Abigail (mother of Amasa)

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Abigail (Hebrew: אֲבִיגַיִל / אֲבִיגָיִל, Modern Avigáyil Tiberian ʾĂḇîḡáyil / ʾĂḇîḡāyil ; "her Father's joy" or "fountain of joy") is a character in the Hebrew Bible She was the mother of Amasa, the commander-in-chief of Absalom's army (2 Sam. 17:25).[1]


2 Samuel 17:25 refers to Abigail as a Zeruiah's sister, and therefore an aunt to Joab. In 1 Chronicles 2:13–16, Abigail and Zeruiah are referred to as sisters to David. It does not explicitly say that they are also daughters of Jesse, and the Masoretic Text of 2 Samuel 17:25 calls Abigail the daughter of Nahash. While it is possible that Jesse's wife had first married to Nahash (and Abigail was David's half-sister), scholars think that Nahash is a typographic error,[2][3] based on the appearance of the name two verses later.[2][4]

In the Book of Chronicles, Amasa's father is Jether the Ishmaelite,[5] but in the Books of Samuel, Amasa's father is Ithra the Israelite; (2 Samuel 17:25) scholars think that the latter case is more likely.[3]

Jon Levenson and Baruch Halpern suggest that Abigail, mother of Amasa may, in fact, be the same Abigail who became David's wife.[6] Richard M. Davidson, however, points out that "on the basis of the final form of the OT canon, references to Abigail in the biblical accounts indicate two different individuals."[7]


  1. ^ Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abigail". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 
  2. ^ a b Peake's commentary on the Bible
  3. ^ a b Jewish Encyclopedia
  4. ^ 2 Samuel 17:27
  5. ^ 1 Chronicles 2:17
  6. ^ Jon D. Levenson and Baruch Halpern, "The Political Import of David's Marriages," JBL 99 [1980] 511–512.
  7. ^ Davidson, Richard M. (2007). Flame of Yahweh: A Theology of Sexuality in the Old Testament. Hendrickson. p. 444.