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Abigail

During her life, Abigail was a woman beset by trials, ignorance and aggravation. Unfortunately, people still use her story to impose these same trials on women today. Her bravery, courage and leadership skills have been twisted or even negated to imposes ungodly restrictions on Godly women. Let's look at exactly what the Bible says about Abigail, and notice some of the things it doesn't say.

1 Samuel 25:1-3:

There was a man in Maon, whose property was in Carmel. The man was very rich; he had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. He was shearing his sheep in Carmel. Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was clever and beautiful, but the man was surly and mean; he was a Calebite.

The Bible introduces us to Abigail and her husband. Hebrew readers have a clue to this story in the first section that English readers lack (unless we read footnotes). Nabal sounds very like the the Hebrew word "fool". Word plays occur repeatedly in the Bible, this particular word play works much like the name "pilgrim" in Pilgrim's Progress--the name given describes an characteristic of the character/person. So, at this point we know several things: Nabal is rich, with three thousand sheep and a thousand goats; Nabal is a fool. He is mean and surly. In contrast, Abigail, his wife, is beautiful and clever. This information foreshadows events in the story.

1 Samuel 25:4-8:

David heard in the wilderness that Nabal was shearing his sheep. So David sent ten young men; and David said to the young men, 'Go up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name. Thus you shall salute him: 'Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. I hear that you have shearers; now your shepherds have been with us, and we did them no harm, and they missed nothing, all the time they were in Carmel. Ask your young men, and they will tell you. Therefore let my young men find favor in your sight; for we have come on a feast day. Please give whatever you have at hand to your servants and to your son David.'

Here we learn that David essentially demands Nabal's hospitality. David has the right to do so, as he has helped Nabal's shepherds in the past. David is known to Nabal, not only through public acclaim (David was a famous man by this point), but through personal contact with Nabal's people. More, honor within the tribal society demanded Nabal honor the debt of hospitality owed by him on behalf of his shepherds.
At the same time, however, David is making demands, much like a gangster in a 1930s movie. The Bible does not indicate Nabal sought David's assistance with the sheep, nor does it say David actually aided the shepherds. The men were essentially offered "protection" by David. Now that it was time to harvest the wool, however, David wanted a share.

1 Samuel 25:-9-11:

When David's young men came, they said all this to Nabal in the name of David; and then they waited. But Nabal answered David's servants, 'Who is David? Who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are breaking away from their masters. Shall I take my bread and my water and the meat that I have butchered for my shearers, and give it to men who come from I do not know where?'

Nabal lives up to his name. Not only does he foolishly deny the debt of honor he owes-denying even that he knows David's name, but adds insult by emphasising David's rebellion against Saul. David was one of the servants "who are breaking away from their masters". Keep in mind, David isn't on a Sunday outing, he travels with an army of men who have worked as mercenaries-six hundred battle hardened warriors. In essence, Nabal has gotten smart with a "Soldier of Fortune" poster-boy.

David's men return with Nabal's answer.

1 Samuel 25:13:

David said to his men, 'Every man strap on his sword!' And every one of them strapped on his sword; David also strapped on his sword; and about four hundred men went up after David, while two hundred remained with the baggage.

"Load 'em up and move 'em out," David declares. These men ride armed for combat against Nabal--a self important sheepherder! At the same time, though, David's actions are extreme and out of proportion. Hospitality should have been given, yes, but David did not have the right to demand or take by force.

1 Samuel 25:14-17:

But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, 'David sent messengers out of the wilderness to salute our master; and he shouted insults at them. Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we never missed anything when we were in the fields, as long as we were with them; they were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know this and consider what you should do; for evil has been decided against our master and against all his house; he is so ill-natured that no one can speak to him.'

Here we encounter something interesting: the servant comes to Abigail, not to gossip about his master, but with the expectation of her action. He says, "know this and consider what you should do." He does not go to his "ill-natured" master, instead he seeks out his mistress. The Bible does not correct or in anyway admonish him for "breaking the chain of command" that many churches stress.

1 Samuel 25:18-19:

Then Abigail hurried and took two hundred loaves, two skins of wine, five sheep ready dressed, five measures of parched grain, one hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs. She loaded them on donkeys and said to her young men, 'Go on ahead of me; I am coming after you.' But she did not tell her husband Nabal.

