In Genesis 26:1

Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines.

Is this the same Abimelech from Genesis 20?


It is highly unlikely that it's the same person, 75 years later. According to the JPS commentary on the Tanakh:

This is a fairly common ancient West Semitic personal name. It appears as ʾabmlk in the Ugaritic texts and as abimilki, king of Tyre, in the El-Amarna correspondence (second half 14th cent. B.C.E.). It also appears as an Israelite name that means “my father is king.”

Sarna, N. M. (1989). Genesis (p. 141). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

There are 67 encounters with an Abimelech from Genesis to 1 Chronicles. I think of it like Pompey, ruler of Egypt who always has a sister/wife named Cleopatra.

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