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The ruler of what later became the Philistine city-state Gerar. He made a covenant with Abraham at Beersheba to ensure friendship after a dispute about a well which the servants of Abimelech had seized (Genesis 21:22-34). A similar situation developed years later between Abraham's son, Isaac, and Abimelech, but once again the ownership of disputed wells was amicably settled (Genesis 26:19-33). Misunderstandings loomed at other times, too, involving Abimelech, Abraham, and Isaac over Sarah and Rebekah, wives of the father and son (Genesis 20 and 26:6-11). No serious consequences, however, resulted.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.