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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Achish

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(Heb. Akish', אָכַישׁ , perhaps angry; Sept. Ἀκχίς v. r. Ἀγχοῦς), a name which, as it is found applied to two kings of Gath, was perhaps only a general title of royalty, like "Abimelech" (q.v.), another Philistine kingly name, with which, indeed, it is interchanged in the title of Psalms 34:1-22.

1. A Philistine king of Gath, with whom David sought refuge from Saul (1 Samuel 21:10-15). By this act he incurred imminent danger; for he was recognised and spoken of by the officers of the court as one whose glory had been won at the cost of the Philistines. This filled David with such alarm that he feigned himself mad when introduced to the notice of Achish, who, seeing him "scrabbling upon the doors of the gate, and letting his spittle fall down upon his beard," rebuked his people sharply for bringing him to his presence, asking, "Have I need of madmen, that ye have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?" B.C. 1061. After this David lost no time in quitting the territories of Gath (see Kitto's Daily Bible Illust. in loc.). This prince is elsewhere called ABIMELECH (See ABIMELECH) (Psalms 34:1-22, title), possibly a corruption for "Achish the king" (אָכַישׁ מֶלֶךְ ). David's conduct on this occasion has been illustrated by the similar proceeding of some other great men, who feigned themselves mad in difficult circumstances as Ulysses (Cic. Off. 3, 26; Hygin. f. 95, Schol. ad Lycophr. 818), the astronomer Meton (AElian, Hist. 13, 12), L. Junius Brutus (Liv. 1, 56; Dion. Hal. 4:68), and the Arabian king Bacha (Schultens, Anth. Vet. Hamasa, p. 535). See MAD.

The same Philistine king of Gath is probably meant by Achish, the son of Maoch, to whom, some time afterward, when the character and position of David became better known, and when he was at the head of not less than 600 resolute adherents, he again repaired with his troop, and by whom he was received in a truly royal spirit, and treated with a generous confidence (1 Samuel 27:1-4), of which David took rather more advantage than was creditable to him by making excursions from the city of Ziklag, which had been assigned him, against the neighboring nomades, under pretense of carrying on depredations upon Judah (1 Samuel 27:5-12), B.C. 1054. In the final conflict with Saul, although the confidence of Achish remained so strong in David that he proposed to appoint him captain of his body-guard, the courtiers revived the old reminiscences against him with such force that the king was compelled to give him leave of absence a circumstance that spared David a participation in the fatal battle (1 Samuel 28:1-2; 1 Samuel 29:2-11), B.C. 1053. (See DAVID).

2. Another king of Gath, the son of Maachah, to whom the two servants of Shimei fled, and thereby occasioned their master the journey which cost him life (1 Kings 2:39-40), B.C. cir. 1012.


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

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