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a-bim'-e-lek (father of the king)
Abiathar, Abraham, Gideon, Isaac, Sarah
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Easton's Bible Dictionary

my father a king, or father of a king, A common name of the Philistine kings, as "Pharaoh" was of the Egyptian kings.

(1) The Philistine king of Gerar in the time of Abraham ( Genesis 20:1 - 18 ). By an interposition of Providence, Sarah was delivered from his harem, and was restored to her husband Abraham. As a mark of respect he gave to Abraham valuable gifts, and offered him a settlement in any part of his country; while at the same time he delicately and yet severely rebuked him for having practised a deception upon him in pretending that Sarah was only his sister. Among the gifts presented by the king were a thousand pieces of silver as a "covering of the eyes" for Sarah; i.e., either as an atoning gift and a testimony of her innocence in the sight of all, or rather for the purpose of procuring a veil for Sarah to conceal her beauty, and thus as a reproof to her for not having worn a veil which, as a married woman, she ought to have done. A few years after this Abimelech visited Abraham, who had removed southward beyond his territory, and there entered into a league of peace and friendship with him. This league was the first of which we have any record. It was confirmed by a mutual oath at Beer-sheba ( Genesis 21:22 - 34 ).

(2) A king of Gerar in the time of Isaac, probably the son of the preceeding ( Genesis 26:1 - 22 ). Isaac sought refuge in his territory during a famine, and there he acted a part with reference to his wife Rebekah similar to that of his father Abraham with reference to Sarah. Abimelech rebuked him for the deception, which he accidentally discovered. Isaac settled for a while here, and prospered. Abimelech desired him, however, to leave his territory, which Isaac did. Abimelech afterwards visited him when he was encamped at Beer-sheba, and expressed a desire to renew the covenant which had been entered into between their fathers ( Genesis 26:26 - 31 ).

(3) A son of Gideon ( Judges 9:1 ), who was proclaimed king after the death of his father ( Judges 8:33 - 9:6). ). One of his first acts was to murder his brothers, seventy in number, "on one stone," at Ophrah. Only one named Jotham escaped. He was an unprincipled, ambitious ruler, often engaged in war with his own subjects. When engaged in reducing the town of Thebez, which had revolted, he was struck mortally on his head by a mill-stone, thrown by the hand of a woman from the wall above. Perceiving that the wound was mortal, he desired his armour-bearer to thrust him through with his sword, that it might not be said he had perished by the hand of a woman ( Judges 9:50 - 57 ).

(4) The son of Abiathar, and high priest in the time of David ( 1 Chronicles 18:16 ). In the parallel passage, 2 Samuel 8:17 , we have the name Ahimelech, and Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. This most authorities consider the more correct reading.

(5) Achish, king of Gath, in the title of Psalms 34 . ( Compare 1 Samuel 21:10 - 15 )


Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names

father of the king


Smith's Bible Dictionary

(father of the king ), the name of several Philistine kings, was probably a common title of these kings, like that of Pharaoh among the Egyptians and that of Caesar and Augustus among the Romans. Hence in the title of ( Psalms 34:1 ) ... the name of Abimelech is given to the king, who is called Achish in ( 1 Samuel 21:11 )

(1) A Philistine, king of Gerar, Genesis 20 , 21, who, exercising the right claimed by Eastern princes of collecting all the beautiful women of their dominions into their harem, ( Genesis 12:15 ; Esther 2:3 ) sent for and took Sarah. A similar account is given of Abrahams conduct of this occasion to that of his behavior towards Pharaoh. [ABRAHAM] (B.C. 1920.)

(2) Another king of Gerar in the time of Isaac, of whom a similar narrative is recorded in relation to Rebekah. ( Genesis 26:1 ) etc. (B.C. 1817.)

(3) Son of the judge Gideon by his Shechemite concubine. ( Judges 8:31 ) (B.C. 1322-1319.) After his fathers death he murdered all his brethren, 70 in number, with the exception of Jotham, the youngest, who concealed himself; and he then persuaded the Shechemites to elect him king. Shechem now became an independent state. After Abimelech had reigned three years, the citizens of Shechem rebelled. He was absent at the time, but he returned and quelled the insurrection. Shortly after he stormed and took Thebez, but was struck on the head by a woman with the fragment of a millstone, comp. ( 2 Samuel 11:21 ) and lest he should be said to have died by a woman, he bade his armor-bearer slay him.

