(France [probably Paris], ca. 1260). 160 x 100 mm. (6 1/4 x 4"). Double column, 43 lines in a fine gothic pearl script.

Attractively matted. Rubrics in red, capitals struck in red, running titles in red and blue, and WITH A SEVEN-LINE HISTORIATED INITIAL DEPICTING AN ATTENDANT BRINGING ABISHAG TO KING DAVID, painted mostly pink and blue and embellished with gold dots. A few contemporary corrections in the margins, recto with some indecipherable later writing in the outer margin. Significant erosion in the faces of the figures in the initial, faint overall toning, otherwise in excellent condition.

Even though the initial here has suffered damaged, one can see the emotional content of the scene very well: a recumbent, decrepit king being presented with a vital helpmate at the end of his life. Abishag was a "Shunammite woman who became nurse to King David . . . . She was chosen for the service with great care on account of her youth and beauty and physical vigor. She ministered to the king, that is, waited on him as personal attendant and nurse. She also 'cherished' him in his feebleness--gave to him through physical contact the advantage of her superabundant vitality. This was a mode of medical treatment recommended by the servants of the king, and it appears to have been not wholly unsuccessful." (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).

Keywords: Bibles