Despite comprising only around 7% of all of the named figures in the Bible, women still stand out with some truly iconic and inspiring representatives. From dark and deceitful trickers like Lilith and Delilah to mistaken tragic figures like Eve, they are all there. Let’s not forget the selfless, pure women like Mary, mother of Jesus; the women of the Bible run the gamut from wicked to angelic. While many of heralded for their chastity and virtue, others are acknowledged for their intelligence and wiles. Some, like rumored sex worker Mary Magdalene, even seem to invert the social realities of the era in which they lived.
Abigail was another esteemed prophetess, alongside only a few other women including Deborah and Esther. Both Christians and Jews revere her as a woman of unfailing faith and great looks. She was routinely depicted as an astonishingly attractive woman, with the Talmud stating she was one of the four great beauties of the world, alongside Sarah, Rahab, and Esther. Abigail was also an incredibly wealthy woman, being first the wife of the wealthy Calebite Nabal and then the wife of the great King David, slayer of Goliath.
Abigail’s story focuses on her first husband, Nabal’s, ingratitude and rude behavior towards David. Abigail attempts to mend her husband’s damage, offering the future king food and urging him to avoid harming Nabal, as then he would “have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed.” After Abigail tells Nabal how she soothed the future king, God struck Nabal dead. David then marries Abigail after seeing her true and calming nature. While Abigail’s story is mostly a framing device for the beginning of King David’s dynasty, it still shows her character as a strong, calming presence who prevents unnecessary bloodshed.