ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia

Who is…

also known as: Abimelek

Hebrew: אֲבִימֶ֫לֶך

Meaning: my father a king, or father of a king

This is the name of 5 biblical men; 4 were kings. This was the common name for Philistine kings, as was the name “Pharaoh” for Egyptian kings.

  1. Abimelech, 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 practiced 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. Abimelech, 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. However, King Abimelech desired that he leave his territory, which Isaac did.

    Later, Abimelech 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. Abimelech, 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, 70 in number, “on one stone,” at Ophrah. Only 1 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 millstone, thrown by the hand of a woman from the wall above. Perceiving that the wound was mortal, he asked his armor-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. Abimelech, 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. Abimelech (aka Achish), king of Gath, in the title of Psalms 34

    David sought refuge with him (1 Samuel 21:10-15).

Article Version: October 12, 2017