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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Phichol

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(Heb. Pikol', פַּיכֹל, of doubtful meaning [see below]; Sept. Φιχώλ v.r. Φικόλ; Josephus Φίκωλος ), the proper, or, more probably, the titular name of the commander of the troops of Abimelech, the Philistine king of Gerar in the patriarchal period. (See ABIMEILECH).

If the Abimelech of the time of Isaac was the son of the Abimelech of the time of Abraham, we may conclude that the Phichol who attended on the second Abimelech (Genesis 21:22) was the successor of the one who was present with the first at the interview with Abraham (Genesis 26:26). Josephus mentions him on the second occasion only. On the other hand the Sept. introduces Ahuzzath, Abimelech's other companion, on the first also. By Gesenius the name is treated as Hebrew, and as meaning the "m mouth of all." By Furst (Heb. Lex. s.v.) it is derived from a root פָּכִל, to be strong. But Hitzig (Philistdaer, § 57) refers it to the Sanscrit pitshula, a tamarisk, pointing out that Abraham had planted a tamarisk in Beersheba. and comparing the name with Elah, Berosus, Tappuach, and other names of persons and places signifying different kinds of trees; and with the name Φίγαλος, a village of Palestine (Josephus, Ant. 12:4, 2), and (Φιγαλία in Greece. Stark (Gaza, etc. page 96) more cautiously avoids such speculations. The natural conclusion from these mere conjectures is that Phichol is a Philistine name, the derivation and meaning of which are lost to us.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Phichol'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/p/phichol.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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