” 1 Kings 1:4 MSG. She never had sex with David. She just laid against him and passed warmth to him. She also served as nurse.

In modern times the Japanese would take the concept to another level. According to a research paper improbably titled, “Into the arms of dolls: Japan’s declining fertility rates, the 1990s financial crisis and the (maternal) comforts of the post human,” Japan’s 1990s financial crisis proved psychically traumatic for men; so much so some of the men began seeking comfort in the company of “youthful-looking, large format, hyper-feminized commodity dolls.” Following the oil crisis men in Europe and US turned to similar dolls for comfort. This is Abishag complex.

From this story we learn there are colds blankets and duvets can’t cure. Apparently not all colds are corporal. Which means man is much deeper than his physical dimension. That we already gleaned from the Garden of Eden. The problem Adam had was a deep sort of loneliness. It was not just aloneness. No pet could solve that problem. He needed help – just the right type of help. Nothing in creation could solve his problem. Which then necessitated the cloning of the Eve. Men need women. That’s the message from Genesis. Notice the effect of marriage on young men. There’s a deeper sense of purpose and focal alignment. A keen sense of responsibility also develops. There are things only a woman can minister to a man. Theology says so, reality provides evidence. That’s not saying that if a man is not married he won’t have a successful life. Of course he can. But what Genesis is saying is that a woman’s role in a man’s life is deeper than acknowledged. It’s hardly understood conceptually.

There was something in Eve that ameliorated the loneliness of Adam. The woman in Genesis was a special purpose entity functioning in executive capacity. She wasn’t created for conception. The issue of conception came much later. That a marriage is not blessed with issues does not annul the marriage. The validity of a marriage is not determined by procreation. This is an African problem and it is a challenge to the traditionally minded. There’s a clash of traditional philosophy with the Bible. But Christianity is not always salutary to the dictates of culture. “Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy…Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies,” Jesus said. Matthew 10:35-39 MSG. The pressure on young couples concerning children in marriage often comes from family members, especially the man’s family. It’s how many marriages got dismembered in African families.

But the secondary implication of the assigned roles of Eve and Abishag is the fact there are dimensions to a woman we can’t easily fathom. Most unfortunately men tend to concentrate on her femininity and not her womanhood. Her femininity is her sexuality and physicality, the womanhood is her mystical depth. But the comfort a man needs is in the womanhood, the help he needs is in the womanhood. Adam acknowledged surface reality by referring to Eve as flesh of flesh, but he also called her bone of his bones. His structural integrity was reliant on her in essence. His glory was dependent on her as well. She’s flesh of flesh. 1 Corinthians 11:7. David never had sex with Abishag. It wasn’t about her femininity, it was about her womanhood. It was her womanhood that ministered life and warmth to him. But where exactly did that extraordinary warmth come from? We don’t know. All we know is that it emanated from her being. It wasn’t physical obviously or there would have been no need of her. Blankets and fire would have done the job.

From the above the only conclusion we can arrive at is that the woman is a mystical entity. And this is consistent with scriptures. The church is called a woman. Revelation 19:7-9, 2 Corinthians 11:2. The church is a mystical body – mystici corporis Christi.

David’s son, Solomon wrote: “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22. The man who ignores the treasures in his wife suffers monumental loss.

I want you to give your life to Christ. Pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”

© Leke Alder | talk2me@lekealder.com.

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