1. The personal name or official title of a king of Gerar, at whose court Abraham at tempted to pass Sarah off as his sister (Gen. 20:1-18). The king and the patriarch at a later period entered into a covenant with each other (21:22-34).
2. A king of the Philistines at Gerar. at whose court Isaac attempted to pass off Rebekah as his sister, and with whom he also, like his father, at last formed a covenant (Gen. 26:1-33).
3. The son of the judge Gideon by a concubine. This woman was a native of Shechem, where her family had influence. One natural penalty of polygamy is that the sons by one mother tend fiercely to quarrel with those by another; and Abimelech, obtaining assistance from his mother's relatives, killed seventy sons of his father on one stone at Ophrah, the native city of the family. One son only, Jotham, escaped from the massacre. Then Abimelech was elected king of Shechem. Before he had ruled three years he and his subjects were at variance, and his throne, founded in blood, had begun to totter. A plot against him was formed by Gaal. It came to the ears of Zebul, Abimelech's second in command. Gaal was defeated and driven out of Shechem, the city being afterwards destroyed and sowed with salt. A thousand men and women who had taken refuge in its tower were burnt to death. When Abimelech shortly afterwards was besieging Thebez, he was mortally wounded by a millstone dropped on his head from the city wall by a woman. Regarding it as dishonorable to be killed by a female, he ordered his armor-bearer to draw his sword and slay him, which he did (Judg. 9:1-57).