ABIATHAR (Heb. Ebyathar, “the [divine] father is pre-eminent”), in the Bible, son of Ahimelech or Ahijah, priest at Nob. The only one of the priests to escape from Saul’s massacre, he fled to David at Keilah, taking with him the ephod (1 Sam. xxii. 20 f., xxiii. 6, 9). He was of great service to David, especially at the time of the rebellion of Absalom (2 Sam. xv. 24, 29, 35, xx. 25). In 1 Kings iv. 4 Zadok and Abiathar are found acting together as priests under Solomon. In 1 Kings i. 7, 19, 25, however, Abiathar appears as a supporter of Adonijah, and in ii. 22 and 26 it is said that he was deposed by Solomon and banished to Anathoth. In 2 Sam. viii. 17 “Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech” should be read, with the Syriac, for “Ahimelech, the son of Abiathar.” For a similar confusion see Mark ii. 26.
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