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Ahinoam (Hebrew: אחינועם‎) is a Hebrew name literally meaning brother of pleasantness, thus meaning pleasant.

There are two references in the Bible to people who bear that name:

  • A daughter of Ahimaaz, who became a wife of Saul[1] and the mother of his four sons and two daughters, one of whom is Michal, David's first wife.
  • A woman from Jezreel, who became David's first wife,[2][3] after he fled from Saul, leaving Michal, his first-ever wife, behind,[4] and the mother of Amnon, David's first-born.[5]

Some scholars suggest that the two may be, in fact, one person. In 2 Samuel 12:8, God tells David through the prophet Nathan, "I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms." Jon Levenson suggests that this implies David took Ahinoam from Saul.

Levenson goes on to note that Ahinoam is always mentioned before Abigail and that she bears David a son before Abigail does, and concludes from this that "she was already married to David when the conflict with Nabal erupted."[6] However, with Jonathan about the same age as, if not older than, David, Ahinoam, the wife of Saul, would be too old to give birth to David's first-born son, Amnon. Another objection is that the marriage of Ahinoam and David occurred during The Civil War between the House of David and the House of Saul.

The term "your master's wives" would actually imply that David inherited Saul's harems, as was common among the kings of ancient time.

Adherents of source criticism suggest that references to a woman called Ahinoam being Saul's wife belong to the account of the republican source of the Books of Samuel,[7] while in the passages ascribed to the monarchial source,[7] the only mention of a woman called Ahinoam is the description of her as a wife of David.


  1. ^ 1 Samuel 14:50
  2. ^ 1 Samuel 25:43
  3. ^ 1 Samuel 27:3
  4. ^ 1 Samuel 19:11
  5. ^ 2 Samuel 3:2
  6. ^ Jon D. Levenson, "1 Samuel 25 as Literature and History," CBQ 40 [1978] 27.
  7. ^ a b Jewish Encyclopedia, Books of Samuel


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