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Abimelech

In Bible versions:

Abimelech: NET AVS NIV NRSV NASB TEV
Ahimelech: NET AVS NIV NRSV NASB TEV
the King of Gerar of Abraham's time
the son of Gideon
king of Gath
priest (Eli Ithamar) of Nob, whom Saul killed; Ahimelech I
a priest, Ahimelech II; son of Abiathar son of Ahimelech I
a man who was part of David's fugitive band; a Hittite

father of the king
my brother is a king; my king's brother

Hebrew

Strongs #040: Klmyba 'Abiymelek

Abimelech = "Melek is father" or "my father is king"

1) king of Gerar in Abraham's time
2) king of Gath in David's time; maybe title of Philistine kings
3) son of Gideon by a concubine
4) priest, son of Abiathar

40 'Abiymelek ab-ee-mel'-ek

from 1 and 4428; father of (the) king; Abimelek, the name of
two Philistine kings and of two Israelites:-Abimelech.
see HEBREW for 01
see HEBREW for 04428

Strongs #0288: Klmyxa 'Achiymelek

Ahimelech = "my brother is king" or "brother of Melek"

1) a priest murdered by Doeg at Saul's command, for supposedly
assisting David
2) a Hittite warrior under David

288 'Achiymelek akh-ee-meh'-lek

from 251 and 4428; brother of (the) king; Achimelek, the name
of an Israelite and of a Hittite:-Ahimelech.
see HEBREW for 0251
see HEBREW for 04428

Abimelech [EBD]

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 (Gen. 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 (Gen. 21:22-34).

(2.) A king of Gerar in the time of Isaac, probably the son of the preceeding (Gen. 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 (Gen. 26:26-31).

(3.) A son of Gideon (Judg. 9:1), who was proclaimed king after the death of his father (Judg. 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 (Judg. 9:50-57).

(4.) The son of Abiathar, and high priest in the time of David (1 Chr. 18:16). In the parallel passage, 2 Sam. 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 Ps. 34. (Comp. 1 Sam. 21:10-15.)

Ahimelech [EBD]

brother of the king, the son of Ahitub and father of Abiathar (1 Sam. 22:20-23). He descended from Eli in the line of Ithamar. In 1 Chr. 18:16 he is called Abimelech, and is probably the same as Ahiah (1 Sam. 14:3, 18). He was the twelfth high priest, and officiated at Nob, where he was visited by David (to whom and his companions he gave five loaves of the showbread) when he fled from Saul (1 Sam. 21:1-9). He was summoned into Saul's presence, and accused, on the information of Doeg the Edomite, of disloyalty because of his kindness to David; whereupon the king commanded that he, with the other priests who stood beside him (86 in all), should be put to death. This sentence was carried into execution by Doeg in the most cruel manner (1 Sam. 22:9-23). Possibly Abiathar had a son also called Ahimelech, or the two names, as some think, may have been accidentally transposed in 2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chr. 18:16, marg.; 24:3, 6, 31.

Abimelech [NAVE]

ABIMELECH
1. King of Gerar, Gen. 20; 21:22-32.
2. King of Gerar, Gen. 26.
3. Son of Gideon, Judg. 8:31; 9; 2 Sam. 11:21.
4. See: Achish; Ahimelech.

Ahimelech [NAVE]

AHIMELECH
A high priest, during the reign of David. Gives consecrated bread and the sword of Goliath to David, 1 Sam. 21; Mark 2:26.
Slain by command of Saul, 1 Sam. 22:9-22.
2. A Hittite, and friend of David, 1 Sam. 26:6.

ABIMELECH [SMITH]

(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 Abraham?s conduct of this occasion to that of his behavior towards Pharaoh. [ABRAHAM] (B.C. 1920.)
  2. Another king of Gerar int he 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 father?s 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)

AHIMELECH [SMITH]

(brother of the king).
  1. Son of Ahitub, (1 Samuel 22:11,12) and high priest of Nob in the days of Saul. He gave David the shew bread to eat, and the sword of Goliath; and for so doing was put to death, with his whole house, by Saul?s order. Abiathar alone escaped. [ABIATHAR] (B.C. 1085-1060.)
  2. A Hittite. (1 Samuel 26:6)

ABIMELECH [ISBE]

ABIMELECH - 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 Ps 34 we find it applied to the king of Gath, elsewhere known by his personal name, Achish (1 Sam 27:2,3). Shortly after the destruction of Sodom Abraham journeyed with his herds and flocks into the extreme Southeast country of Palestine (Gen 20). While sojourning at Gerar, the city of Abimelech, king of the Philistine country, he made believe that Sarah was his sister (Gen 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 (Gen 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 (Gen 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 (Gen 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 (Gen 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 (Gen 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 (Gen 26:26-33). The two kings of Philistia were probably father and son.