(4) A son of Abiathar. ( 1 Chronicles 18:16 )


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

a-bim'-e-lek ('abhimelekh, "father of a king"):

A name borne by five Old Testament persons.

(1) The name of two kings of Philistia; the first was a contemporary of Abraham, the second, probably son of the former, was king in the days of Isaac. It is quite possible that Abimelech was the royal title rather than the personal name, since in the title of Psalms 34 we find it applied to the king of Gath, elsewhere known by his personal name, Achish (1 Samuel 27:2 , 3). Shortly after the destruction of Sodom Abraham journeyed with his herds and flocks into the extreme Southeast country of Palestine (Genesis 20). While sojourning at Gerar, the city of Abimelech, king of the Philistine country, he made believe that Sarah was his sister (Genesis 20:2), and Abimelech took her, intending to make her one of his wives. But God rebuked him in a dream, besides sending barrenness on the women of his household (Genesis 20:3 , 17). After Abimelech had reproved Abraham most justly for the deception, he dealt generously with him, loading him with presents and granting him the liberty of the land (Genesis 20:14 , 15). When contention had arisen between the servants of the two men over the wells of water the two men made a covenant at a well, which took its name, Beersheba, from this fact of covenantmaking (Genesis 21:31 , 32).

(2) Nearly a century later than the events connected with the first Abimelech, as outlined above, a second Abimelech, king of the Philistines, is mentioned in relations with Isaac (Genesis 26), who in time of grievous famine went down from his home, probably at Hebron, to Gerar. Fearing for his life because of his beautiful wife, Rebekah, he called her his sister, just as Abraham had done with reference to Sarah. Neither Abimelech nor any of his people took Rebekah to wife--quite a variation from the Abrahamic incident; but when the falsehood was detected, he upbraided Isaac for what might have happened, continuing nevertheless to treat him most graciously. Isaac continued to dwell in the vicinity of Gerar, until contention between his herdsmen and those of Abimelech became too violent; then he moved away by stages, reopening the wells digged (dug) by his father (Genesis 26:18 - 22). Finally, a covenant was made between Abimelech and Isaac at Beersheba, just ,as had been made between Abraham and the first Abimelech (Genesis 26:26 - 33). The two kings of Philistia were probably father and son.

(3) The title of Psalms 34 mentions another Abimelech, who in all probability is the same as Achish king of Gath (1 Samuel 21:10 - 22:1); with whom David sought refuge when fleeing from Saul, and with whom he was dwelling at the time of the Philistine invasion of Israel, which cost Saul his kingdom and his life (1 Samuel 27). It appears from this that Abimelech was the royal title, and not the personal name of the Philistine kings.

(4) A son of Gideon (Judges 9) who aspired to be king after the death of his father, and did rule three years (Judges 9:22). He first won the support of the members of his mother's family and their recommendation of himself to all Israel (Judges 9:3,4). He then murdered all the sons of his father, seventy in number, at Ophrah, the family home in the tribe of Manasseh, Jotham the youngest son alone escaping (Judges 9:5). After this Abimelech was made ruler by an assembly of the people at Shechem. An insurrection led by Gaal the son of Ebed having broken out in Shechem, Abimelech, although he succeeded in capturing that city, was wounded to death by a mill-stone, which a woman dropped from the wall upon his head, while he was storming the citadel of Thebez, into which the defeated rebels had retreated, after that city also had been taken (Judges 9:50 - 53). Finding that he was mortally wounded and in order to avoid the shame of death at a woman's hand, he required his armor-bearer to kill him with his sword (Judges 9:54). His cruel treatment of the Shechemites (Judges 9:46 - 49), when they took refuge from him in their strong tower, was a just judgment for their acquiescence in his crimes (Judges 9:20,57); while his own miserable death was retribution for his bloody deeds (Judges 9:56).

(5) A priest in the days of David; a descendant of Ithamar and Eli, and son of Abiathar (1 Chronicles 18:16). In the Septuagint and in 1 Chronicles 24 he is called Ahimelech; but is not to be confused with Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar, and therefore his grandfather. He shared with Zadok, of the line of Ithamar, the priestly office in the reign of David (1 Chronicles 24:31).



abimelech, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, king of gath, philistine king of gerar (who returned sarah to abraham), son of abiathar, son of gideon



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