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KISH (kĭsh, Heb. qîsh, bow, power)

KISH kĭsh (קִ֣ישׁ). The name of five men in the OT. 1. The father of Saul, who was the first king of Israel (1 Sam 9:1) and a Benjaminite. In 1 Samuel 9:1, Kish is called the son of Abiel, but from other passages it is possible to conclude that Abiel was his grandfather and Ner his father (1 Chron 8:33). Since Abner also is listed as the son of Ner, Abner and Kish would be brothers and, consequently, Abner would be the uncle of Saul.

Another view is that Ner, the father of Abner, was the son of Abiel (1 Sam 14:51) and therefore a brother to Kish, if Abiel was the father of Kish (9:1). In that case Saul and Abner would be cousins.

From the scriptural evidence it is impossible to resolve the problem. However, the latter view necessitates the altering of the text of 1 Chronicles 8:33 and 9:39.

At any rate Kish was a wealthy man (1 Sam 9:1), who owned several asses (9:3). When these asses were lost Saul was sent to find them. He met Samuel in the process and was anointed by him the first king of Israel (10:1). Kish was buried in Zela in the land of Benjamin (2 Sam 21:14).

He is mentioned once in the NT (Acts 13:21) in Paul’s sermon at Antioch of Pisidia.

2. A descendant of Benjamin, the third son of Jeiel of Gibeon (1 Chron 8:30; 9:36).

3. The son of Mahli, a descendant of Levi (23:21, 22). His sons married his brother’s daughters. One of his sons was named Jarahmeel (24:29).

4. A son of Abdi who lived in the days of Hezekiah and who, as one of the priests, was chosen to cleanse the house of the Lord (2 Chron 29:12).

5. An ancestor of Mordecai, the cousin of Esther of the tribe of Benjamin (Esth 2:5).


A. Edersheim, Bible History, IV (1890), 37; W. Albright, From Stone Age To Christianity (1957), 184ff; D. Thomas, Documents From Old Testament Times (1958), 24, 82; E. Young, An Introduction to the Old Testament (1958), 376; J. Gray, Archaeology in the Old Testament (1962), 33.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The name of five persons mentioned in the Bible:

(2) Another Kish is mentioned (1Ch 8:29 f; 9:35 f) as the son of Jeiel and his wife Maacah. He is usually supposed to be the uncle of Saul’s father.

(3) A Levite, the son of Mahli the Merarite (1Ch 23:21 f; compare 24:29).

(4) Another Merarite Levite in the time of Hezekiah (2Ch 29:12).

(5) The great-grandfather of Mordecai, of the tribe of Benjamin (Es 2:5).