A Philistine king of Gath who reigned during the time of David and Solomon. He was the son of Maoch or Maacah, and in the superscription of Psalm 34 is called Abimelech, perhaps a title similar to Pharaoh or Czar.—1Sa 27:2; 1Ki 2:39.
Twice when David was in flight from Saul he found refuge in the domain of King Achish. On the first occasion, when suspected of being an enemy, David feigned insanity, and Achish let him go as a harmless idiot. (1Sa 21:10-15; Ps 34:Sup; 56:Sup) On the second visit David was accompanied by 600 warriors and their families, and so Achish assigned them to live in Ziklag. During the year and four months that they were there Achish believed that David’s band was making raids on Judean towns, whereas David was actually pillaging the Geshurites, Girzites, and Amalekites. (1Sa 27:1-12) So successful was the deception that Achish actually made David his personal bodyguard when the Philistines were organizing an attack on King Saul, and only at the last moment, upon the insistence of the other “axis lords” of the Philistines, were David and his men sent back to Ziklag. (1Sa 28:2; 29:1-11) When David became king and warred against Gath, Achish apparently was not killed. He lived into Solomon’s reign.—1Ki 2:39-41; see GATH.