Reference: Handmaid, Handmaiden
These words often refer in scripture to a female slave, as applied to Hagar the Egyptian, Ge 25:12; but were also used by women themselves as a term of humility, as when Hannah spake to Jehovah and to Eli, 1Sa 1:11,16,18; as Abigail to David, 1Sa 25:24-41; and by Mary and Elizabeth as handmaids of the Lord. Lu 1:38,48.
Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore to Abraham.
And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thy handmaid, but wilt give to thy handmaid a male child, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
Count not thy handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.
And she said, Let thy handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thy handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thy audience, and hear the words of thy handmaid. Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thy handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. read more. Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withheld thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thy own hand, now let thy enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. And now this blessing which thy handmaid hath brought to my lord, let it even be given to the young men that follow my lord. I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thy handmaid: for the LORD will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the LORD, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. Yet a man hath risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God; and the souls of thy enemies, them shall he sling out, as from the middle of a sling. And it will come to pass, when the LORD shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel; That this will be no grief to thee, nor offense of heart to my lord, either that thou hast shed blood without cause, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the LORD shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thy handmaid. And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent thee this day to meet me: And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, who hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand. For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, who hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left to Nabal by the morning light any male person. So David received from her hand that which she had brought him, and said to her, Return in peace to thy house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person. And Abigail came to Nabal; and behold, he held a feast in his house, like the feast of a king; and Nabal's heart was merry within him, for he was very drunken: Therefore she told him nothing, less or more, until the morning light. But it came to pass in the morning, when the wine had left Nabal, and his wife had told him these things, that his heart died within him, and he became as a stone. And it came to pass about ten days after, that the LORD smote Nabal, that he died. And when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, Blessed be the LORD, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and hath kept his servant from evil: for the LORD hath returned the wickedness of Nabal upon his own head. And David sent and communed with Abigail, to take her to himself for a wife. And when the servants of David had come to Abigail to Carmel, they spoke to her, saying, David hath sent us to thee, to take thee to him for a wife. And she arose, and bowed herself on her face to the earth, and said, Behold, let thy handmaid be a servant to wash the feet of the servants of my lord.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.