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According to the Bible, Abishag (Hebrew אבישג) was a young woman of Shunem, distinguished for her beauty. She was chosen to be a helper and servant to David in his old age. Among Abishag's jobs was to lie next to David and keep him warm; however, David did not have sexual relations with her (1 Kings 1:4b) due to the fact that he already had eighteen wives (the maximum amount of wives allowed to a Jewish king). After David's death Adonijah persuaded Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, to entreat the king to permit him to marry Abishag. Solomon suspected in this request an aspiration to the throne, and therefore caused him to be put to death (1 Kings 2:17-25). It is possible that Abishag became one of Solomon's wives, as part of his heritage. Some[who?] point to the possibility that Abishag is the female protagonist in the Song of Songs and that Solomon put Adonijah to death in order to obtain Abishag for himself.
This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.
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