ABISHAI, ɑ̄-bish´ɑ-ɑi: Elder brother of Joab and Asahel
(I Chron. ii. 16); like them the son of Zeruiah, David’s sister (or half-sister
cf. II Sam. xvii. 25, where Zeruiah’s sister Abigail is called
daughter of Nahash; not of Jesse). His father is not mentioned. He was David’s companion
in his time of persecution (I Sam. xxvi. 6 sqq.), saved his
life (II Sam. xxi. 17), and served him faithfully to the end
of his reign. He was the first among the “thirty” in the catalogue of David’s mighty
men (xxiii. 18-19, reading “thirty” instead of “three;” cf. Wellhausen, Der Text
der Bücher Samuelis, Göttingen, 1871, and Klostermann’s commentary on Samuel
ad loc.). While Joab was commander-in-chief Abishai often commanded a division of
the army (against the Ammonites, II Sam. x. 10-14; against
Edom, I Chron. xviii. 12; against Absalom, II Sam.
xviii. 2; against Sheba, II Sam. xx. 6). He was
valiant and true, but severe and passionate toward David’s enemies (cf.
I Sam. xxvi. 8;
II Sam. iii. 30, xvi. 9,