And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Kings 1:4. The king knew her not — Did not enjoy her as his wife, but she remained still a virgin: which is mentioned to signify the continuance and progress of the king’s malady. 1 Kings 2:17.
and cherished the king; enlivened his spirits by her amiable countenance, her graceful behaviour, and tender care of him, and especially by bedding with him:
and ministered to him; serving him with her own hands whatever he took for his sustenance:
but the king knew her not; as a man knows his wife; which shows that she was his wife, and that it would not have been criminal in him had he known her; but this is observed, not to point at the chastity of David, but his feebleness, and loss of desire after women, and that the damsel remained a virgin; and that was the ground of Adonijah's request, and his hope of succeeding.And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. cherished the king] Being always at hand to perform, as his nurse, such duties as the weak condition of king David needed.
knew her not] These words seem added to explain how it came to pass that Adonijah afterwards could ask her for his wife. (1 Kings 2:17.)Verse 4. - And the damsel was very fair [lit. ,fair to exceeding] and cherished [see on ver. 2] the king, and ministered to him; but the king knew her not. [This is mentioned to explain the history of 1 Kings 2:13-25. Had it been otherwise, Adonijah could never have presumed to seek her in marriage, and Bathsheba would never have promised her help in his suit. Such an incestuous alliance would not only have been contrary to the law (Leviticus 18:8), but abhorrent to all true Israelites (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:1). In this fact, which the court knew, and which the nation at large did not know - they could only suppose that such a "search" for one so exceeding "fair" meant the increase of the seraglio - Adoni-jah found his point d'appui for a second attempt on the throne. The older expositors and some of the modern, notably Wordsworth, assume that Abishag was David's wife, in the sense of being legally married to him. (Corn. A Lap. discusses the question at considerable length, and with needless pruriency.) But this idea finds no support in Scripture, which represents her as simply an attendant. It is idle to remark, consequently, that "the Jewish law allowed polygamy" (Rawlinson). 2 Samuel 15:4, 2 Samuel 15:25, 2 Samuel 15:27). "Jehovah thy God accept thee graciously," i.e., fulfil the request thou presentest to Him with sacrifice and prayer.
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