🔼The name Abishag: Summary
- The Father Wanders, Father Of Error
- From (1) the noun אב ('ab), father, and (2) the verb שגג (shagag), to go astray.
🔼The name Abishag in the Bible
Abishag is a pulchritudinous young Shunammite who David's servants hire for their king to keep him warm during Jerusalem's long and cold nights (1 Kings 1:1-4). David had six wives but apparently neither of them gave off any warmth anymore. The story doesn't mention whether the wives too required nocturnal heating and acquired the assistance of handsome male nurses.
David's son Adonijah, the son of Haggith, takes an instant liking to this pretty nurse, and when David dies and Solomon ascends to Israel's throne, Adonijah decides to ask his younger but royal half-brother for the hand of Abishag, through the intersession of Solomon's mother Bathsheba. Solomon perceives his request as a threat to his monarchy (2:22). Fiercely unsettled, Solomon has Adonijah executed by Benaiah the son of Jehoiada (2:25). Abishag quietly exits the Biblical stage and is heard from no more (2:12-25).
🔼Etymology of the name Abishag
The name Abishag consists of two elements. The first part of the name Abishag comes from the familiar Hebrew word אב ('ab), meaning father:
The noun אב ('ab) means father, but describes primarily a social relationship rather than a biological one. That social fatherhood was the defining quality of the community's alpha male, the one around whom all economy revolved and from whom emanated all instructions by which the 'sons' (בן, ben) operated. It's unclear where this word אב ('ab) comes from but the verb abu means to decide.
The letter י (yod) creates a possessive form: אבי (abi), meaning my father, or father of, depending on the context.
The second part of the name Abishag comes from the important Hebrew verb שגג (shagag), meaning to go astray or to err:
The verb שגג (shagag) means to mislead, err or go astray. The derived noun שגגה (shegaga), means deception, error or deviation. Verb שגה (shaga) also means to err or wander off. Derived noun שגיאה (shegia) means error, and משגה (mishgeh) means mistake.
For a meaning of the name Abishag, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a merciful The Father Wanders. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Father Of Error.