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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Hebrew - Abimelech, Abimelech's

(uh bihm' eh lehch) Personal name meaning, “My father is king.” 1. King of Gerar, who took Sarah for himself, thinking she was Abraham's sister rather than his wife (Genesis 20:1). He restored her to Abraham after a nighttime dream of God. 2. Probably the same as 1, a king who disputed the ownership of a well at Beersheba with Abraham and then made a covenant of peace with him (Genesis 21:22-34). 3. King of Philistines at Gerar related to or identical with 1. Isaac lived under his protection and fearfully passed Rebekah, his wife, off as his sister. Abimelech scolded Isaac and warned his people not to touch Rebekah. A dispute over water wells led to Isaac's leaving but finally to a treaty of peace (Genesis 26:1) at Beersheba. 4. Son of Gideon, the judge of Israel (Judges 8:31). Abimelech seized power after his father's death by murdering his brothers and having himself named king by his relatives at Shechem. This provoked Jotham's famous fable (Judges 9:7-21). God provoked Shechem against Abimelech, who defeated an army under Gaal and then recaptured Shechem. When he tried to repeat his tactics against Thebez, a woman threw a stone down on his head and killed him (Judges 9:23-57). Abimelech's fate served as an illustration Joab used to protect himself from David (2 Samuel 11:21). 5. Priest under David with Zadok (1 Chronicles 18:16), but correct reading of text here is probably Ahimelech as in 2 Samuel 8:17. 6. Person mentioned in title of Psalms 34:1, which apparently refers to 1 Samuel 21:10-15, where Achish is David's opponent. Abimelech may have been an official title for Philistine kings.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'ABIMELECH'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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