H.W.F. Gesenius, Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, , , 1, § 1,
אָב construct אֲבִי , with suffix אָבִי , אָבִיךָ , אֲבִיכֶם , pl. אָבוֹת , const. אֲבוֹת , with suff. אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם אֲבֹתַי , אֲבֹתָם and אֲבֹתֵיהֶם , m. FATHER; a primitive noun (see note 1), common to all the Phoenicio-Shemitic languages, (Arab. أَبُ const. أَبُو , أَنىِ , أُباَ Chaldee and Syriac אַבָּא , ˜˜˜˜˜). But the word father has often a much wider meaning (see Fesselii Adv. sacra, vi. 6); it is used:—(1) Of any ancestor ( Ahn, Ahnherr ), 1 Ki. 15:11 ; 2 Ki. 14:3 ; 15:38 ; 16:2 , etc., as of a grandfather, Gen. 28:13 ; 31:42 ; 32:10 ; 37:35 ; great grandfather, Num. 18:1 , 2 ; 1 Kings 15:11 , 24 , etc.; Isa. 43:24 , אָבִיךָ הָרִאשׁוֹן חָטָא collectively, “thy remotest ancestors have sinned” [this should, however, be taken strictly]. So, very often in Pl. אָבוֹת ancestors, Gen. 15:15 ; Ps. 45:17 . As to the phrase נֶאֱסַף אֶל־אָבוֹת see under the word אָסַף .
(2) Used of the founder, or first ancestor, of a nation, Gen. 10:21 ; 17:4 , 5 ; 19:37 ; 36:9 , 43 ; Josh. 24:3 . Here belongs Gen. 4:21 , “the father of all who handle the harp and pipe,” i.e. the founder of the family of music; inventor of the art of music.
(3) Of the author, or maker, of anything, specially of the Creator, Job 38:28 , “has the rain a father?” i.e. Creator. And in this sense God is said. to be “the father of men,” Isa. 63:16 ; 64:7 ; Deut. 32:6 [?] comp. Jer. 2:27 . [See note 2.] All these tropical uses come from the notion of origin; there are others taken from the love and care of a father, from the honour due to him, etc. For—
(4) Father is applied to a bringer up, nourisher , as bestowing his benefits like a parent, Job 29:16 , “I was a father to the needy;” Ps. 68:6 , “a father of the fatherless;” Isa. 22:21 , “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (said of Eliakim, the prefect of the palace); Isa. 9:5 , the Messiah is called אֲבִי עַד “eternal Father” (of the people); comp. pater patri? in Latin [?]. By the same metaphor God is called the Father of the righteous, and of the kings of the earth, both of whom are called sons of God, 2 Sa. 7:14 ; 1 Ch. 17:13 ; 22:10 ; Ps. 89:27 , 28 [these passages refer to Christ the Son of God]. As it is a father’s place to instruct his children—
(5) It is used of a master , or teacher , 1 Sa. 10:12 ; and hence, priests and prophets, as being teachers endued with divine authority, are addressed by the name of father out of respect, even by kings, 2 K. 2:12 ; 5:13 [this passage does not apply]; 6:21 ; 13:14 (comp. 8:9 ); Jud. 17:10 ; “be unto me a father and a priest,” 18:19. So also the Rabbins were called אָבוֹת ; and so, too, we should understand the titles of honour, the fathers of the church; papa , pope; most holy father , etc. [But see Matt. 23:9 .] Nearly the same is—
(6) Specially the father of the king, a name given to his supreme counsellor, such as the Orientals now call [ وزير ] Wezir , vizier; Gen. 45:8 , וַיְשִׂימֵנִי לְאָב לְפַרְעֹה “he hath made me a father to Pharaoh.” So Haman is called δεύτερος πατὴρ of Artaxerxes (Est. 3:13, LXX). Compare 1 Macc. 11:32 , and Turkish اتابك father-prince; also Lala, father, applied to the vizier; (see Jablonskii Opuscc. ed. te Water, tom. i.p. 206, and Barhebræi Chron. Syr. p. 219, line 15). The same was understood by some of the ancient interpreters, whom Luther also has followed in the word אַבְרֵךְ Gen. 41:4 3, which they explain, “father of the king,” or of the land, or kingdom.
(7) It is further used to express intimate connection and relationship; Job 17:1 4, אָבִי אַתָּה לַשַּׁחַת קָרָאתִי “I have said to the pit [rather corruption , see שַׁחַת ], thou art my father;” in the other hemistich, “and to the worms, my mother and sister.” Comp. Ps. 88:19 .
(8) In Arabic and Æthiopic, the word father is also applied to a possessor , and is used of one who is endued with any thing, or excels in it; e.g. ابو شام “father of odour,” i.e. an odoriferous tree. So in Hebrew, but only in pr.n.; e.g. אַבְשָׁלוֹם “father of peace,” i.e. peaceful.
Note 1. Although this word in its grammatical form follows the analogy of verbs לה֞ , so that it may be said to be for אָבֶה (Lehrg. § 118), yet it must most certainly be regarded as a primitive word; since both the words אָב father, and אֵם mother, imitate the most simple labial sounds of the infant beginning to articulate; like πάπας (παππάζω) , papa, pappus, avus , Persic بابا .—For the usual const. state (the form אֲבִי ), there was also anciently אַב and even אֶב (like יַד , יֶדְכֶם ), though only found in compound proper names אַבְרָהָם , אַבְשָׁלוֹם , אֶבְיָתָר , although in these also we very often find the form אֲבִי , as אֲבִימֶלֶךְ , אֲבִיעֶזֶר . Once, Gen. 17:4 , 5 , in order more plainly to shew the etymology of the name אַב אַבְרָהָם is used in the text itself.
Note 2. The interpretation of this word in Job 34:36 , is uncertain; אָבִי יִבָּחֵן אִיּוֹב , Vulg. pater mi probetur Jobus , etc. [“my father let Job be tried”]. But by taking אָבִי for an address to God [in the sense of § 3], the sense is weak. The Chaldee is not amiss, “I would that Job were tried,” rendering אָב or אָבֶה as signifying wish or desire, from the root אָבָה , although there is no other trace of this form. Wilmett’s conjecture [ap. H. A. Schultens] is not unsuitable, who would read אַךְ תִּבָּחֵן . [But conjecture is always unsafe ground with regard to the text of the inspired word of God. In Amer. Trans. “others not inaptly make אָבִי i.q. אֲבוֹי woe”.]