Avvim, עַוִּים
Avim (Wikipedia)

The Avim, Avvim (Hebrew: עוים‎) or Avvites of Philistia in the Old Testament were a people dwelling in Hazerim, or "the villages" or "encampments", on the south-west corner of the sea-coast. Their name is first used in Deuteronomy 2:23 in a description of the conquests that had taken place in the Land of Israel during the Israelite sojourn in Egypt. The passage relates that they were conquered by the Caphtorites who usurped their land.

A trace of them is afterwards found in Joshua 13:3. These verses mentions that their land was considered part of the Canaanite land to be conquered by the Israelites:

... and the Avvim, that dwelt in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorim, that came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them, and dwelt in their stead.

Jewish Publication Society (1917).

While the Philistines at the time of the Judges and the monarchy are understood to be predominantly descended from the invading Caphtorites, the Talmud (Chullin 60b) notes that the Avim were part of the Philistine people in the days of Abraham and records that they originated from Teman (land to the south). The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 and 1 Chronicles 1 also mentions Philistines coming from the Casluhim. As part of the earlier Philistines they were subjects of Abimelech who ruled from Gerar. Because of an oath that Abraham had sworn to Abimelech the Israelites were not originally permitted to conquer their land, but after the Caphtorites had usurped them, the oath was no longer valid.

Rabbinic tradition in Genesis Rabba 26:16 views them as one of the early races of giant stature together with the Rephaites and others.

David Rohl surmises that after the Inachids were conquered by Caphtor the Avim, whom he identifies as Aamu, moved to adopt Hathor as patron setting themselves up in lesser Hyksos Egypt as petty rulers such as Yakbim Sekhaenre, Ya'ammu Nubwoserre, Qareh Khawoserre and Ammu Aahotepre. He suggests Ahhotep II who drove the Greater Hyksos Caphtorim out of Egypt was an important descendant of this earlier Palestinian group and became the inspiration behind the legend of Io.

This is the land that yet remaineth: all the regions of the Philistines, and all the Geshurites; from the Shihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the border of Ekron northward, which is reckoned to the Canaanites; the five lords of the Philistines; the Gazites, and the Ashdodites, the Ashkelonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avvim.

« Back to Glossary Index
Skip to toolbar