Abishag was the young and beautiful Shunammite woman. Her name means, “my father is a wanderer.” She was chosen to be the helper and servant of King David in his old age. One of her duties was to lie next to the king to keep him warm in bed. The covers they put over him didn’t keep him warm. Body heat was more effective. Nothing sexual ever transpired between the king and the young woman. The Bible was clear about this. 1 Kings 1:4 states that “…she cared for the king and ministered to him, but the king did not know her intimately”.
All we know about Abishag is that after the king’s servants searched Israel for a virgin, she was chosen and brought to the king. She was basically the king’s nurse. The next time we hear of her is when Solomon’s older
brother, Adonijah asked Bathsheba to “Please speak to Solomon the king, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as a wife.”
Bathsheba went to Solomon on his behalf but the king was not at all pleased. His response was: “Now why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also, for he is my elder brother. Ask not only for him, but also for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.”
Solomon recalled his brother’s first attempt to usurp his rightful place as king and saw this request to marry Abishag as another plot to seize the throne because in those days, a harem was part of the king’s title to a throne and since Abishag was a part of David’s harem, marrying her would have would have strengthened Adonijah’s claim to the throne. Solomon had no choice but to execute Adonijah.
We don’t know what became of Abishag. But, we salute her for dutifully and faithfully serving the king.