ABEDNEGO (a-bbd-ne-go' or a-becl'ne-go), ab-ade'nego', servant of Nego, i. e., Nebo) ; the Chaldee name imposed by the king of Babylon's officer upon Azariah, one of the three companions of Daniel. With his two friends, Shadrach and Meshach, he was miraculously de livered from the burning furnace, into which they were cast for refusing to worship the golden statue which Nebuchadnezzar had caused to be set up in the plain of Dura (Dan. iii).
Some have supposed this Azariah to be Ezra, but without sufficient grounds, for Ezra was a priest of the tribe of Levi (Ezra vii :5), while this Azariah was of the royal blood and consequently of Judah (Dan. i :3, 6), B. C. about 6o6.
ABEL (a be.), (Heb. heh-bel, properly He bel, a breath), the second son of Adam and Eve.
(1) Personal History. Cain and Abel having been instructed by their father Adam in the duty of worship to their Creator, each offered the first fruits of his labors. Cain, as a husbandman, offered the fruits of the field ; Abel, as a shepherd, offered fatlings of his flock. God was pleased to accept the offering of Abel, in preference to that of his brother (Heb. xi :4), in consequence of which Cain sank into melancholy, and, giving him self up to envy, formed the design of killing Abel ; which he at length effected, having invited him to go into the field (Gen. iv:8, 9; i John iii :12). It should be remarked that in our translation no mention is made of Cain inviting his brother into the field : 'Cain talked with Abel, his brother ; and it came to pass when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and slew him.' But in the Samaritan text the words are express ; and in the Hebrew there is a kind of chasm, thus : 'and Cain said unto Abel his brother,'—`and it came to pass,' etc., without in serting what he said to his brother.
(2) Jewish Tradition.. The Jews had a tra dition that Abel was murdered in the plain of Damascus; and accordingly his tomb is still shown on a high hill, near the village of Sinie or Seneiah, about twelve miles northwest of Damascus, on the road to Baalbek. The summit of the hill is still called AT ebbi Abel; but circumstances lead to the probable supposition that this was the site, or in the vicinity of the site, of the ancient Abela or Abila The legend, therefore, was most likely suggested by the ancient name of the place.
(3) Two-Fold Interpretation. To the name Abel a t o-fold interpretation has been given. Its plimary signification is 'weakness or vanity, as the word Abel, from which it is derived, indicates. By another rendering it signifies grief or lamenta tion, both meanings being justified by the Scrip ture narrative. Cain (a possession) was so named to indicate both the joy of his mother and his right to the inheritance of the firstborn; Abel re ceived a name indicative of his weakness and pov erty when compared with the supposed glory of his brother's destiny, and prophetically of the pain and sorrow which were to be inflicted on him and his parents.
(4) Faith. Paul, speaking in commendation of Abel, says (Heb. xi:4) : 'By faith he offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain ; by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it he being dead yet speaketh,' even after his death. Our Savior places Abel at the head of those saints who had been persecuted for righteousness' sake, and distinguishes him by the title righteous (Matt. xxiii :35; comp. I John iii:t2). It is prob
able that there was some command of God in reference to the rite of sacrifice with which Abel complied, and which Cain disobeyed. Abel by his faith was justified, or accepted as righteous. Cain had no faith; his offering was not expressive of this principle. He proudly rejected the ordinance of sacrifice. (See SACRIFICE.) (5) Conjectures. Ancient writers abound in observations on the mystical character of Abel, and he is spoken of as the representative of the pastoral tribes, while Cain is regarded as the au thor of the nomadic life and character. St. Chrysostom calls him the Lamb of Christ, since he suffered the most grievous injuries solely on account of his innocency (Ad Siagir. ii :5) ; and he directs particular attention to the mode in which Scripture speaks of his offerings, consisting of the best of his flock, and of the fat thereof, while it sceems to intimate that Cain presented the fruit which might be most easily procured (Horn, in Gen. xviii:5). St. Augustine, speaking of regen eration, alludes to Abel as representing the new or spiritual man in contradistinction to the natural or corrupt man, and says, 'Cain founded a city on earth, but Abel as a stranger and pilgrim looked forward to the city of the saints, which is in heaven' (Dc Civitotc Dei, xv :1). Abel, he says in another place, was the first fruits of the Church, and was sacrificed in testimony of the future Mediator. And in Ps. cxviii (Scan. xxx, sec. 9) lie says: 'this city' (that is, the city of God') has its beginning from Abel, as the wicked city from Cain.' Irenams says that God, in the case of Abel subjected the just to the unjust, that the righteousness of the former might be manifested by what he suffered (Contra Nacres.
ABEL (a'bcl), (I kb. Batt, aw-hale', a grassy place or meadow).
Name of several villages in Israel, with addi tions in the case of the more important, to dis tinguish them from one another. From a com parison of the Arabic and Syriac, it appears to mean fresh grass: and the places so named may be conceived to have been in peculiarly verdant situations. In I Sam. vi :18 it is used as an ap pellative, and probably signifies a grassy plain, instead, as is usually supposed, of a great stone on which the Philistines set the ark.
(a'bel-bcth-mA'a meadow of the house of oppression).
A place in the north of Palestine, which seems to have been of con,idcrable strength from its his tory, and of importance from its being called 'a mother in Israel' (2 Sam. xx :19). The identity of the city under these different names will be seen by a comparison of 2 Sam. xx :14, t5, 18; Kings xv :2o; 2 Chron. xv1:4. The addition of 'Maacah' marks it as belonging to, or being near to, the region Maacah, which lay eastward of the Jordan under Mount Lebanon. This is the town in which Sheba posted himself when he rebelled against David. Eighty years afterwards it was taken and sacked by Benhadad, king of Syria; and 200 years subsequently by Tiglath-pilescr, who sent away the inhabitants captives into Assyria (2 Kings xv :29).
aw-bale' ker-ah-meem', place of the vineyards). A village of the Ammonites, about six miles from Philadelphia, or Rabbath Amnion, according to Eusebius, in whose time the place was still rich in vineyards (Judg. xi:33).
(a'bel-ma'ke-a). See ABEL (a'bel-rna'im), the same as ABEL BETH-MAACIIAII ( I Kings xv :20; 2 Chron. xvi: 4), which see.