(Abʹi·ha·il) [(My) Father Is Vital Energy].
A name used in the Bible for three men and two women.
1. A man of the tribe of Levi and of the family (or clan) of Merari. He was the father of Zuriel, chieftain of the paternal house of the clan at the time of the Exodus.
2. The wife of Abishur, who was of the tribe of Judah. (1Ch 2:29) She had two sons, Ahban and Molid.
3. A man of the tribe of Gad who settled in Bashan and Gilead. He was the son of Huri and a family chief or head.
4. The daughter of Eliab, David’s oldest brother. (Though the Hebrew word bath [daughter] at 2 Chronicles 11:18 may also mean “granddaughter.”)
The King James Version at 2 Chronicles 11:18 says: “And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse.” This would make Abihail appear to be the second wife of Rehoboam. However, the original Hebrew allows for a different rendering, and hence many modern translations here read: “Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David, and of Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse.” (See RS, AT, JP, NW, JB.) Concerning this, the Soncino Books of the Bible says in a footnote on 2 Chronicles 11:18: “The conjunction is implied. Mahalath was the daughter of Jerimoth and Abihail. Some commentators regard Abihail as the name of another of Rehoboam’s wives.” (Edited by A. Cohen, London, 1952) The singular pronouns used in the following verses (19, 20) support the view that only one wife of Rehoboam is meant in verse 18. It therefore appears most probable that Abihail was the mother of Rehoboam’s wife Mahalath.
5. The father of Queen Esther and a descendant of Benjamin. He was the uncle of Esther’s cousin, Mordecai. (Es 2:5, 15; 9:29) Esther 2:7 indicates that he and his wife died when their daughter Esther was quite young and thus sometime before her marriage to King Ahasuerus.