Abigail quickly considers what she should do, and puts her plan into practice. She gathers the makings of the feast David had requested, prepares for travel and takes off to meet David....all without telling Nabal. For those of us having been taught that wives are to "obey" their husbands, this presents an interesting biblical precedent. Abigail has: 1) Considered the problem, 2) determined a course of action directly opposed to her husband's wishes, 3) implemented that plan, 4) failed to seek her husband's permission--in fact, she hasn't told him anything. If what we have been taught accurately reflects the Word of God, Abigail will be corrected by the Lord--let's see what happens...

1 Samuel 25:20-22:

As she rode on the donkey and came down under cover of the mountain, David and his men came down toward her; and she met them. Now David had said, 'Surely it was in vain that I protected all that this fellow has in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that belonged to him; but he has returned me evil for good. God do so to David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.'

Abigail has set off, and meets David. He is not a happy camper. He swears he will destroy every male "belonging" to Nabal. This doesn't mean only slaves, but includes every male member of Nabal's extended household.

1 Samuel 25:-23-26

When Abigail saw David, she hurried and alighted from the donkey, and fell before David on her face, bowing to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, 'Upon me alone, my lord, be the guilt; please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. My lord, do not take seriously this ill-natured fellow, Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I, your servant, did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.'

In riding a donkey to greet David, Abigail displays a measure of her wealth. Donkeys at this time were animals for the elite. Abigail abases herself before David. She assumes the responsibility for Nabal's actions, and even goes so far as to publicly criticize Nabal. I read an analysis of this story once that indicated Abigail never criticized Nabal to his face, therefore her words to David could not be seen as criticism. Perhaps. However, in tribal societies, insults given in public bore far more damage than those given in private. In tribal cultures loss of face carried a great deal of stigma. For Abigail to have publicly labeled her husband a fool posed a serious threat to Nabal's standing and reputation. Then she goes further and hints she was supposed to be in charge of the matters anyway, saying "I did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent." What difference would her having seen them, if she did not have the authority to act?

1 Samuel 25:26:
'Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, since the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from taking vengeance with your own hand, now let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be like Nabal.'"

David will face allegations of bloodguilt several times in his life. Abigail has reminded him, in a very nice way, that if he followed through in his intent he not, Nabal, would be the guilty party. David does not have a right under the law to retaliate in this way. If he does, he will be guilty before God.

1 Samuel 25:27-30:

'And now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the trespass of your servant; for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord; and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. If anyone should rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living under the care of the Lord your God; but the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. When the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel, my lord shall have no cause of grief, or pangs of conscience, for having shed blood without cause or for having saved himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant.'

Clever Abigail went on to demonstrate spiritual understanding. She didn't defend Nabal, but reminded David of the spiritual consequences of his actions. If David killed Nabal, David would have the burden. More she offered a prayer/prophecy that David's enemies would be like Nabal-fools. She reminded David that he pursued God's plans, and fought for God Himself. David walked in the protection of the Lord, while his enemies would be defeated. Why should he tamper with such a destiny by stooping to murder? (Too bad Abigail didn't remind him again when it came to Uriel.)

Before we turn Abigail into a saint, however, we do need to remember she acted in her own best interest. The last sentence emphasizes this. Notice that she wanted David to remember her once things were resolved in his favor.

David castigated Abigail for being a rebellious woman who refused to honor her husband's authority and stuck her noise in men's business when she should have been home mopping the floor....right? Well, no.

1 Samuel 25:32-35:

David said to Abigail, 'Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! Blessed be your good sense, and blessed be you, who have kept me today from bloodguilt and from avenging myself by my own hand! For as surely as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there would not have been left to Nabal so much as one male.' Then David received from her hand what she had brought him; he said to her, 'Go up to your house in peace; see, I have heeded your voice, and I have granted your petition.'

In fact, David didn't chastise Abigail. He praised the Lord for her, then proclaimed her good sense. He applauded her spiritual knowledge in preventing him from sin--more he told her she had saved every man in her extended household. Unlike what we are often told, David listened and "heeds" a woman.

1 Samuel 25:36:

Abigail came to Nabal; he was holding a feast in his house, like the feast of a king. Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunk; so she told him nothing at all until the morning light.

