('abh, the Hebrew and Aramaic word for "father"): It is a very common word in the Old Testament; this article notes only certain uses of it. It is used both in the singular and in the plural to denote a grandfather or more remote ancestors (e.g. Jer 35:16,15). The father of a people or tribe is its founder, not, as is frequently assumed, its progenitor. In this sense Abraham is father to the Israelites (see, for example, Ge 17:11-14,27), Isaac and Jacob and the heads of families being fathers in the same modified sense. The cases of Ishmael, Moab, etc., are similar. The traditional originator of a craft is the father of those who practice the craft (e.g. Ge 4:20-21,22). Sennacherib uses the term "my fathers" of his predecessors on the throne of Assyria, though these were not his ancestors (2Ki 19:12). The term is used to express worth and affection irrespective of blood relation (e.g. 2Ki 13:14). A ruler or leader is spoken of as a father. God is father. A frequent use of the word is that in the composition of proper names, e.g. Abinadab, "my father is noble."
The Aramaic word in its definite form is used three times in the New Testament (Mr 4:6), the phrase being in each case "Abba Father," addressed to God. In this phrase the word "Father" is added, apparently, not as a mere translation, nor to indicate that Abba is thought of as a proper name of Deity, but as a term of pleading and of endearment.
See also ABBA.
Willis J. Beecher