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“I am very old, and fortunate that someone so lovely as Abishag the Shunammite ministers to me every day. In another minute or two, she will be completed with her preparations and come to my bed. I will treasure the warmth and sweetness of her. You think that makes me happy? You think I’m at peace now with my Maker? Anything but. I am thinking of God now, and I am thinking of Saul. I think of Saul in his wordless gloom and torment every time I came to his chamber to play for him, and I realize as I remember that I never saw a sadder face on human being until a little while ago, when Abishag the Shunammite held a mirror up for me to see and I looked at mine.” — from God Knows, by Joseph Heller
One of my favorite books, God Knows tells the story of King David from his perspective in his age. As Scripture relates, when David was an old man he was unable to stay warm, and so a beautiful young virgin was given to him to minister to him and keep him warm in his bed. In Heller’s book, David appreciates Abishag’s comeliness, but he only feels desire for Bathsheba, whose only desire is for her son Solomon to be king.