January 18, 2013

"Then David said to Abigail 'Blessed is your advice and blessed are you.'"

"Mrs. Phillips chose her pen name herself, taking Abigail after the prophetess in the Book of Samuel... and Van Buren for its old-family, presidential ring."

Pauline Phillips — "Dear Abby" — dead at the age of 94.

14 comments:

edutcher said...

A juicy talker in the tradition of Daffy Duck.

Sadly out of step these days. And it's the days' loss.

David said...

It would be great if she could write one more column now.

Patrick said...

John Prine's "Dear Abby" was the best.

SteveR said...

@Patrick Agree

traditionalguy said...

David was a wild man in those days. He probably got his wild man personalty from his grandmother, Ruth the Moabite. So he needed Abigail's feminine wisdom to calm him down. And he appreciated her wisdom.

tim maguire said...

I read her column for years and enjoyed it, but I didn't pick up on the incredible egotism. I think I'll just rename my blog "The Word of God."

Then maybe I'll get readers.

Joel said...

At risk of being pedantic, there is no "Book of Samuel" in the Bible and Abigail was not a "prophetess". Makes one wonder about the reliability of the rest of the obit.

Chip Ahoy said...

Then David said to Goliath, "You one big ugly mutherfucker." WHAP

Mrs. Phillips chose her pen name herself, taking Goliath after the ugly mutherfucker in the Book of Samuel... and Van Bureau for its old-family wooden cabinet.

Ann Althouse said...

@Joel What, exactly, is wrong?

I'm reading Wikipedia and seeing:

"In the passage from 1 Samuel, Nabal demonstrates ingratitude towards David, and Abigail attempts to placate David in order to stop him taking revenge. She gives him food, and speaks to him, urging him not to "have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed" (verse 31, NIV) and reminding him that God will make him a "lasting dynasty" (verse 28). Jon Levenson calls this an "undeniable adumbration" of Nathan's prophecy in 2 Samuel 7.[4] Alice Bach notes that Abigail pronounces a "crucial prophecy,"[5] and the Talmud regards her as one of the Tanakh's seven female prophets.[6] Levenson, however, suggests that she "senses the drift of history" from intelligence rather than from special revelation.[4]
After Abigail reveals to Nabal what she has done, "Yahweh struck Nabal and he died," (v.38), after which David married her.
The text explicitly describes Abigail as "intelligent and beautiful" (1 Samuel 25:3, NIV, also in the JPS Tanakh). The Talmud amplifies this idea, mentioning her as being one of the "four women of surpassing beauty in the world."[7] In terms of her moral character, Abraham Kuyper argues that Abigail's conduct indicates "a most appealing character and unwavering faith,"[8] but Alice Bach regards her as subversive.[9] Levenson and Halpern suggest that Abigail may, in fact, also be the same person as Abigail, mother of Amasa.[10] Richard M. Davidson, however, points out that "on the basis of the final form of the OT canon, references to Abigail in the biblical accounts indicate two different individuals."[11]"

Paul Zrimsek said...

She was what she was and now she ain't what she ain't.

MadisonMan said...

I thought she had died many years ago.

William said...

I thought the VanBuren name was in reference to advice from a Dutch uncle. Only Millard Fillmore surpasses Martin Van Buren in having a name that is so indicative of mediocrity. I think people who sought advice from Dear Abby were probably the kind of people who could benefit from her advice. I hold the same view towards those who seek help in scientology, yoga or gluten free diets. If you think it helps, it helps.

DADvocate said...

John Prine honored Dear Abby years ago. I wonder if he sang this at her funeral.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJVFY_LX9Ik

Joel said...

@ Prof. Althouse, in the Fundamentalist churches I grew up in the Old Testament prophets were an Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel or perhaps one of the minor prophets like Hosea, Joel, or Obadiah. There were fewer female prophets - Miriam, Deborah, et al. - and they are even less well-known. Abigail usually is not included among them.

The Talmud appears to view it differently.

All that aside, I'm not sure how reminding another person of a prophecy makes the reminder a prophet. Abigail was wise, intelligent, crafty, and beautiful, apparently, but I resist labeling her a prophetess.