🔼The name Abihail in the Bible
There are two different Hebrew names in the Bible which in translations ended up as the identical name Abihail. We'll call them Abihail I (אביחיל) and Abihail II (אביהיל), and for some not obvious reason, the name Abihail I (אביחיל) is applied solely to men, whereas the name Abihail II (אביהיל) is borne only by women:
🔼The name Abihail I in the Bible
The beautiful name Abihail (אביחיל, possibly pronounced with a ch-like sound, which may have made this name phonetically similar to the name Abigail) is applied to three different men in the Bible:
🔼Etymology of the name Abihail I
The name Abihail consists of two parts. The first part is the Hebrew word אב (ab), meaning father:
The letter yod forms a possessive: my father, or father of, depending on the context.
The second part of the name Abihail comes from the Hebrew word group חול:
🔼Abihail I meaning
The name Abihail may reflect either verb, although it's probably more likely that a Hebrew audience preferred the hail-part to mean "might" rather than "pain".
For a meaning of the name Abihail, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads The Father Is Might. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Father Of Strength.
🔼The name Abihail II in the Bible
The women named Abihail are:
- The wife of Abishur and the mother of Ahban and Molid of the family of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:29).
- Someone associated to the wife of king Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:18).
The exact who and what of the latter is somewhat source of debate. Both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names insist that Abihail is the wife of Rehoboam, but the text seems to suggest that she is the mother of the wife, who's named Mahalath. Mahalath's father is Jerimoth, son of David, and Abihail is a descendant of Eliab, son of Jesse.
🔼Etymology of the name Abihail II
The name Abihail II obviously also starts with אבי (aby), meaning "my father is" or "father of".
The second part of Abihail II could possibly be construed to derive of any of the verbs הלל (halal):
🔼Abihail II meaning
For a meaning of Abihail II, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Father Of Light. NOBSE Study Bible Name List conveniently makes no distinction between the two names.