Abilene [Greek Abilene, so called from Abila, its capital, and that again probably from the Semitic abel, a meadow].
A tetrarchy near Anti-Lebanon. Its capital Abila lay upon the Barada, 18 or 20 miles N. W. from Damascus, in part upon the site of the modern village of es-Suk. There is a romantic gorge, with a Roman road cut in the cliff, a cemetery, a number of tall pillars, a stream below and the so called "tomb of Abel" above. The local tradition that Abel was buried here doubtless originated in the similarity of sound between Abel and Abila.
Of the formation of the tetrarchy Josephus makes no mention. In Luke 3:1 it is referred to as separate from the tetrarchy of Philip, and as governed by Lysanias in the fifteenth year of Tiberius. Some ten years later the two tetrarchies are still distinct; for Caligula, 790 A. U. C., bestowed the "tetrarchy of Philip," now dead, and the "tetrarchy of Lysanias" upon Herod Agrippa, the Herod of the book of Acts (Antiq. 18:6, 10), and Claudius confirmed to him "Abila of Lysanias" (19:5, 1).
There was an Abila in Peraea, east of Gadara, but it is not mentioned in Scripture.