Finally Abigail went to Nabal, but he was drunk. I stopped at this sentence because I've read that Abigail's taking charge was only OK because her husband was a drunkard. This interpretation simply isn't supported by the Word. Until this verse only one mention has been made of any form of alcohol-the wine Abigail took to David. We might assume (a stretch by any measure) that Nabal was a drunkard, but certainly that cannot be a rationalization of the story; for if it were the Bible would have told us well before Abigail went to David or come out and said it point blank. The Word simply does not say this--instead it tells us that Abigail was clever and beautiful, and Nabal is cruel and foolish. More if this were the case the servant would have explained Nabal's drunken state, not how ill-natured his master was.

1 Samuel 25:37-38:

In the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him; he became like a stone. About ten days later the Lord struck Nabal, and he died.

After all of this, God punished Nabal, not Abigail. But what does he punish him for?

1 Samuel 25:39

When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, 'Blessed be the Lord who has judged the case of Nabal's insult to me, and has kept back his servant from evil; the Lord has returned the evildoing of Nabal upon his own head.'

Often I have read teachings that say Nabal was punished for his mistreatment of Abigail, therefore women can rest assured that God will punish their husbands if the husbands do something wrong to them. For instance, if a man beats his wife, she should just wait until the Lord stops him, as he stopped Nabal. If a husband creates barriers between a woman and her ministry she should just yield, because if God wanted things to change He'd correct the husband. Well, its true God chastises us, but we aren't to wait for someone else to change before we act....and if we use this story as the basis of such a teaching we are in for a long wait. David says God punished Nabal because of the insult given David not Abigail. "Huh??," you say. Read the verses above again "Blessed be the Lord who has judged the case of Nabal's insult to me"

Still, what did God do about Abigail's blatantly disrespectful and rebellious behavior?

1 Samuel 25:39-42:

Then David sent and wooed Abigail, to make her his wife. When David's servants came to Abigail at Carmel, they said to her, 'David has sent us to you to take you to him as his wife.' She rose and bowed down, with her face to the ground, and said, 'Your servant is a slave to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.' Abigail got up hurriedly and rode away on a donkey; her five maids attended her. She went after the messengers of David and became his wife. David also married Ahinoam of Jezreel; both of them became his wives.

Wow, she got to be wife to the future king of Israel. Imagine her shock, here her husband just died-probably a relief, but the Bible doesn't say. The warrior she's just had a run in with sends for her. She falls to the ground in self abasement--then gets a marriage proposal. Seems like the Lord was rewarding His servant. But Abigail's adventures aren't over yet.

1 Samuel 27:3:

David stayed with Achish at Gath, he and his troops, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel , and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow.

1 Samuel 30:3-5:

When David and his men came to the city, they found it burned down, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept, until they had no more strength to weep. David's two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel , and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel.

Abigail joins David's household and begins traveling with the group. Then while David and his warriors are off, the city is attacked. The buildings burned. Women and children kidnapped, taken captive. David returns to desolation; he and his people cry-out in distress until they can weep no more.The people are so angry they talk about stoning David, but when David turns to the Lord, God promises David will be able to rescue the captives.

1 Samuel 30:2-3:

David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken; and David rescued his two wives.

That David rescues his wives is repeated.

1 Samuel 30:18:

David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken; and David rescued his two wives.

2 Samuel 2:2-3:

So David went up there, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel , and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David brought up the men who were with him, every one with his household; and they settled in the towns of Hebron.

2 Samuel 3:2:

His second, Chileab, of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom son of Maacah, daughter of King Talmai of Geshur.

1 Chronicles 3:1-2:

These are the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite ; the second Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite; the third Absalom, son of Maacah , daughter of King Talmai of Geshur; the fourth Adonijah, son of Haggith .


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Abigail, Daughter of Nahash and Sister of David

2 Samuel 17:25:
Now Absalom had set Amasa over the army in the place of Joab. Amasa was the son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite, who had married Abigail daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah , Joab’s mother.

1 Chronicles 2:16-17:

And their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, three. Abigail bore Amasa, and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite.

Most of us know Jesse had seven sons, of whom David was the youngest. However, David also had (at least) two sisters. His sister Abigail had a son named Amasa, and she was married to an Ishmaelite named Jether.


