MembersDid Abimelech Identify as a Canaanite or an Israelite?

Biblical figures are still relevant to today’s Israel

By Aviel Schneider |
Photo: Shutterstock

Abimelech. The name means “my father is king.” What father is meant by this? His earthly father – the biblical judge Gideon? Or the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Abimelech was the first in the history of the people of Israel to attempt to establish a monarchy, but failed.

During the time of the judges, between the time of the conquest of the Land by Joshua and the beginning of the rule of kings in Israel, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” During this transitional period, the country was in a state of semi-anarchy, and the tribes of Israel had to learn to get along. It was one thing to survive. Israel had overcome slavery in Egypt, a 40-year Exodus and a long campaign of conquest. But normal coexistence between the tribes turned out to be a more difficult proposition.

And in this context, Abimelech was recently mentioned in the Israeli media. He had tried to seize power in a young state. Did Abimelech feel more like an Israelite or more like a Canaanite? Identity...

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