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A Biblical alternative to the hot water bottle

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King David’s declining years are movingly described in the first chapter of 1 Kings:

‘King David was now an old man, and he always felt cold, even under a lot of blankets. His officials said, “Your Majesty, we will look for a young woman to take care of you. She can lie down beside you and keep you warm.”’

The person they find is the delightfully named Abishag, from Shunem. She was, apparently, ‘hot’ in both senses of the word.

‘They looked everywhere in Israel until they found a very beautiful young woman named Abishag, who lived in the town of Shunem. They brought her to David, and she took care of him. But David did not have sex with her.’ (1 Kgs 1.1–4)

When teaching on the life of David back in the autumn, it occurred to me that a similar scheme – of human body warmers – would work rather well today. Not only would it reduce youth unemployment, it would remove the need for the pensioners’ winter fuel payment. I must write to that nice Mr Cameron about it.

In the meantime, hotel owners have come up with a similar plan. Clearly the owners of Holiday Inn have been reading their Bible.