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ABDON (ăb'dŏn, Heb. ‘avdôn, meaning uncertain, may be servant, service, or servile)

One of the judges of Israel—the eleventh one mentioned. Nothing is said about his rule except that he judged Israel for eight years (Judg.12.13-Judg.12.15). Josephus says that his reign was a peaceful one, and therefore “he had no occasion to perform glorious actions” (Antiq. 5.7.15).One of the sons of Shashak, a Benjamite, living in Jerusalem (1Chr.8.23, 1Chr.8.28).The son of Jeiel of Gibeon (1Chr.8.30; 1Chr.9.35-1Chr.9.36).An official of King Josiah, sent by him to Huldah the prophetess (2Chr.34.20; called Acbor in 2Kgs.22.12).

ABDON. One of four Levitical cities in the tribe of Asher (Josh.21.30; 1Chr.6.74). It may be the same as “Hebron” in Josh.19.28. Now called Abdeh, near the Mediterranean and about fifteen miles (twenty-five km.) south of Tyre.

ABDON ăb’ dŏn (עַבְדֹּ֥ון, servant, service or servile). 1. A son of Hillel, the eleventh mentioned judge of Israel in the Book of Judges. Abdon “judged” Israel eight years, prob. from Pirathon in the hill country of Ephraim. His “forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy asses” prob. signify the wealth and prominence of his family. Abdon was buried in Pirathon (Judg 12:13-15).

2. The oldest son of Jeiel and Maacah (Jehiel KJV) of Gibeon, in the two lists of Saul’s genealogy (1 Chron 8:30; 9:36). (See Abiel.)

3. One of King Josiah’s officials sent by him to inquire of Huldah the prophetess (2 Chron 34:20ff.), after the book of the law of the Lord was read before him; called Achbor in 2 Kings 22:12.

4. One of the sons of Shashak, a Benjamite living in Jerusalem, prob. in Nehemiah’s time (1 Chron 8:23, 28).

5. One of the four Levitical towns in the territory of Asher, prob. located at modern Khirbet Abdah about fifteen m. S of Tyre. Perhaps to be identified with the Hebron of Joshua 19:28 KJV (Josh 21:30; 1 Chron 6:74).

ABDON ăb’ dŏn (עַבְדֹּ֖ון, servant [of God], diminutive). A town in the territory of Asher assigned, with its environs, to the Levites of the Gershon family (Josh 21:27-30). It is perhaps to be identified with Khirbet ‘Abdeh, 10 m. NNE of Acre.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(`abhdon, perhaps "service"; Abdon):

(1) A judge of Israel for eight years (Jud 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 1Sa 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 (Jud 2:6-13:1) 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 Ru and of the childhood of Samuel. With the close of this last story (1Sa 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 Jud 13:1 and of 1Sa 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 (1Sa 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. See Samson.

(2) The son of Jeiel and his wife Maacah (1Ch 8:30; 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 (2Ch 34:20); called Achbor in 2Ki 22:12.

(4) One of many men of Benjamin mentioned as dwelling in Jerusalem (1Ch 8:23), possibly in Nehemiah’s time, though the date is not clear.

Willis J. Beecher

One of the four Levitical cities in the tribe of Asher (Jos 21:30; 1Ch 6:74). Probably the same with Ebron (in the King James Version "Hebron") in Jos 19:28, where some copies have the reading Abdon. Now called Abdeh, a few miles from the Mediterranean and about fifteen miles south of Tyre.