(3) The title of Ps 34 mentions another Abimelech, who in all probability is the same as Achish king of Gath (1 Sam 21:10 through 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 Sam 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 (Jdg 9) who aspired to be king after the death of his father, and did rule three years (Jdg 9:22). He first won the support of the members of his mother's family and their recommendation of himself to all Israel (Jdg 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 (Jdg 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 (Jdg 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 (Jdg 9:54). His cruel treatment of the Shechemites (Jdg 9:46-49), when they took refuge from him in their strong tower, was a just judgment for their acquiescence in his crimes (Jdg 9:20,57); while his own miserable death was retribution for his bloody deeds (Jdg 9:56).

(5) A priest in the days of David; a descendant of Ithamar and Eli, and son of Abiathar (1 Ch 18:16). In the Septuagint and in 1 Ch 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 Ch 24:31).

Edward Mack

AHIMELECH [ISBE]

AHIMELECH - a-him'-e-lek ('achimelekh, "brother of a king," or, "my brother is king," or, "king is brother"):

(1) The father of David's high priest Abiathar: son of Ahitub, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli (1 Sam 21:1,2,8; 22:9-20; 23:6; 30:7). Ahijah the son of Ahitub (1 Sam 14:3,18) was either the same person under another name, or was Ahimelech's father or brother. See AHIJAH, 3. Ahimelech is an interesting person, especially because he stands for whatever information we have concerning the priestly office in Israel during the period between Eli and David. Whether the Deuteronomic law for a central sanctuary originated with Moses or not, its provisions were very imperfectly carried out during the times of the Judges. This was particularly the case after the capture of the ark by the Philistines, and the deaths of Eli and his sons. From that time to the middle of the reign of David the ark was in the custody of the men of Kiriath-jearim "in the hill," or "in Gibeah" (1 Sam 7:1; 2 Sam 6:2,3). As a general proposition Israel "sought not unto it" (1 Ch 13:3), though there is nothing to forbid the idea that it may, on occasion, have been brought out from its seclusion (1 Sam 14:18). Before and after the accession of Saul some of the functions of the national sanctuary were transacted, of course very incompletely, at Gilgal (1 Sam 10:8; 11:14,15; 13:7 ff; 15:12,21,33). Whether there was a priesthood, with Ahitub the grandson of Eli as high priest, is a matter on which we have no information; but we may remind ourselves that the common assumption that such men as Samuel and Saul performed priestly offices is nothing but an assumption.

After Saul has been king for a good many years we find Ahijah in his retinue, acting as priest and wearing priestly vestments. A few years later Ahimelech is at the head of the very considerable priestly establishment at Nob. The scale on which it existed is indicated by the fact that 85 robed priests perished in the massacre (1 Sam 22:18). They had families residing at Nob (1 Sam 22:19). They were thought of as priests of Yahweh, and were held in reverence (1 Sam 22:17). It was a hereditary priesthood (1 Sam 22:11,15). Men deposited votive offerings there, the sword of Goliath, for example (1 Sam 21:9). There seems to have been some kind of police authority, whereby a person might be "detained" (1 Sam 21:7). It was customary to inquire of Yahweh there (1 Sam 22:10,15). A distraction was made between the common and the holy (1 Sam 21:4-6). The custom of the shewbread was maintained (1 Sam 21:6). In fine, Jesus is critically correct in calling the place "the house of God" (Mk 2:26). The account does not say that the ark was there, or that the burnt-offering of the morning and evening was offered, or that the great festivals were held. The priestly head of the establishment at Nob is represented to have been the man who had the right to the office through his descent from Aaron. It is gratuitous to assume that there were other similar sanctuaries in Israel, though the proposition that there were none might be, like other negative propositions, hard to establish by positive proof.

(2) A son of Abiathar (2 Sam 8:17; 1 Ch 18:16; 24:6), and grandson of the above. In a list of the heads of departments under David, a list belonging later than the middle of David's 40 years, and in which David's sons appear, this Ahimelech, the son of David's friend, is mentioned as sharing with Zadok a high position in the priesthood. In this capacity, later, he shared with David and Zadok in the apportionment of the priests into 24 ancestral classes, 16 of the house of Eleazar, and 8 of the house of Ithamar (1 Ch 24). In this account Ahimelech is mentioned three times, and with some detail. It is alleged as a difficulty that Abiathar was then living, and was high priest along with Zadok (1 Ch 15:11; 2 Sam 15:29; 19:11; 20:25; 1 Ki 2:27,35; 4:4, etc.). But surely there is no improbability in the affirmation that Abiathar had a son named Ahimelech, or that this son performed prominent priestly functions in his father's lifetime.

Many regard "Ahimelech the son of Abiathar" (Mt gives Ahimelech) as an inadvertent transposition for "Abiathar the son of Ahimelech." This is rather plausible in the passage in 2 Sam 8 and the duplicate of it in 1 Ch 18:16, but it has no application in the detailed account in 1 Ch 24. One must accept Ahimelech the son of Abiathar as historical unless, indeed, one regards the testimony of Ch to a fact as evidence in disproof of that fact.

See ABIATHAR.

(3) A Hittite, a companion and friend of David, when he was hiding from Saul in the wilderness (1 Sam 26:6).

Willis J. Beecher




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