The Avim, Avvim (Hebrew: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.
And as for the Avvites who lived in villages as far as Gaza, the Caphtorites coming out from Caphtor destroyed them and settled in their place.
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. Rabbinical tradition equates them with the earlier Philistines of Abimelech who were subdued and driven away by the Caphtorim.
The Talmud (Chullin 60b) notes that the Avvites were the Philistine people in the days of Abraham. Their capital city was Gerar and their king both in the days of Abraham and Isaac bore the name Abimelech. These Philistines are mentioned several times in Genesis. The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 and 1 Chronicles 1 lists them as a people distinct from the Caphtorites noting that they were an offshoot of the Casluhites. Genesis Rabba 26:16 states that they were related to the Rephaites. The Talmud explains that originally the Israelites were not entitled to conquer the land of the Avvites because of an oath that Abraham had sworn to Abimelech but that this oath no longer applied after the Caphtorites had destroyed them. This view is reiterated in Rashi's commentary on Deuteronomy.
A trace of them is afterwards found in Joshua 13:3, where they are called Avvites. These verses mentions that their land was considered part of the Canaanite land to be conquered by the Israelites:
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.
- D. Rohl, The Lords of Avaris. 2007