So they sought for a fair young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king.
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Once David had been a man of war, but at seventy, age had chilled him so that nothing would make him warm. A girl is accordingly sought from the coasts of Israel—Abishag the Shunammite—to sleep with the king and warm his aged frame. Does it not seem to you—if you keep to the letter that kills—like some farcical story or some broad jest from an Atellan play? A chilly old man is wrapped up in blankets and only grows warm in a girl’s embrace. Bathsheba was still living, Abigail was still left, and the remainder of those wives and concubines whose names the Scripture mentions. Yet they are all rejected as cold, and only in the one young girl’s embrace does the old man become warm. Abraham was far older than David; still, so long as Sarah lived, he sought no other wife. Isaac counted twice the years of David yet never felt cold with Rebekah, old though she was. I say nothing of the antediluvians, who, although after nine hundred years their limbs must have been not old merely, but decayed with age, had no recourse to girls’ embraces. Moses, the leader of the Israelites, counted one hundred and twenty years, yet sought no change from Zipporah.
Who, then, is this Shunammite, this wife and maid, so glowing as to warm the cold, yet so holy as not to arouse passion in him whom she warmed? Let Solomon, wisest of men, tell us of his father’s favorite; let the man of peace recount to us the embraces of the man of war. “Get wisdom,” he writes, “get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve you: love her, and she shall keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom, and with all your getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote you. She shall bring you to honor, when you do embrace her. She shall give to your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to you.”
Almost all bodily excellences alter with age, and while wisdom alone increases, all things else decay.… So even the very name Abishag, in its mystic meaning, points to the greater wisdom of old men. For the translation of it is, “My father is over and above,” or, “my father’s roaring.” The term “over and above” is obscure, but in this passage is indicative of excellence and implies that the old have a larger stock of wisdom and that it even overflows by reason of its abundance. - "Letter 52 (to Nepotian) 2–3"