본문 바로가기
  • Home

Abigail's Men: Rereading I Samuel 25

Yoo,YeonHee(Yani) 1

1감리교신학대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This essay attempts to read the narrative in 2 Samuel 25 where Abigail, Nabal, and David appear from Abigail's point of view. Prior literature has been reading the narrative mostly from the viewpoints of David and Nabal. Feminist interpretations were able to observe the ambiguous and inconsistent descriptions of Abigail but did not offer clear explanations about it. This essay seeks the answer from the patriarchal codes of the narrator: Images of Abigail, sagacious and acting boldly on the one hand and silent and subservient on the other, have to do with the space concepts of inside and outside the house. While discussing the space concept, the essay also argues that contra to general perception, the relationship between Abigail and Nabal was not bad and rather the relationship between Abigail and David was not good. The narrative moves back and forth between two spaces, the house in Carmel and wilderness, bridged by Abigail. The house in Carmel symbolizes richness, safety, sheep shearing, and abundant feast; outside the house, wilderness symbolizes lack of safety, shelter, and food. At her house where she has her husband and servants Abigail shows confidence, makes independent judgments, and commands her servants. She is the subject of seven active verbs when she prepares to go meet David and when she comes back home. Outside the house where she was with David and his soldiers she shows a low profile, self-degradation, fear, and loss of confidence as her identity was defined by others. In fact, when she meets David Abigail is lowered physically and psychologically. The ambiguous characterization of Abigail reflects the typical patriarchal code in which the house is connected to safety for and outside the house to lack of safety. Staying in this code the narrator presents Abigail as an inconsistent figure isolated in a men's world. However, the reader sees Abigail as a survivor at the boundary of two men, two dynasties, and two powers. Abigail will survive despite of ambiguous characterization and the readers' arbitrary readings.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.