ab'-i-hal ('abhichayil; in some manuscripts 'abhihayil, when feminine, but best reading is the former:

"father, or cause, of strength"): Five persons in the Old Testament are called by this name:

  1. A Levite and the father of Zuriel, who in the Wilderness was head of the house of Merari, Levi's youngest son (Numbers 3:35);

  2. The wife of Abishur, a man of the tribe of Judah, in the line of Hazron and Jerahmeel (1 Chronicles 2:29);

  3. One of the heads of the tribe of Gad, who dwelt in Gilead of Bashan (1 Chronicles 5:14);

  4. Either a wife of Rehoboam, king of Judah, or mother of his wife Mahalath, according to the interpretation of the text (2 Chronicles 11:18); probably the latter view is correct, since there is no conjunction in the text, and since (2 Chronicles 11:19) contemplates only one wife as already mentioned. This being true, she was the wife of Jerimath, a son of David, and daughter of Eliab, David's eldest brother. It is interesting to note this frequent intermarriage in the Davidic house;

  5. Father of Queen Esther, who became wife of Xerxes (Biblical Ahasuerus) king of Persia, after the removal of the former queen, Vashti, (Esther 2:15; 9:29). He was uncle of Mordecai.

Edward Mack

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'ABIHAIL'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.