Abdiel (Hebrew עֲבְדִּיאֵל "Servant of God") is a biblical name which has been used as the name for a number of fictional characters and as a given name for several notable people. Abdiel is mentioned a single time in the Bible, in 1 Chronicles 5:15:
Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, chief of the house of their fathers.
Chief among fictional characters bearing the name Abdiel is the seraph Abdiel appearing in John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667), specifically in Book V and Book VI. Two passages from Book V serve to establish Abdiel's character:
passage from Book V
Had audience; when among the Seraphim
Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored
The Deity, and divine commands obeyed
passage from Book V
So spake the Seraph Abdiel, faithful found
Among the faithless, faithful only he;
Abdiel denounces Satan after hearing him incite revolt among the angels, and abandons Lucifer to bring the news of his defection to God. However, when he arrives, he finds that preparations are already underway for battle. In the ensuing fight, Abdiel smites Satan, Ariel, Ramiel, and Arioch, presumably among others. In Asimov's Annotated Paradise Lost, Isaac Asimov theorized that Abdiel was in fact a representation of Milton himself. Likewise, in Cyder, Ambrose Philips refers to Milton as "that other bard" and contrasts Milton to his character Abdiel.
In the film Paradise Lost, which was to be released in 2012, Abdiel was set to be played by Djimon Hounsou. However, pre-production of the project was ceased not long after, citing budgetary concerns of the production company.
The character name Abdiel has also been used:
- by Madeleine L'Engle in Many Waters as one among the seraphim
- by Margaret Weis in the Star of the Guardians trilogy as a villain
- by Anatole France in Revolt of the Angels as the "angelic name" of the character Arcade, the guardian angel bent on causing the revolt that gives the novel its title
- by Steven Brust in To Reign in Hell as the ambitious angel who catalyzes the dispute between Yaweh and Satan which would eventually result in the revolt in Heaven
- by Kage Baker in The Graveyard Game as an immortal who maintains certain secret machinery