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Abimelech


Abim’elech (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 Cæsar and Augustus among the Romans. Hence in the title of Ps. 34 the name of Abimelech is given to the king, who is called Achish in 1 Sam. 21:11.

1. A Philistine, king of Gerar, Gen. 20, 21, who, exercising the right claimed by Eastern princes of collecting all the beautiful women of their dominions into their harem, Gen. 12:15; Esther 2:3, sent for and took Sarah. A similar account is given of Abraham’s conduct on 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. Gen. 26:1, etc. (b.c. 1817.)

3. Son of the judge Gideon by his Shechemite concubine. Judg. 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 Sam. 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 Chron. 18:16.