The meaning of Abdon (1) in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
ab'-don ('abhdon, perhaps "service"; Abdon):
(1) A judge of Israel for eight years (Judges 12:13-15). The account says that he was the son of Hillel the Pirathonite, and that he was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim. No mention is made of great public services rendered by him, but it is said that he had seventy well-mounted sons and grandsons. So far as we can judge, he was placed in office as a wealthy elderly man, and performed the routine duties acceptably. Very likely his two next predecessors Ibzan and Elon were men of the same type.
An effort has been made to identify Abdon with the Bedan mentioned in I Samuel 12:11, but the identification is precarious.
A certain importance attaches to Abdon from the fact that he is the last judge mentioned in the continuous account (Jdg. 2:6 through 13:1) in the Book of Jgs. After the account of him follows the statement that Israel was delivered into the hands of the Philistines forty years, and with that statement the continuous account closes and the series of personal stories begins—the stories of Samson, of Micah and his Levite, of the Benjamite civil war, followed in our English Bibles by the stories of Ruth and of the childhood of Samuel. With the close of this last story (I Samuel 4:18) the narrative of public affairs is resumed, at a point when Israel is making a desperate effort, at the close of the forty years of Eli, to throw off the Philistine yoke. A large part of one's views of the history of the period of the Judges will depend on the way in which he combines these events. My own view is that the forty years of Judges 13:1 and of I Samuel 4:18 are the same; that at the death of Abdon the Philistines asserted themselves as overlords of Israel; that it was a part of their policy to suppress nationality in Israel; that they abolished the office of judge, and changed the high-priesthood to another family, making Eli high priest; that Eli was sufficiently competent so that many of the functions of national judge drifted into his hands. It should be noted that the regaining of independence was signalized by the reestablishment of the office of judge, with Samuel as incumbent (I Samuel 7:6 and context). This view takes into the account that the narrative concerning Samson is detachable, like the narratives that follow, Samson belonging to an earlier period.
(2) The son of Jeiel and his wife Maacah (I Chronicles 8:30; I Chronicles 9:36). Jeiel is described as the "father of Gibeon," perhaps the founder of the Israelirish community there. This Abdon is described as brother to Ner, the grandfather of King Saul.
(3) One of the messengers sent by King Josiah to Huldah the prophetess (II Chronicles 34:20); called Achbor in II Kings 22:12.
(4) One of many men of Benjamin mentioned as dwelling in Jerusalem (I Chronicles 8:23), possibly in Nehemiah's time, though the date is not clear.
Willis J. Beecher
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