Daily Archives: November 6, 2011

Origin of Abigail, A Lady’s Maid: It’s Downright Biblical!

Ever wondered how the waiting woman got her moniker?  Look no further than the trusty old book called The Bible.

Resource: Chambers’s Encyclopedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge, Volume 1

Handmaid Passage From 1 Samuel 25

18 Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.

19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.

20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down by the covert on the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.

21 Now David had said, Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath requited me evil for good.

22 So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,

24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.

The common use of Abigail as a lady’s maid also appears in  The Scornful Lady, a play from the 1616 by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. 

The male version of Abigail?  Andrew.