Nabal, your husband, is a rebel against the throne, as David had already been anointed as king by the prophet Samuel, and Nabal refused his orders. And therefore there is no need to try him, as a rebel is not accorded the ordinary prescriptions governing judicial proceedings. Abigail said to him: You lack the authority to act in this manner, as Saul is still alive. He is the king in actual practice, and your seal [tivakha] has not yet spread across the world, i.e., your kingship is not yet known to all. Therefore, you are not authorized to try someone for rebelling against the monarchy. David accepted her words and said to her: “And blessed be your discretion and blessed be you who have kept me this day from coming to bloodguiltiness [damim]” (I Samuel 25:33).
The Gemara asks: The plural term damim, literally, bloods, indicates two. Why did David not use the singular term dam? Rather, this teaches that Abigail revealed her thigh, and he lusted after her, and he went three parasangs by the fire of his desire for her, and said to her: Listen to me, i.e., listen to me and allow me to be intimate with you. Abigail then said to him: “Let this not be a stumbling block for you” (I Samuel 25:31). By inference, from the word “this,” it can be understood that there is someone else who will in fact be a stumbling block for him, and what is this referring to? The incident involving Bathsheba. And in the end this is what was, as indeed he stumbled with Bathsheba. This demonstrates that Abigail was a prophetess, as she knew that this would occur. This also explains why David blessed Abigail for keeping him from being responsible for two incidents involving blood that day: Abigail’s menstrual blood and the shedding of Nabal’s blood.
Apropos Abigail, the Gemara explains additional details in the story. Abigail said to David: “Yet the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bond of life with the Lord your God” (I Samuel 25:29), and when she parted from him she said to him: “And when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, and you shall remember your handmaid” (I Samuel 25:31).
Rav Naḥman said that this explains the folk saying that people say: While a woman is engaged in conversation she also holds the spindle, i.e., while a woman is engaged in one activity she is already taking steps with regard to another. Abigail came to David in order to save her husband Nabal, but at the same time she indicates that if her husband dies, David should remember her and marry her. And indeed, after Nabal’s death David took Abigail for his wife. Some say that Rav Naḥman referred to a different saying: The goose stoops its head as it goes along, but its eyes look on from afar to find what it is looking for. So too, Abigail acted in similar fashion.
Huldah was a prophetess, as it is written: “So Hilkiah the priest and Ahikam and Achbor and Shaphan and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess” (II Kings 22:14) as emissaries of King Josiah. The Gemara asks: But if Jeremiah was found there, how could she prophesy? Out of respect for Jeremiah, who was her superior, it would have been fitting that she not prophesy in his presence. The Sages of the school of Rav say in the name of Rav: Huldah was a close relative of Jeremiah, and he did not object to her prophesying in his presence.
The Gemara asks: But how could Josiah himself ignore Jeremiah and send emissaries to Huldah? The Sages of the school of Rabbi Sheila say: Because women are more compassionate, and he hoped that what she would tell them would not be overly harsh.
Rabbi Yoḥanan said a different answer: Jeremiah was not there at the time, because he went to bring back the ten tribes from their exile. And from where do we derive that he brought them back? As it is written: “For the seller shall not return to that which he has sold” (Ezekiel 7:13), i.e., Ezekiel prophesied that in the future the Jubilee Year would no longer be in effect. Now is it possible that the Jubilee had already been annulled? The halakhot of the Jubilee Year apply only when all of the tribes of Israel are settled in their respective places, which could not have happened since the exile of the ten tribes more than a century earlier, but the prophet is prophesying that it will cease only in the future. Rather, this teaches that Jeremiah brought back the ten tribes from their exile.
And Josiah the son of Amon ruled over the ten tribes, as it is written: “Then he said: What monument is that which I see? And the men of the city told him, It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and proclaimed these things that you have done against the altar of Bethel” (II Kings 23:17). Now what connection did Josiah, king of Judea, have with the altar at Bethel, a city in the kingdom of Israel? Rather, this teaches that Josiah ruled over the ten tribes of Israel. Rav Naḥman said: Proof that the tribes returned may be adduced from the verse here: “Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you, when I would return the captivity of My people” (Hosea 6:11), which indicates that they returned to their places.
Esther was also a prophetess, as it is written: “And it came to pass on the third day that Esther clothed herself in royalty” (Esther 5:1). It should have said: Esther clothed herself in royal garments. Rather, this alludes to the fact that she clothed herself with a divine spirit of inspiration. It is written here: “And she clothed herself,” and it is written elsewhere: “And the spirit clothed Amasai” (I Chronicles 12:19). Just as there the reference is to being enclothed by a spirit, so too Esther was enclothed by a spirit of divine inspiration.
An additional point is mentioned with regard to the prophetesses. Rav Naḥman said: Haughtiness is not befitting a woman. And a proof to this is that there were two haughty women, whose names were identical to the names of loathsome creatures. One, Deborah, was called a hornet, as her Hebrew name, Devorah, means hornet; and one, Huldah, was called a marten, as her name is the Hebrew term for that creature. From where is it known that they were haughty? With regard to Deborah, the hornet, it is written: “And she sent and called Barak” (Judges 4:6), but she herself did not go to him. And with regard to Huldah, the marten, it is written: “Say to the man that sent you to me” (II Kings 22:15), but she did not say: Say to the king.
Furthermore, Rav Naḥman said: Huldah was a descendant of Joshua. An allusion to this is written here: “Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum, the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas [ḥarḥas]” (II Kings 22:14), and it says elsewhere with regard to Joshua: “And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres [ḥeres]” (Judges 2:9), therefore intimating that there is a certain connection between them.
Rav Eina the Elder raised an objection from a baraita to Rav Naḥman’s teaching. The baraita indicates that Huldah was in fact a descendant of Rahab, and seemingly not of Joshua: Eight prophets, who were also priests, descended from Rahab the prostitute, and they are: Neriah; his son Baruch; Seraiah; Mahseiah; Jeremiah; his father, Hilkiah; Jeremiah’s cousin Hanamel; and Hanamel’s father, Shallum. Rabbi Yehuda said: So too, Huldah the prophetess was a descendant of Rahab the prostitute, as it is written here with regard to Huldah: “The son of Tikvah,” and it is written elsewhere in reference to Rahab’s escape from the destruction of Jericho: “This cord of [tikvat] scarlet thread” (Joshua 2:18).
Rav Naḥman responded to Eina the Elder and said to him: Eina the Elder, and some say that he said to him: Blackened pot, i.e., my colleague in Torah, who has toiled and blackened his face in Torah study, from me and from you the matter may be concluded, i.e., the explanation lies in a combination of our two statements. For Rahab converted and married Joshua, and therefore Huldah descended from both Joshua and Rahab. The Gemara raises a difficulty: But did Joshua have any descendants? But isn’t it written in the genealogical list of the tribe of Ephraim: “Nun his son, Joshua his son” (I Chronicles 7:27)? The listing does not continue any further, implying that Joshua had no sons. The Gemara answers: Indeed, he did not have sons, but he did have daughters.