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ABIHAIL (ăb'i-hāl, Heb. ’ăvîhayil, the father is strength)

A Levite, the father of Zuriel, who in the wilderness was the head of the house of Merari (Num.3.25).The wife of Abishur of the tribe of Judah (1Chr.2.29).A Gadite who lived in Gilead of Bashan (1Chr.5.14).The wife of Rehoboam, king of Judah. She was a daughter of Eliab, David’s oldest brother (2Chr.11.18).The father of Queen Esther (Esth.2.15; Esth.9.29).

ABIHAIL ăb’ ə hāl (אֲבִיהָ֑יִל, the [my] father is strength or strong father). In 1 Chronicles 2:29 and 2 Chronicles 11:18 the name is spelled with ה rather than ח. Since a Massoretic note attests this variance, the change to ה is prob. a pre-Massoretic mistake. 1. The father of Zuriel who was head of the house of Merari, youngest son of Levi (Num 3:35).

2. The wife of Abishur of Judah, a Jerahmeelite (1 Chron 2:29).

3. A man of the tribe of Gad who lived in Gilead in Bashan (1 Chron 5:14).

4. Wife and cousin of Jerimoth and mother of Mahalath a wife of Rehoboam. Ambiguity in the text (2 Chron 11:18) might suggest Abihail as another wife of Rehoboam. The next two vv., however, have only one wife in view in v. 18.

5. Father of Queen Esther and uncle of Mordecai (Esth 2:15; 9:29).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

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 (Nu 3:35);

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

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

(4) Either a wife of Rehoboam, king of Judah, or mother of his wife Mahalath, according to the interpretation of the text (2Ch 11:18); probably the latter view is correct, since there is no conjunction in the text, and since (2Ch 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, (Es 2:15; 9:29). He was uncle of Mordecai.