In Shmuel Alef 25:39, David finds out that Naval is dead, and marries Naval's wife Avigayil. Okay, good.

Then, in 27:3, it says:

וַיֵּשֶׁב֩ דָּוִ֨ד עִם־אָכִ֥ישׁ בְּגַ֛ת ה֥וּא וַאֲנָשָׁ֖יו אִ֣ישׁ וּבֵית֑וֹ דָּוִד֙ וּשְׁתֵּ֣י נָשָׁ֔יו אֲחִינֹ֙עַם֙ הַיִּזְרְעֵאלִ֔ית וַאֲבִיגַ֥יִל אֵֽשֶׁת־נָבָ֖ל הַֽכַּרְמְלִֽית:

What? Why is she still called אשת נבל? Naval is dead; she is now David's wife.

This happens again. For example: 30:5, Shmuel Bet 2:2, and 3:3.


Notice that she is indeed called King David's wife. This is an idiomatic way of identifying her. Just as אֲחִינֹ֙עַם֙ הַיִּזְרְעֵאלִ֔ית is identified by where she came from, אֲבִיגַ֥יִל is identified as what she was known as, אֵֽשֶׁת־נָבָ֖ל הַֽכַּרְמְלִֽית. In this case an idiomatic way of saying "who had been married to נבל, and who was known as הַֽכַּרְמְלִֽית"

Note that in Shmuel I, 25:2 we see that Naval's main business was in the Carmel area, even thoug he lived in Maon. When she went to marry David, in 25:40, it says

And David's servants came to Avigayil, to Carmel, and spoke to her saying, "David has sent us to take you to him for a wife."

Had she not been married before, then only the location would have been used.

In this particular case, since she had been married before, the information is included just as we would have in the kesuvah.

Another example would be if the identification was "The red head from Carmel". It is a matter of how she was known by the people around her. In her case she was known and referred to as "Naval's former wife from Carmel".

  • But it also calls Avigayil הכרמלית. – Scimonster Jan 30 '15 at 13:17
  • 2
    Okay, it's an identifier. That doesn't explain why this identifier (curious to my ears and apparently to the asker's too) was used. – msh210 Feb 1 '15 at 3:10
  • @msh210 From the way it shows in the pasuk, it was apparently the way people referred to her as I added to the answer. – sabbahillel Feb 1 '15 at 15:50

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