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ABIEZER (Heb.אֲבִיעֶזֶר; "my Father [God] is help," or "my Father [God] is hero"; variant Iezer , Heb. אִיעֶזֶר, Num. 26:30).

(1) A person and a tribal unit of the tribe of *Manasseh in three genealogical lists in the Bible and a clan in the story of *Gideon.

Iezer and the Iezerites head the list of six eponyms and clans, all sons of *Gilead son of *Machir son of Manasseh (Num. 26:29–33). These are depicted as the "rest" of the sons of Manasseh, including Abiezer, who received ten lots west of the Jordan (Josh. 17:1–6). A different genealogy for Manasseh appears in i Chronicles 7:14–19. Abiezer is represented as a person, not a clan, and is a brother of Ish-Hod and Mahlah, who is daughter of *Zelophehad in other lists. All three are children of Hammolecheth, sister of Gilead, but the text is obscure and there is no certainty as to whose sister she was.

The narrative account of the Book of *Judges attests the existence of the clan of the Abiezrites in the 12th century b.c.e. Joash, the father of Gideon, was surnamed "the Abiezrite" (Judg. 6:11) and his town was "*Ophrah of the Abiezrites" (Judg. 6:24, 8:32). Ophrah, a cultic center, has been located by most scholars at al-Ṭayyiba on the heights of Issachar and north of Beth-Shean. When Gideon blew the horn to gather the people, the clan of Abiezer was the first to answer the call. Evidence from another century for the settlement of the Abiezrites in another region is furnished by the *Samaria Ostraca, which contain names of localities and some districts (nos. 13, 28). The districts, among them Abiezer (אבעזר), are all known from the genealogical lists of Manasseh. Two place names mentioned in several ostraca as being connected with Abiezer are the town of Elmatan at Immātīn and Tetel (?) at al-Tell, which have been identified by W.F. *Albright. Both are south and west of Shechem. The biblical data and the epigraphic data about Abiezer have been regarded as evidence for the organic settlement of an ancient tribal unit in a group of adjoining towns. The tradition of the clan and its eponym were preserved, and the latter became the name of a district. The presence of Abiezer in two different regions may indicate a split of the clan during the process of settlement.

(2) Abiezer the Anathothite (from *Anathoth) was a member of "David's Mighty Men" or "the Thirty" (ii Sam. 23:27; i Chron. 11:28). In i Chronicles 27:12 Abiezer the Anathothite is mentioned among the generals of the militia as being in charge of the ninth division for the ninth month.


(1) Aharoni, Land, 315 ff.; em, 5 (1968), 45 ff., s.v. Menasheh; Z. Kallai, Naḥalot Shivtei Yisrael (1967), 44, 144 ff., 355 ff. (2) Y. Yadin, in: J. Liver (ed.), Historyah Ẓeva'it shel Ereẓ Yisrael… (1965), 350 ff. add. bibliography : (1) S. Ahituv, Handbook of Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions (1992), 173, 183.

[Hanna Weiner]