('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."
⇒See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.
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