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Abihail, Abishur's Wife
  • 1 Chronicles 2:29
  • ab ee hah' yil my father is might

1 Chronicles 2:29:
The name of Abishur's wife was Abihail, and she bore him Ahban and Molid.


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Abihail, Rehoboam's Wife

  • 2 Chronicles 11:18
  • ab ee hah' yil my father is might

2 Chronicles 11:18:
Rehoboam took as his wife Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth son of David, and of Abihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse.


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Abihail, Zuriel's Mother

  • Numbers 3:35
  • ab ee hah' yil my father is might

Numbers 3:35:
The head of the ancestral house of the clans of Merari was Zuriel son of Abihail; they were to camp on the north side of the tabernacle.


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Abijah

  • 1 Chronicles 2:24

  • ab ee yaw'

"worshiper of Jehovah"1 Chronicles 2:24:
After the death of Hezron, in Caleb-ephrathah, Abijah wife of Hezron bore him Ashhur, father of Tekoa.

How Abijah bore Hezron's son after his death is not clear. Given that Hezron married another woman at the age of sixty, we know he was at least sixty when he died. It is possible, that Ashhur was the result of a form of levirate marriage, or Hezron could have impregnated Abijah before his death.


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Abijah, Daughter of Zechariah

  • 2 Chronicles 29:1

  • ab ee yaw'

"worshiper of Jehovah"2 Chronicles 29:1:
Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old; he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah.


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Abijah's Daughters

  • 2 Chronicles 13:21
2 Chronicles 13:21:
But Abijah grew strong. He took fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughers.


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Abijah's Wives

  • 2 Chronicles 13:21
2 Chronicles 13:21:
But Abijah grew strong. He took fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughers.


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Abimelech's Female Slaves

  • Genesis 20:14

Genesis 20:17-18:
Then Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For the Lord had closed fast all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

Because Abimelech had taken Sarah as his wife, God punished the Abimelech's entire household. The women were unable to bear children until Abimelech returned Sarah and paid retribution.


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Abimelech's Wife

  • Genesis 20:14

Genesis 20:17-18:
Then Abraham prayed to God; and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For the Lord had closed fast all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham's wife.

It is interesting that while Abimelech had "slaves" plural he had only one wife. He had taken Sarah to be his "wife" as well. Due to Abimelech's actions, his wife had been temporarily barren, sharing in the experience of Sarah.


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Abishag

  • 1 Kings 1:1-4, 1 Kings 1:15, 1 Kings 2:17, 1 Kings 2:21-22
  • AB ih shag
"given to error"1 Kings 1:1:
King David was old and advanced in years; and although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm. So his servants said to him, 'Let a young virgin be sought for my lord the king, and let her wait on the king, and be his attendant; let her lie in your bosom, so that my lord the king may be warm.' So they searched for a beautiful girl throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The girl was very beautiful. She became the king’s attendant and served him, but the king did not know her sexually.

David's courtiers sought a pretty young girl to keep their old and dying king warm at night. Considering the number of wives and concubines David already had, it seems somewhat odd that no such woman was already in his harem. Despite being sought for her beauty, she does not become David's lover, but more his nurse or caretaker. Considering David's previous prowess with women, the inability to have relationship with this young woman seems degrading.

1 Kings 1:15:

So Bathsheba went to the king in his room. The king was very old; Abishag the Shunammite was attending the king.

1 Kings 2:17:

He said, 'Please ask King Solomon-he will not refuse you-to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.'

Her relationship to David embroils Abishag in political intrigue. Adonijah approaches Bathsheba , asking that she ask Solomon to give Abishag to Adonijah as a wife. Bathsheba agrees. 1 Kings 2:21-22:

She said, 'Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to your brother Adonijah as his wife.' King Solomon answered his mother, 'And why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom as well! For he is my elder brother; ask not only for him but also for the priest Abiathar and for Joab son of Zeruiah!'

Bathsheba approaches her son, as agreed. Yet Solomon views the request as a threat to his throne. Possession of one of King David's concubines would add to Adonijah's claim to the throne. The request, obviously, is refused.


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Abital

  • 2 Samuel 3:4, 1 Chronicles 3:1-3
  • ab HY tuhl
"father of dew"

2 Samuel 3:4:
The fourth [son of David], Adonijah son of Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah son of Abital.

