(E·liʹab) [God is a father].
1. Son of Helon of the tribe of Zebulun; one of the twelve chieftains designated by Jehovah to aid Moses and Aaron in numbering the sons of Israel for the army. (Num. 1:1-4, 9, 16) Eliab was over the army of his tribe, which was a part of the three-tribe division of the camp of Judah. (Num. 2:3, 7; 10:14-16) In addition to sharing in the group presentation made by the chieftains after the setting up of the tabernacle, chieftain Eliab thereafter represented his tribe individually in presenting an offering on the third day for the inauguration of the altar.—Num. 7:1-3, 10, 11, 24-29.
2. Son of Pallu of the tribe of Reuben; father of Nemuel. Eliab’s other sons, Dathan and Abiram, supported Korah in his rebellion against Moses and were swallowed up along with their households by the miraculous opening up of the earth.—Num. 16:1, 12; 26:8-10; Deut. 11:6.
4. The firstborn of King David’s father Jesse. (1 Sam. 17:13; 1 Chron. 2:13) Eliab’s appearance and the height of his stature so impressed Samuel that he concluded this one was God’s choice for the kingship. Jehovah, though, had rejected Eliab and selected David.—1 Sam. 16:6-12.
Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah, the three oldest sons of Jesse, were in Saul’s army at the time the Philistine champion Goliath directed his challenge to the men of Israel. Shortly before Goliath again came up from the battle lines of the Philistines to taunt Israel, David, having been sent by his father, arrived on the scene with provisions of food for his three brothers. Angered greatly by David’s making inquiry among the Israelite warriors about the reward to be received by the one striking down Goliath, Eliab lashed out against David, suggesting that he was negligent in caring for his shepherding duties and accusing him of being presumptuous and having a bad heart. (This account about David’s errand and Eliab’s anger is omitted by the Vatican Manuscript No. 1209.)—1 Sam. 17:13, 17, 26-28.
Much later David’s son Jerimoth, it seems, married Abihail the daughter of Eliab.—2 Chron. 11:18.
5. One of the Gadites who attached themselves to David while he was still under restriction because of King Saul. The Gadites are described as “valiant, mighty men,” with the least one being equal to a hundred, and the greatest to a thousand.—1 Chron. 12:1, 8, 9, 14.