1 Samuel 12:12-13 NASB

12 When you saw that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon came against you, you said to me, 'No, but a king shall reign over us,' although the Lord your God was your king. 12 Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has set a king over you.

But in 2 Samuel 17:25 (NIV), it's said that that same Abigail (both having a son named Amasa with an Ishmaelite named Jether; both having a sister named Zeruiah with a son named Joab) was the daughter of "Nahash":

Absalom had appointed Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son of Jether, an Ishmaelite who had married Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab.

  • One complication in the second tree is that Abigail and Zeruiah are elsewhere called sisters of David (1 Chronicles ch2 vv16-17) Feb 10, 2023 at 8:21
  • 1
    Does this directly contradict any other statement? This was actually among the reasons I got interested in this issue.
    – grammaplow
    Feb 10, 2023 at 13:06
  • 2
    No, not necssarily. I just thought it made the puzzle more interesting, not realising that you were pursuing that point already. Feb 10, 2023 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


Within the Bible, we will find several individuals with the same name seen in multiple locations or times. Just because the name is the same does not mean that they are the same person. For example, we have Joseph, the son of Jacob and the father of Jesus. Of course, these two individuals lived in two significantly different time periods.

In the topic of "Nahash" in the Insight on the Scriptures, helps us to see the differences:

  1. King of the Ammonites at the time Saul began his reign. —1 Samuel 12:11, 12 ...
  2. The father of David’s sister or half sister Abigail and possibly the father of Zeruiah. ... (2 Samuel 17:25)

The most significant clue is in the reference to the first Nahash as "King of the Ammonites". Jehovah God strictly forbade the entry of Ammonites and Moabites from inclusion into the nation of Israel. (Deuteronomy 23:3-6)

As to the second Nahash, the article notes that there are some irreconcilable facts which then posits three possibilities:

  1. Nahash was a woman, Jesse's wife
  2. Nahash was another name for Jesse
  3. Nahash was a former husband of Jesse’s wife

So, no, the Nahash from 1 Samuel is not the same as the Nahash from 2 Samuel.

  • 1
    Thank you for your informative answer. David says himself that he was conceived in sin. Psalm 51:5 ESV "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." Then couldn’t his mother have had relations with Nahash as you pointed in your 3rd possibility regardless of what the mosaic law says?
    – grammaplow
    Nov 3, 2023 at 7:26
  • Romans 3:23 "All have sinned." Does this mean that all women were unfaithful to their husbands? No. So saying that David's mother had relations with Nahash is speculative.
    – agarza
    Nov 3, 2023 at 13:32
  • 1
    OK, so I just propose that you entertain the theory that David specifically points out there that he was conceived outside of the wedlock. That Christian argument (from Romans) may or may not be applicable to invalidate that theory from the get go, even if we assume it was the general understanding of the nature of the sin by David himself.
    – grammaplow
    Nov 4, 2023 at 4:23
  • Please check this more explicit handling of this topic here hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/85984/44739
    – grammaplow
    Nov 4, 2023 at 4:44
  • 1
    The verse Psalm 51:5 from the Septuagint (LXX) in Greek is: "ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἐν ἀνομίαις συνελήφθην, καὶ ἐν ἁμαρτίαις ἐκύησέν με ἡ μήτηρ μου." So the conception συνελήφθην was unlawful - ἀνομίαις, and sin - ἁμαρτίαις refers to the birth itself. Unlawful is a different concept from sin in the sense that laws themselves can be immoral. Hope this helps.
    – grammaplow
    Nov 4, 2023 at 9:40

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