From events surrounding this verse, we know Abital gave birth to Shephatiah during David's reign over Judah. We do not know if Abital was David's wife, concubine or liaison--the Bible does not state she s a wife.

1 Chronicles 3:1-3:

These are the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite ; the second Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite; the third Absalom, son of Maacah , daughter of King Talmai of Geshur; the fourth Adonijah, son of Haggith ; the fifth Shephatiah, by Abital; the sixth Ithream, by his wife Eglah .


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Abraham's Concubines

  • Genesis 25:6

Genesis 25:6:
But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, while he was still living, and he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.

Often we believe Abraham had only one concubine, Hagar, but the Bible tells us he had more than one.


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Achan's Daughters

  • Joshua 7:24

Joshua 7:24:
Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, with the silver, the mantle, and the bar of gold, with his sons and daughters, with his oxen, donkeys, and sheep, and his tent and all that he had; and they brought them up to the Valley of Achor.

This brief mention of Achan's daughters lies buried in the story of Achan's sin against the Lord. Achan disobeyed the Lord by taking gold and silver when commanded not to. Achan confesses, but is condemned to be burned and stoned. Joshua 22:20 tells us that Achan alone was punished for his crime--his daughters were not punished with him.


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Achsah

  • Joshua 15:16-19, Judges 1:12-15, 1 Chronicles 2:49
  • ACK sah
"anklet"Achsah appears in two books of the Bible. Both recount similar stories of her ambition. Often we hear that Godly women have nothing to do with family finances....someone forgot to tell Achsah. We learn first that Achsah is the daughter of Caleb, and that she is being given as a prize to the warrior to captures Kiriath-sepher. The Bible doesn't tell us how Achsah felt about this arrangement, but it does show us that she wasn't our typical damsel in distress.

Joshua 15:16-19:

And Caleb said, 'Whoever attacks Kiriath-sepher and takes it, to him I will give my daughter Achsah as wife.' Othniel son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it; and he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife. When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she dismounted from her donkey. Caleb said to her, 'What do you wish?' She said to him, 'Give me a present; since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, give me springs of water as well.' So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

Far from being a victim in this story, Achsah asserts herself to gain land. Sometimes this story is to show a woman "taking advantage", usually of weak man, but that simply isn't what the Bible tells us. Othniel is a warrior, capable of attacking Kiriath-sepher and winning. Obviously, he did not attack the city alone, but commanded other men in the assault, demonstrating leadership skills and strength. When Achsah decided she should have more land, she "urged" him to ask Caleb for more land. The warrior agreed with his wife. Then when Caleb comes she asks herself--and is granted her request. Neither Caleb nor Othniel indicate she has over-stepped her bounds. Far from assuming she has "usurped" her husband's authority, Caleb gives her the land.

Judges 1:12-15:
Then Caleb said, 'Whoever attacks Kiriath-sepher and takes it, I will give him my daughter Achsah as wife.' And Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it; and he gave him his daughter Achsah as wife. When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. As she dismounted from her donkey, Caleb said to her, 'What do you wish?' She said to him, 'Give me a present; since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, give me also Gulloth and Lower Gulloth.

Again, we notice that Achsah decided to ask for the land, asked for the land herself, and received the land.

1 Chronicles 2:49:

She also bore Shaaph father of Madmannah, Sheva father of Machbenah and father of Gibea; and the daughter of Caleb was Achsah.


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Adah, Esau's wife

  • Genesis 36:2-4
aw DAH ornament

Genesis 36:2-4:
Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Hivite, and Basemath, Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau; Basemath bore Reuel.

Adah was one of the two wives of Esau. She was not part of the linage of Sarah.

Genesis 36:10-12:

These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz son of Adah the wife of Esau; Reuel, the son of Esau's wife Basemath. The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. (Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau's son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These were the sons of Adah, Esau's wife.

Genesis 36:16:

Korah, Gatam, and Amalek; these are the clans of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Adah.

While not part of the chosen lineage, Adah was the matriarch of a great line.


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Adah, Lamech's wife

  • Genesis 4:19-20, Genesis 4:23-24
aw DAH ornament

Genesis 4:19-20:
Lamech took two wives; the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and ahve livestock.

This is the first recorded case of polygamy in the Old Testament. Lamech married two women, despite the commandment of one man taking a wife in Genesis 2:24. Also, Lamech was of the line of Cain. Cain's line is contrasted by the line of Seth throughout Genesis. Cain's line tend to chose disobedience to God, while Seth's line chooses obedience.

Genesis 4:23-24:

Lamech said to his wives: 'Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.'

Lamech boasted to his wives that he had killed a man in vengence. He even claimed to better God, who had promised to avenge Cain sevenfold.


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Adam's Daughters

  • Genesis 5:4

Genesis 5:4:
The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years; and he had other sons and daughters."


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Ahinoam

  • 1 Samuel 14:50
  • a HIN oh am
"my brother is delight"1 Samuel 14:50:
The name of Saul's wife was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner son of Ner, Saul's uncle.

The Bible tells us little about Abinoam's life directly. We do know from the counts of her husband, her sons and her daughters that she would become a tragic figure. Her husband disobeyed the Lord and was punished. Her sons met a gruesome end, and at least one of her daughter became the pawn of political intrigue.


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Ahinoam of Jezreel

  • 1 Samuel 25:43, 1 Samuel 27:3, 1 Samuel 30:3-5, 1 Samuel 30:18, 2 Samuel 2:2, Samuel 3:2, 1 Chronicles 3:1-2
  • a HIN oh am
"my brother is delight"1 Samuel 25:43:
David also married Ahinoam of Jezreel; both of them became his wives.

This Abinoam becomes Davids wife, in reality his third wife. The Bible provides us with little information about her, particularly in comparison to Michal , Abigail and Bathsheba. Yet, even with this skeletal information, we know that she lead an exciting, and perhaps tragic life.

1 Samuel 27:3:

David stayed with Achish at Gath, he and his troops, every man with his household, and David with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel , and Abigail of Carmel, Nabal's widow.

1 Samuel 30:3-5:

When David and his men came to the city, they found it burned down, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept, until they had no more strength to weep. David's two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel.

In order to picture fully what has happened, we need to put the story in context. David (married to Michal, Sauls daughter) has gone on the run, fleeing Saul's wrath. A band of warriors joins with David, forming a mercenary fighting force. These men have taken their wives (or some of them in David's case) with them. While David and his force are out, the Amalekites attack, taking not only material booty, but the women and children. David's followers become angry with their leader, threatening to stone him to death. David goes to the Lord in prayer. God promises David will be victorious.

1 Samuel 30:18:

David recovered all that the Amalekites had taken; and David rescued his two wives.

God fulfils His promise, and David saves his wives. We find here a deep contrast between David's treatment of Abigail and Ahinoam and later women in his life. Here David rescues his wives, then accepts them back into his household. The women may have been, and in fact probably were, violated, yet David seeks their return to his household. Later with ten of his concubines, he seems more callous. The ten women are rejected because they have been victimized, and are set away from his household.

2 Samuel 2:2

So David went up there, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel, and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel.

2 Samuel 3:2

Sons were born to David at Hebron: his firstborn was Amnon of Ahinoam of Jezreel.

Her son was Davids heir apparent at the time.

1 Chronicles 3:1-2:

These are the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite; the second Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite; the third Absalom, son of Maacah , daughter of King Talmai of Geshur; the fourth Adonijah, son of Haggith .


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Ahlai

  • 1 Chronicles 11:41
  • akh LAH ee

1 Chronicles 11:41:
Uriah the Hittite, Zabad son of Ahlai.

Ahlai's son became one of David's warriors.


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Anna

  • Luke 2:36-38
  • an' nah
"grace"

Luke 2:36-38:

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem

Anna was an elderly widow by the time Jesus was presented at the temple. She was called a prophet and became the first person to publicly proclaim that Jesus would be the redemption.


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Apphia

Philemon 1-2:
to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

Paul describes Apphia as a sister. She would have been a fellow believer in Colossae. Often it is assumed that she was Philemon's wife, though I have not found any explanation as to why the assumption is made. I, rather, would assume she was either an active Christian or a leader in the church community since Philemon and Archippus, leaders in the church community, are mentioned in the same passage.


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Asenath

Genesis 41:45:
Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah; and he gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, as his wife. Thus Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt.

It is interesting that Joseph gained power through his marriage to a pagan woman. Not only was Asenath's father a priest of On, but her name literally means "belonging to the Goddess Neith."

Genesis 41:50

Before the years of famine came, Joseph had two sons, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him.

Genesis 46:20

To Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him.

The twelve tribes of Israel were named for Jacob's sons, except for Manasseh and Ephraim, in this case it is not Joseph who lends his name to the tribes but his sons. Again, notice that two of the tribes of Israel were founded by sons born to a pagan woman.


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Atarah

1 Chronicles 2:26:
Jerahmeel also had another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam.


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Athaliah

2 Kings 8:25:
Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign; he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah, a grand-daughter of King Omri of Israel.

The Bible introduces an interesting woman in this passage. Athaliah lived during a time when Israel's kings turned away from God. In fact, her grandfather was the notorious Ahab's son in law.

2 Kings 11:1-3:

Now when Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, saw that her son was dead, she set about to destroy all the royal family. But Jehoseba , King Joram's daughter, Ahaziah's sister, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from the king's children who were about to be killed; she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus she hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not killed; he remained with her six years, hidden in the house of the LORD, while Athaliah reigned over the land.

Athaliah became queen of Judah when her son died. She gained the throne by eliminating all other contenders. Why she does this, instead of allowing her enemies (who have already declared they will destroy all of Ahab's descendants) to finish the task for her is not clear. Her reign would last only seven years, before she was over thrown.

2 Kings 11:13-16:

When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she went into the house of the LORD to the people; when she looked, there was the king standing by the pillar, according to custom, with the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, 'Treason! Treason!' Then the priest Jehoiada commanded the captains who were set over the army, 'Bring her out between the ranks, and kill with the sword anyone who follows her.' For the priest said, 'Let her not be killed in the house of the LORD.' So they laid hands on her; she went through the horses' entrance to the king's house, and there she was put to death.

The Bible does not tell us what God wanted in this story. Certainly, Athaliah was a wicked woman (as Chronicles describes her), yet wicked men ruled Judah at times too...many times they were killed in coups. In fact, Jehoash (Joash), the king mentioned in this section, would be murdered in the next chapter. God's silence in this story seems telling. Not once does he criticize her for assuming the throne due to her gender, though many preachers have. Instead her faults are the same as many other rulers in Judah; she was wicked.

Interestingly, Jehoiada seems to have become the regent for Joash (who was only seven at the time).

2 Kings 11:20:

So all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been killed with the sword at the king's house.

The story is repeated in 2 Chronicles.

2 Chronicles 22:2:

Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he began to reign; he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri. He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly.

This verse adds a piece of information not found in the 2 Kings account. Athaliah acted as her son Ahaziah's counselor.

2 Chronicles 22:10-12:

Now when Athaliah, Ahaziah's mother, saw that her son was dead, she set about to destroy all the royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehoshabeath , the king's daughter took Joash son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's children who were about to be killed; she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus Jehoshabeath , daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada--because she was a sister of Ahazaiah--hid him from Athaliah, so that she did not kill him; he remained with them six years, hidden in the house of God, while Athaliah reigned over the land.

Again, 2 Chronicles adds additional information. Jehoiada has ties to Athaliah via his wife--he is her brother-in-law. This also means that the priest is married to a descendent of Ahab.

2 Chronicles 23:12-15:

When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she went into the house of the LORD to the people; and when she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration. Athaliah tore her clothes , and cried, 'Treason! Treason!.' Then the priest Jehoiada brought out the captains who were set over the army, saying tot hem, 'Bring her out between the ranks; anyone who follows her is to be put to the sword.' For the priest said, 'Do not put her to death in the house of the LORD.' So they laid hands on her; she went into the entrance of the Horse Gate of the king's house, and there they put her to death.

Ezra 8:7:

Of the descendants of Elam, Jeshaiah son of Athaliah, and with him seventy males.


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Azubah

1 Chronicles 2:18-19:
Caleb son of Hezron had children by his wife Azubah, and by Jerioth ; these were her sons, Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath , who bore him Hur.

Azubah was Caleb's wife. She had children, but died early.


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Azubah, Daughter of Shilhi

1 Kings 22:42:
Jehoshapthat was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi.

2 Chronicles 20:31:
So Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi.


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"The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A, and are used by permission. All rights reserved."
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